Let’s face it. Traveling to Japan can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re planning to check out the latest anime exhibits, spending all your 100 yen coins to play crane games, and shopping. If you’re looking for free activities around Tokyo, check out the following anime locations. We’ll cover everything from famous anime scenes to holy pilgrimage locations. All for the sweet, sweet price of nothing.
Notably the most famous anime locations around Tokyo to date are from Your Name. The staircase from the ending scene is high on many anime fans’ lists of must-visit real-life anime locations. In case you were wondering, the majority of Your Name from Taki’s perspective takes place around Roppongi. The Okudera-senpai date scene takes place at Salon de Thé ROND cafe inside the National Art Center. This beautiful museum has ticketed exhibits, but you can enter the building for free.
Photo by Brianna Fox-Priest
Otaku tip: take the elevator to the third floor, turn right, then look down for the view pictured above. The natural lighting makes for a gorgeous photo any time of day.
While you’re in the neighborhood, take a 15-minute stroll to the Asahi TV headquarters on top of Roppongi station. Asahi is known for airing Crayon Shin-chan, Doraemon, Precure, Kamen Rider and so much more. Visitors can enter the ground floor to enter the Asahi retail shop for exclusive anime merchandise, a photo opportunity with the cheeky Shin-chan, and to check out the latest show and movie marketing posters (if that’s your thing)!
You likely have heard of Takadanobaba while riding the JR East line or long-time anime fans may even realize its significance to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. If you have ever been outside Takadanobaba station you will have encountered the brightly colored mural of Tezuka’s famous works including in the top right corner, the Mighty Atom, Astro Boy.
The anime is set in Takadanobaba, making it and the surrounding residential area and Waseda University a hot spot for finding Astro Boy tacked onto lamp posts, school signs, and marketing posters.
Tezuka got his start in anime after World War II, at age 17. He published Diary of Ma-chan, his first professional manga. After increased momentum and the popularity of his art style, Tezuka published his first major success, Kimba the White Lion, which was soon serialized in Manga Shonen from 1950 to 1954.
Tezuka began what was known as the manga revolution in Japan with his many creative works. Astro Boy became a serialized anime series in 1963 running strong for 193 episodes with a significant US audience. If you’re on anime pilgrimages during a trip to Tokyo, this one is inexpensive and filled with cool street art. Take a few back roads and we bet you’ll see the Mighty Atom where you least expect him.
Just south of the Tokyo Metro, is Kamakura, a beautiful seaside city. There are gorgeous Shinto shrines, the bronze (now tarnished green) Kotoku-in Temple’s Giant Buddha, and of course one of anime’s most famous anime locations: Kamakura-kokomae station. Fans of the world’s most coveted basketball anime, Slam Dunk, would instantly recognize the train line that runs parallel to the beach which is seen in the show’s opening sequence.
As of writing this, Slam Dunk the anime celebrates its 30th anniversary. This fall is the perfect time to make your way to the bustling city to reenact some of the scenes for your Instagram. Don’t forget to visit the popular Komachi-dori Street, lined with pastry shops, great boutiques to buy gifts, and great sushi restaurants. If you turn it into a whole day trip, head to the sandy beach.
Where do you want to visit first during your next Japan adventure?