For many people who love anime, Japan is a dream destination. Not only are there hundreds of shops and entire shopping malls filled with anime figurines and merchandise, but also a rich tapestry of locations that have inspired some of the most beloved anime series and films of all time.
From unassuming staircases to bustling districts, here are five must-visit places in Japan that will transport you into the world of your favorite anime.
1. The Ghibli Clock in Shiodome
Located in Tokyo's Shiodome district, the Ghibli Clock is an incredible creation that captures the whimsy and imagination synonymous with Studio Ghibli's films.
Designed by Hayao Miyazaki, this clock is literally like stepping into one of his films, featuring intricate animations and music, and most importantly bringing characters from Ghibli classics to life.
I stumbled upon this clock by chance the other night and it was honestly one of the most surreal moments I’ve had while living here!
2. Hita (Attack on Titan)
Love Attack on Titan? You’re gonna love this one!
The creator of the manga (from which the anime is based) was born here, and in honor of his work, they erected a selection of bronze statues based on the man characters.
Perhaps the most interesting of all is of Eren and his friends looking up at the 94m Oyama Dam. It’s not the closest place for a lot of travel itineraries, but it’s well worth the visit if you’re a fan of the anime!
3. Suga Shrine Staircase (Your Name)
Fans of the critically acclaimed anime film "Your Name" should make the incredibly short pilgrimage to the Suga Shrine Staircase in Tokyo.
It’s such an iconic location and is definitely one of the scenes I remember most vividly from the movie. Just 20 minutes away from Shinjuku station, you can retrace the steps of the film's protagonists and capture your own staircase meetup.
4. Shirakawa-go (Higurashi series)
The quaint village of Shirakawa-go, nestled in the Japanese Alps, served as the inspiration for the atmospheric setting in the "Higurashi" series.
With its traditional thatched-roof houses and preserved Edo-period charm, visiting Shirakawa-go is like stepping into the eerie world of Hinamizawa.
I’d personally visit from December - March if you can, thanks to how incredible this place looks in the snow. But to be honest, any season at this place is a winner. In any case, immerse yourself in the mysterious ambiance of this UNESCO world heritage site, explore the local folklore, and witness the breathtaking scenery that inspired one of the anime's most suspenseful and captivating narratives!
5. Harajuku (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Harajuku, the vibrant and fashionable district of Tokyo, provides the backdrop for many scenes in the anime series "Jujutsu Kaisen." Known for its quirky fashion, colorful streets, and trendy shops, Harajuku is a must-visit location for just about any anime fan.
Takeshita Street, the most famous shopping street in the area, is a spectacularly colorful entrance to Harajuku.
Top tip: Don’t visit on the weekend, it’s incredibly busy!
I hope you enjoyed reading!
Until next time… keep collecting!
About today's guest writer:
Jonny is the founder of A Day of Zen and has an unhealthy obsession with Japan. In 2022 he moved to Japan on a mission to give his audience the best possible information. He's helped over 300,000 plan their trip so far, and is eager to make that number much bigger!