The Rising Popularity of Anime Tourism

anime tourism japan

Anime, already popular among foreigners, has gained even more popularity in recent years. The anime culture now highlights not only the anime but also voice actors, locations that inspired the anime, the production process, and more, creating a new trend called anime tourism in Japan.

What is anime tourism? What activities are part of anime tourism? And where can you enjoy anime tourism? In this article, we will explore these aspects, so make sure to read until the end!

The Growing Global Popularity of Anime

If you were to ask foreigners in Japan years ago and compare their reasons for visiting then to now, you might be surprised by how many now cite anime as their reason. While this trend isn’t entirely new, the current popularity of anime has reached new heights. The industry has experienced remarkable growth, doubling its market size over the past decade.

This surge in popularity can be attributed in part to the widespread availability of anime on video streaming platforms. Anime series is now broadcast globally in real-time, making anime a part of mainstream culture rather than a niche interest.

Anime itself has also evolved over time. Increased investment, advancements in technology, better support systems for those in the industry, changing audience tastes, and evolving distribution models have all contributed to anime’s global appeal. This broader accessibility has played a significant role in the rise of anime tourism.

Anime Tourism in Japan


First of all, let’s start with anime tourism. It refers to the practice of traveling to specific destinations in Japan with the primary purpose of experiencing activities related to anime and manga. It involves visiting real-life places that have been featured in anime series or inspired by the settings of popular manga.

Anime tourism also offers fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of their favorite anime, explore iconic landmarks, attend themed events, visit merchandise stores, and interact with fellow enthusiasts.

It has become increasingly popular as anime has gained more global popularity, with dedicated tour packages and travel guides catering to fans’ interests in exploring these anime-related destinations.

Anime Tourism Activity #1: Anime Merchandise Hunting

There’s nothing quite like purchasing merchandise from your favorite anime, right? Japan offers the best experience for anime merchandise hunting. I can assure you, there’s merchandise available for practically every anime you love, in Akihabara, affectionately known as “anime town”, being a hotspot among foreigners.

Other areas like Ikebukuro are gaining popularity too, especially with the recent opening of the largest anime store in the world, Animate Ikebukuro. While Tokyo is renowned for its amount of anime stores and shops, other regions across Japan are also joining the trend, offering a diverse range of anime merchandise. The Daimaru Department Store in the Umeda area in Osaka houses One Piece and Pokemon in addition to Nintendo and CAPCOM, famous for their games, all on one floor!

Anime merchandise hunting ranks among the top activities for anime tourism. You’d be amazed at the variety of anime merchandise available, spanning everything from stationery, keychains, towels, and clothing to more unique items like perfume and plushies.

Anime Tourism Activity #2: Participating in Anime Events

With the huge numbers of anime in Japan, it’s no surprise that there are numerous anime events too. The growing popularity of anime songs (anisong) and the emergence of band and idol anime have led to many live performances that draw in many foreign fans. Coupled with anime exhibitions, cosplay events, and collaborations, these events have become a significant aspect of anime tourism, particularly in recent years.

Anime Tourism Activity #3: Anime Pilgrimage

anime pilgrimage

Anime pilgrimage is the most recent trend in anime tourism. The concept refers to the practice of visiting real-life locations that have been featured in anime series or served as inspiration for settings in the manga.

It involves fans traveling to specific destinations to retrace the steps of their favorite characters, explore iconic landmarks, and experience firsthand the places depicted in their beloved anime.

This trend has gained popularity among anime enthusiasts seeking to deepen their connection with the fictional worlds they adore and to experience the atmosphere depicted in their favorite shows.

Anime Tourism Activity #4: Anime Theme Parks

The final highlight of our top four activities in anime tourism is visiting anime theme parks in Japan. While their numbers may be limited, several anime theme parks across Japan offer a wide range of activities related to your favorite anime. If you’re a fan of immersive experiences and engaging activities, then this is an absolute must!

Nijigen no Mori: Popular Anime Theme Park on Awaji Island

One of the most popular anime theme parks in Japan is Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island. This expansive complex features smaller parks dedicated to anime franchises like Naruto, Dragon Quest, Shin-chan, Godzilla, and more.

Each park offers interactive and entertaining activities. For instance, visitors can take on ninja challenges at Naruto Park, brave the jaws of Godzilla in the Godzilla section, and enjoy other thrilling experiences. A standout recommendation is the Dragon Quest Area, where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of RPG adventures.

Another exciting aspect of the theme park is its themed restaurant, which offers collaboration dishes inspired by popular anime. From Ichiraku Ramen from Naruto to slime curry from Dragon Quest, or even Godzilla-themed dishes, it offers a unique take on anime gourmet cuisine that fans are sure to enjoy.

Click here for reservations

Address 2425-2 Kusumoto, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-2301
TEL 0799-64-7061
Website https://nijigennomori.com/
Reservations https://ticket.nijigennomori.com/en/
Operation Hours Everyday10:00-22:00
*Each attraction has a different last reception time and closing time.

Click here for details of NIJIGEN NO MORI


There you have it! Hopefully, you now have a better insight into anime tourism. It’s an intriguing trend that has gained momentum in Japan in recent years, fueled by the evolution of the anime industry and its expanding audience. It’s exciting to contemplate what the future holds for anime tourism, but one thing is certain, it will continue to grow in importance and become an integral part of Japan’s cultural landscape.

©岸本斉史 スコット/集英社・テレビ東京・ぴえろ