5 Must Visit Manga and Animation Museums in Japan

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Tags: hyogokanagawakyotomangaandanimemuseumsniigatapopculturetokyo

Japanese animation and manga are some of the fascinating pop cultures that caught the attention of travellers and foreigners. In fact, many Japanese enthusiasts came to love the land of the rising sun because they were fascinated by this culture. The variety of stories created by creativity and imagination successfully captivated the interest of the young and the old, because the range of genre is so wide that there is always something for everyone.

As such, Japan has a strong anime fan base, and there are many different types of museums dedicated to animation and manga. In this article, I will recommend some of these well-known museums that you should visit in Japan.

 Astro Boy.
Image credit: Roberta Romero on Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

1. Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum, Hyogo

The Osaka native manga artist and animator Tezuka Osamu was the creator of famous works such as Astro Boy and Phoenix, which was created and adapted into animation between the 50s and 90s. Tezuka Osamu was also known as one of the biggest influencers to early animation in Japan, so if you pay a visit to this museum, you would also learn about classic manga and anime.

Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum.
Image credit: Hideyuki KAMON on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The museum building has three floors. On the first floor, there is a rather unusual showcase of Tezuka’s masterpiece, Fire Bird. Documents of this masterpiece are placed in life support tanks, giving you the feeling that you are in a laboratory instead of a museum. On the second floor, there are more displays of Tezuka’s work, a manga library, a souvenir shop, and a café for you to enjoy a cup of tea. The displays here are special display, which changes from time to time, and also book displays that showcase many first edition mangas.

If you are looking for more fun and interactive activities, you should head to the basement floor where you could learn more about the life of Tezuka Osamu and try making an anime on your own in the Anime Laboratory. You could even get a glimpse of how a life of a manga artist is like!

Address | 7-65 Mukogawacho, Takarazuka, Hyogo
Telephone | + 81 (0) 79 781 2970
Opening Hours | 9:30 AM – 5 PM
Entrance Fee | ¥700 (adults), ¥300 (students), ¥100 (children)
Website | http://www.city.takarazuka.hyogo.jp.e.pc.hp.transer.com/tezuka/index.html

Directions | 8-minute walk from JR Takarazuka Station; 5-minute walk from Hankyu Takarazuka Minami-guchi Station

Image credit: Kentaro Ohno on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

2. Fujiko F Fujio Museum, Kanagawa

Better known as the Doraemon Museum, this place in the dreamland for fans of the blue and white robotic cat. Located in Kawasaki, this museum is not huge, but there are many things to look at and there are engaging activities for young children.

Besides the display of original works of Doraemon and the life story of Fujiko, there is a manga library for browsing, a theatre to enjoy short original movies every 20 minutes, a few play area and spaces where the young and old could enjoy being a child again, a café, and also a gift shop. There is a place called the Rooftop Playground where characters of Doraemon are put on display in an outdoor setting.

Image credit: Kentaro Ohno on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If you plan to visit this museum, do take note that admission is only possible through a reservation. There are generally more people during weekends and school holidays, so weekdays are a good choice if you want to avoid the crowd. In terms of getting to this place, do note that there is no parking space for vehicles so you will have to travel by train, bus and by foot.

Website to purchase admission ticket

Address | 2-chome 8-1 Nagao, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-city, Kanagawa Prefecture, 214-0023
Telephone | +81 (0) 570-055-245
Opening Hours | 10 AM – 6 PM
Closed | Tuesdays (except Golden Week), Summer holidays (20 July – 3 Sept) & New Year holidays (30 Jan – 3 Jan)
Entrance Fee | ¥1000 (adults and university students), ¥700 (high school and junior high school students), ¥400 (children 4 years old or older)
Website | http://fujiko-museum.com/english/

Directions |

  • Shuttle bus service run from Noborito Station (Odakyu line or JR Nanbu line)
  • Approximately 16-minute walk from Mukougaoka Yuen station of Odakyu-line
  • Approximately 15-minute walk from Shuku-Gawara station of JR Nanbu line

Entrance of Ghibli Museum.

3. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo

This is a true wonderland for all Ghibli fans. Opened and design by Hayao Miyazaki, it is also the most famous animation museum in Japan. If you stand at the museum entrance, a life-size Totoro is there to greet you!

The highlight of this museum is definitely the animation characters on display such as the five-metre tall Robot Soldier, Cat Bus, and protagonist characters from Miyazaki’s work. I would personally recommend heading to the small in-house theatre to watch an original short animation feature since the animation is not screened elsewhere. However, do take note of their theatre schedule, which is constantly updated.

Admission ticket to this museum can only be purchased through online booking, JTB offices (for purchase outside Japan), and Lawson convenience stores. Please be careful when taking pictures as photo-taking is not allowed inside the museum.

Interested to find out more about Ghibli Museum? You can read our article here.

Address | 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013
Telephone | +81 570-055-777
Opening Hours | 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Closed | Tuesdays,
Entrance Fee | ¥1000 (19+ years old), ¥700 (13 – 18 years old), ¥400 (7 – 12 years old), ¥100 (4 – 6 years old)
Website | http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/

Directions |

  • By train & bus: exit at Mitaka Station on the JR Chuo Line (15 minutes from Shinjuku Station), and then take the community bus from Mikata Station (South exit or bus stop #9) to museum
  • By foot: about 20-minute from Mitaka Station or from Kichijoji Station through Inokashira Park

4. Niigata Manga Animation Museum

This museum aims to actively engage visitors. Built with interaction in mind, there are activities in the museum that will let you experience and understand the animation-making process from drawing manga to creating animation. Some of the activities you can look forward include creating manga, voice acting, and animation production.

Image credit: Jennifer Feuchter on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

One fun fact about Niigata is that many famous manga and anime creators hail from this prefecture, so be prepared to be inspired and fascinated as you step into this museum! Do keep an eye out for the upcoming temporary exhibitions and events as well as you might come across an interesting one!

Address | Bandai City BP2 1st floor, 2-5-7 , Yachiyo, Chuo-ku Niigata City, Niigata
Telephone | +81-25-240-4311
Weekday Opening Hours | 11 AM – 7 PM
Weekend Opening Hours | 10 AM – 7 PM
Closed | 1 Jan
Entrance Fee (for permanent exhibition) | ¥200 (adults), ¥100 (high school students & junior high school students), ¥50 (elementary school student)
Website (Japanese) | http://museum.nmam.jp/

Directions |

  • By bus (from Niigata Station): depart from Platform 0 & 1 (Bandaishi Line) or Platform 2 (Niigata City Sightseeing Loop Bus), and then get off at Bandai City stop. The journey is about 5 minutes. Please take the “Hakusan Kouen Sakimawari Kousu” bus to visit the Manga Animation Museum.
  • By foot: 15-minute from Niigata Station Bandai Exit.

Image credit: Yusuke Kawasaki on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

5. Kyoto International Manga Museum

This is the place where you can find people lounging comfortably reading a manga! Be it on the lawn, the sofa, or just a corner somewhere that they could immerse into their world of manga. Kyoto International Manga Museum has more than 300,000 manga and comic books and the building itself was previously an elementary school. No wonder the building looks like a school!

Image credit: Peat Bakke on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

There is even a section dedicated to translated manga, so there’s no need to worry if you couldn’t read Japanese. Besides manga, one of the eye-catching highlights found here is the manga studio, where you can observe professional manga artists draw and colour their work!

Address | Karasume Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Telephone | +81 (0)75-254-7414
Opening Hours | 10 AM – 6 PM
Closed | Wednesdays, New Year holiday
Entrance Fee | ¥600
Website | https://www.kyotomm.jp/en/

Directions |

  • By train (subway): From the Karasuma Oike Station on the Karasuma line or Tozai line, it is a 2-minute walk away from Exit no. 2.

In a nutshell, each of these museums have something that stands out from the rest. Do pay a visit here if you happen to be nearby these places!

A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

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