Prior to the 2010s, attractions dedicated to anime fandom were rare, especially in North America. Back then, otakus were limited to internet, local meetups, or competing for space among comic book fans.
However, over time, anime-themed events, businesses, and exhibitions have become more popular around the world. This makes it easier for weebs to find a sense of community in real life. If you’re a jet-set anime fan looking for new experiences to try: grab your passport and check out these ten must-see attractions designed for people like you!
- Embrace your inner child at the Studio Ghibli Museum
Location: Tokyo, Japan
If you are a fan of anime classics like Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke, add a visit to the Studio Ghibli museum to your bucket list. From giant Totoro at the entrance to tickets based on the museum’s films, every aspect of this popular exhibit hall screams Studio Ghibli.
This Tokyo-based museum is packed with galleries and exhibits designed to fully immerse you in the imaginary worlds of Hayao Miyazaki, from its elegant decor to its transporting passageways and staircases. Special additions include an in-house theater that plays exclusive Studio Ghibli shorts and a cafe that lets you dine in their infamous aesthetic.
- Learn about the history of anime at the Suginami Animation Museum
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Are you an otaku who wants to learn the history of this art form? So book a trip to the Suginami Animation Museum: the first anime museum in the world. The Suginami Animation Museum is packed with gems for anime fanatics, including an anime library, voiceover booth, and hall of fame showcasing anime history from the 1950s to the early 2000s. The best part about this attraction is that it costs you nothing. It’s true: visiting the Suginami Animation Museum is absolutely free.
- Watch a mobile suit in action at the Gundam factory
Location: Yokohama, Japan
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing a Gundam IRL, get to Yokohama before March 31, 2023. Here you’ll find the Gundam Factory, home to the world’s first full-size Gundam mobile suit. The Gundam Factory was created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the animated franchise and features an 18-meter mobile model of the RX-78F00 Mobile Suit. The impressive statue hosts shows every hour between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. (10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on extended days). Viewers can see the Gundam in motion throughout the day via the Gundam Dock, but nighttime visitors have the added bonus of seeing the model light up (which is an epic photo opportunity.)
- Dine Kawaii at Hello Kitty Cafe & Trucks
Location: Various locations in the United States
At Sanrio’s Hello Kitty Cafe, customers can enjoy a 100% dining experience Hello Kitty theme, from its fresh baked goods to its brightly colored restaurants. In addition to two locations in Las Vegas, the brand recently introduced the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe: a California restaurant with an expanded menu and a Bowroom that hosts afternoon tea and cocktail services. If you can’t book a trip to the West Coast for a foodie experience, don’t worry: Hello Kitty Cafe also has a line of food trucks that roam the United States, so you can get some. Hello Kitty goodies wherever you are.
- Soupa Saiyan’s devotion to Dragon Ball exceeds 9,000!
Location: Orlando, Florida
An Asian noodle bar soaked in Dragon Ball Z the aesthetic is a match made in Shonen heaven; it’s this very concept that makes Soupa Saiyan Orlando a must visit for Dragon Ball Z Fans. Soupa Saiyan cooks Asian fusion cuisine with a clever anime twist by offering DBZ-inspired dishes throughout their popular menu. Feasting on dishes like the hearty Kaoiken and the Vegeta Rian Bowl, customers are 100% cared for dragonball– themed decor. From life-size statues to enclosed games and figurines, Soupa Saiyan makes DBZ fans feel at home.