Anime and pop culture
Ghibli Museum - Museum: Mitaka
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Tuesdays.]
When Hayao Miyazaki's spellbinding Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003, it only confirmed to the world what Japan has known for decades: that the work of Miyazaki and his fellow artists at Studio Ghibli ranks alongside that...
Anpanman Shop - Retail: Yotsuya 3-chome
[Open noon-6pm daily.]
A shop devoted to the bean-jam-pastry hero and immensely popular children's cartoon character Anpanman, with thousands of different character items on sale.
Gundam Base Tokyo - Attraction: Daiba
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Located on the seventh floor of DiverCity shopping mall in Aomi, this megastore and mini theme park is devoted to the giant battle robots of the popular Gundam anime series. Hardcore fans will enjoy exploring the galleries showcasing historic...
Mandarake Complex - Retail: Akihabara
[Open noon-8pm daily.]
A Mecca for manga maniacs, Mandarake carries a huge selection of toys, figurines and other collectibles as well as new and used comics.
Mandarake Shibuya - Retail: Shibuya
[Open noon-8pm daily.]
This conveniently located outlet of the comic-book specialty store carries action figures and toys, videos and music, and hundreds of thousands of comic books, both new and used.
Nakano Broadway - Shopping complex: Nakano
[Open noon-8pm daily.]
The ground floor of Nakano Broadway looks like a typical neighborhood arcade - dozens of shops selling handbags, sneakers, pet supplies and so on. But step onto the escalator and prepare to enter a different world - a warren of tiny,...
Parco Museum - Art gallery: Ikebukuro
[Open 10am-9pm (enter by 8:30). Closed irregular holidays.]
Manga, anime, toys, gaming and pop culture are the typical themes for exhibitions at this department-store art gallery. Most shows last two or three weeks; check their website for show dates and other details.
Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo - Retail: Ikebukuro
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Open since the end of 2014, this mega-shop offers the biggest selection of Pokemon goods in Japan, including lots of limited-edition items. You'll find everything from Pokemon-themed ramen, curry and candies to tableware, slippers and stationery. ...
Pokemon DX - Retail: Nihonbashi
[Open 10:30am-9pm daily.]
The largest Pokemon shop in Japan with 1,300 square meters of retail space, Pokemon DX is also the home of the first permanent Pokemon Cafe, serving Pokemon-themed food and drink and providing ample photo opportunities. As you would expect, a huge...
Suginami Animation Museum - Museum: Nishi-Ogikubo
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5:30). Closed Mondays.]
Cartoon fans can learn about the history of Japanese animation, try their hand at using animation software and browse through a massive library of DVDs and comics at this free museum. The museum's attached theater boasts a 150-inch screen and...
Tintin Shop - Retail: Harajuku
[Open 11:30am-7pm daily.]
A well-stocked shop devoted to the beloved Belgian comic-book hero and his dog, Snowy.
Tokyo Anime Center - Attraction: Ichigaya
[Open 11am-8pm. Closed Tuesdays.]
Catering to hard-core anime fans, Tokyo Anime Center organizes month-long exhibitions showcasing specific anime production studios and titles. Limited-edition postcards, drawings, framed artwork and other products are on sale for each exhibition. ...
Museums and galleries
Tokyo Toy Museum - Museum: Yotsuya 3-chome
[Open 10am-4pm (enter by 3:30pm). Closed Thursdays.]
Especially popular with younger children but suitable for all ages, the museum exhibits thousands of toys from around the world, with plenty of hands-on activity for enthusiastic visitors. The musuem occupies two floors of a former elementary...
Ad Museum Tokyo - Museum: Shiodome
[Open 11am-6pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays.]
Graphic artists, designers, and anyone interested in the evolution of Japanese graphic design through the ages will find a lot to see at this compact advertising museum. The museum was renovated and reopened in December 2017, and we were pleasantly...
Cupnoodles Museum - Museum: Yokohama Minato-mirai
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5pm). Closed Tuesdays.]
If you love instant ramen and want to learn much, much more about the ubiquitous snack and its inventor, Momofuku Ando, you've come to the right place. Walk around inside a replica of the original shed where Ando first created instant ramen back in...
D47 Museum - Art gallery: Shibuya
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
This ambitious design museum/gallery has the unusual mission of showcasing commercial, industrial and product design from all 47 Japanese prefectures. Some exhibitions concentrate on one prefecture, while others focus on a particular style of...
Irodoriya - Art gallery: Shibuya
[Open 1-7:30pm. Closed Wednesdays, Thursdays.]
Exhibitions at this small gallery and gift shop tend toward the whimsical, cute, cartoony end of the spectrum, including a fair amount of animal-themed art. In addition to prints and postcards they also stock an unusual selection of...
Megumi Ogita Gallery - Art gallery: Ginza
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
Manga, anime, toys and other aspects of pop culture are the inspiration for many of the shows at this international gallery. The exhibition area is comfortably spacious and can accommodate fairly large shows. As with all independent galleries,...
Museum of Tin Toys - Museum: Yokohama Motomachi
[Open 9:30am-6pm (weekends -7pm) daily.]
In the early twentieth century Japan exported huge numbers of tin-plate toys to countries around the world, and this charming little musuem traces that history, displaying some 3,000 antique toys made between the 1890s and the 1960s. Shelf after...
Samurai Museum - Museum: Shinjuku Kabukicho
[Open 11am-9pm (enter by 8:30) daily.]
Although this specialized museum is rather compact in size, the very detailed English-language tour makes up for it, and is highly recommended. The tour brings Japan's samurai history to life as you're introduced to room after room filled with rare...
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum - Attraction: Yokohama
[Open 11am-10pm (last admission) daily.]
A miniature historical theme park, Ramen Town, located on the bottom two levels of the Ramen Museum, is a recreation of a bustling urban neighorhood in the year 1958 (which happens to be the year instant ramen was invented). Scattered among the...
Snowdome Museum - Museum: Ikejiri-Ohashi
[Open 11am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
Collectors and devoted fans of winter weather-themed novelty souvenir items will be interested in this unique cultural resource - the world's only museum devoted to snow globes (aka snowdomes). Hundreds of examples of this much-neglected artform...
Vacant - Art gallery: Harajuku
[Open 1-8pm. Closed Mondays.]
Exhibitions here vary widely in content, but tend toward the edgy, underground end of the spectrum. The space is also used for live music and other events. On the ground floor is a bar-cafe with a vegetarian menu and a big shop area selling...
Aki-Oka - Shopping complex: Akihabara
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Wednesdays.]
Officially known as "2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan," this is a complex of galleries, boutiques and workshops for artisans of both traditional and modern crafts. Lined up under the JR railroad tracks are some two dozen shops selling (and often making...
Godzilla Store - Retail: Shinjuku
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Everybody's favorite giant lizard now has his own retail shop, where you'll find a huge assortment of Godzilla-themed goods - everything from T-shirts and socks to rather nice bomber jackets. There's the expected selection of plastic toys and movie...
Kawasaki Warehouse - Sports facility: Kawasaki
[Open 24 hours a day.]
Kowloon Walled City - once known as the most densely populated spot on earth - was a massive, extremely crowded Hong Kong housing settlement with more than 30,000 residents. Although the original complex was demolished in 1993, it lives on as the...
Legoland - Attraction: Daiba
[Open 10am-8pm (enter by 6pm; weekends one hour later) daily.]
The Legoland Discovery Center is a mini-theme park inside the Tokyo Decks shopping complex, offering fun activities and charming attractions for visitors of all ages. There are a couple of entertaining rides, a 3D adventure movie, and hands-on...
Line Friends Store - Retail: Harajuku
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Brown the bear, the salmon-loving mascot of LINE (Japan's most popular instant-messaging service) is the star of this hugely popular character goods shop, along with Cony the rabbit, Sally the duck and their many animated friends. The shop reopened...
Petit-Escalator - Attraction: Kawasaki
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Petit-Escalator, the shortest escalator in the world, is located in the basement of Kawasaki More's Department Store, across the street from Kawasaki JR station. Five steps and 83.4 centimeters in height, the escalator takes approximately eight...