Animate in Akihabara has all of the newest, most popular mangaAn (Photo: Livvy Boote)

Top 5 Places for Anime and Manga Fans

Tokyo's 5 essential bases for anime and manga fans

Animate in Akihabara has all of the newest, most popular mangaAn (Photo: Livvy Boote)
Livvy Boote   - 4 min read

If you’re an anime and manga fan, Tokyo is a dream come true. Everywhere you turn, there’s posters for new manga you’ve not heard about yet, shops selling merchandise, anime characters plastered on soda bottles.

But if you want the full experience, you need to go to Akihabara and Nakano. Here are the five best places to go in these two areas:

1. Mandarake

This store is sells everything from manga to classic sci-fi merchandise and Godzilla figurines, and has been going since1987. It’s immensely popular and found all over Tokyo, but the store in Nakano Broadway is the largest and far less crowded than Akihabara. The design of the store here is also really cool- the entrance to the classic sci-fi section leads you in with the red tori (gates) you often find at shrines. Mandarake is probably the most essential store to visit for big fans. (〒164-0001, Nakano Broadway, Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano-ku, Tokyo

2. Animate

Another shop that's dotted all over Tokyo, Animate sells all sorts of merchandise of all the most popular anime—key rings, cushions, stuffed toys, even food—but is best particularly for female audiences. It sells lots of doujinshi (self-published manga) based on other anime. Be warned, there is a lot of adult content! (Akihabara address: 4-3-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021)

3. Taco Ché

For those who seek something a little more alternative, Taco Ché offers independent, original manga. The books found here are beautiful, diverse, and very much outside of the box, and there’s some content in English too. For those who aren’t really anime or manga enthusiasts, this shop is a really nice place to visit, too. It’s not easy to find, so keep an eye out for it on the 3d floor. (〒164-0001 Tokyo, Nakano, 5 Chome−52−15)

4. Gundam Café

Maybe you’ve seen some of the Gundam series, maybe you haven’t. Either way, if you’re looking for something to eat and don’t mind queuing for a little bit (approx. 20 minutes) then you have to try the Gundam Café. You can get food and drink based on characters and specific scenes of the various series; perfect for the hard-core fan. (Gundam Café, 11 Kanda Hanaokacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo)

5. Tokyo Anime Centre

The Tokyo Anime Centre provides free exhibitions all year round, showing the artwork and sketches of the newest, most up to date anime and manga. As a Japanese or Western fan, it’s wonderful and inspiring to be able to see the art of the creators of these anime, whether you know them or not. You can buy merchandise of the anime on exhibition, as well as some of the most popular shows. It makes a nice change from squeezing through the narrow isles of Akihabara’s busy stores. (UDX Building floor 4f, 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda).

The list may stop there, but wander long enough through Akihabara, Nakano, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro, and you’ll find something that will cater to your anime needs. For both fans and newbies, these 5 stores provide the best insight into one of the most important cultural elements of Japan's creative landscape.

Livvy Boote

Livvy Boote @livvy.boote

Hi! My name is Livvy and I've been interested in Japan for as long as I can remember. As a budding magazine journalist and photographer, and someone who is in love with Japanese culture, an opportunity to intern in Japan has been a dream.