Japanese summers are fun and full of activities that make the summers fly by. That being said, some days are just so hot that the last thing you want to do is spend it outside. That’s where Japan’s many manga and anime museums come into play.
You see, Japan is full of museums to enjoy your favorite Japanese media in a pleasant air-conditioned environment. Of course, there are museums dedicated to general manga history and Japanese anime culture.
Still, there are also those dedicated to specific companies or production houses and local artists. With so many, it may be hard to know where to go, so here are some of our favorite anime and manga museums to help you beat the heat.
We can’t talk about manga museums without first mentioning the most popular ones in Japan. The Kyoto International Manga Museum is pretty close to Kyoto Station by train. The building has four floors, and much of the museum is lined with shelf after shelf of Japanese manga. It has so much, in fact, that many Kyoto Seika University students use it for research purposes.
However, what sets it apart from being a manga library is the presence of foreign manga and comics, exhibitions about manga history or specific artists, and manga workshops. In other words, you can spend quite a long time here reading and staying out of the heat.
Plus, they have an excellent gift shop with merch from some of their most popular offerings.
This Akita museum is Japan’s first manga-themed museum, opened in 1995. The Yokote Masuda Manga Museum was initially started with a donation of 42,000 drawings from Takao Yaguchi, a famous manga creator. However, there are over 220,000 original drawings from about 180 manga artists.
This museum has plenty of unique exhibitions, workshops, and souvenirs, making it a great place to visit if you’re ever in northern Japan.
Looking for a snack or drink while you flip through those manga pages? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat sends unique and exclusive Japanese snacks, sweets, candy, drinks, noodles, and more right to your door straight from Japan!
Tokyo has its fair share of manga and anime museums worth seeing. The Toshima City Tokiwaso Manga Museum is one of the more unique museum experiences out there, offering a look into the lives of manga masters, like “the Father of Manga” Osamu Tezuka, who once lived in the same building.
Although it was dismantled in 1982, it was rebuilt in 2020 as both a manga museum and a detailed recreation of manga artists’ lives and working spaces. It even comes complete with over 6,000 works by artists related to this famous building for you to enjoy.
You may not recognize the name, but you’ve undoubtedly seen some of Fujiko F.’s work, and this museum is dedicated to this iconic artist. Fujiko Fujio F is best known for his work on Doraemon, one of the biggest titles in Japanese media.
This museum is located in Kawasaki, a city in Tokyo prefecture between Tokyo proper and Yokohama. Stay out of the heat with their unique cafe, displays of the artist’s work, a screen that plays original videos that can’t be seen anywhere else, and a rooftop area to immerse yourself in Fujiko Fujio’s world. We particularly loved the Fujiko Fujio Museum Cafe.
Fun fact: Fujiko Fujio was part of a duo initially, with both Fujiko Fujio A and Fujiko Fujio F being from Toyama prefecture. If you head to Toyama, you can see plenty of their art and visit smaller museums about the men themselves (especially in my old stomping grounds of Himi and Takoaka city).
The Kitakyushu Manga Museum is a great example of cities promoting local artists. This museum in Kitakyushu City focuses on artists affiliated with the area and showcases work all the way back from the 1940s.
In fact, the whole building is located in a manga and anime enthusiast’s dream. The building is a mall dedicated to merch for manga, anime, games, and even Japanese idol groups, with the museum being on the fifth and sixth floors.
This list just isn’t complete without the Tokyo museum showcasing the brilliant works of Hayao Miyazaki and the brilliant minds at Studio Ghibli. For lovers of Studio Ghibli films like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, the Ghibli Museum is a perfect place to escape the heat.
The museum, designed by Miyazaki himself, showcases permanent exhibitions about Studio Ghibli’s history and process, while year-long special exhibitions showcase specific movies or even other partner studios. Even short films in their Saturn Theater are only viewable here. You can also enjoy a reading area, cafe, and more.
You may not know the word, but seiyuu (voice actors) are essential to any anime. In Japan, voice actors can achieve high stardom by featuring their legendary voices in iconic anime. They even show up on variety shows alongside mainstream film and TV actors.
So it should be no surprise that there’s a whole museum dedicated to what they do. At the Seiyuu Museum, you can learn all about the voice-acting process and how your favorite characters are brought to life.
(Editor’s Note 5/12/2023: The Seiyuu Museum is temporarily closed. We will keep you informed if there are any updates.)
Suginami may not be a popular Tokyo tourist area, but this museum is a must for anyone, whether you’re an anime fan or have a casual interest. The Suginami Animation Museum has many exciting displays, recreations, art, and more.
However, what really sets it apart are the interactive elements of the museum. Plenty keeps you entertained, from voicing acting clips from the iconic Astro Boy to making your own animation in a DIY studio. They even have special exhibits and theater running clips of different anime or anime studios.
Which manga museums would you like to visit? How about the most appealing anime museum? Let us know in the comments below!
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