‘Otaku Travel’ is a new Manga.Tokyo column dedicated to the travelling otakus. Our writers will travel all over Japan to bring you the best features, from anime pilgrimages and local festivals to regional Otaku shops and manga museums.
Kyoto is the biggest anime & manga district in the Kansai area
Do you know which city in Japan is the key location for Assassination Classroom, K-on!, and Bakemonogatari?
It’s Kyoto, the city visited by tourists from all over the world. The city full of many different shrines and temples, including Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is a must-see sight-seeing spot for anime fans.
For example, look at this photo:
It’s the location set for the anime Bakemonogatari, and it is located very close to Gion, one of the most renowned sight-seeing spots in Kyoto. If you happen to go to Kyoto, you have to visit these pilgrimage spots known as Seichi (holy place) as well as the various anime shops and manga stores all around the city.
In this article, I’ll show you some must-see spots in Kyoto: the very popular Kyoto International Manga Museum that manga fans never fail to visit, anime shops, manga stores, and pilgrimage spots!
I’ve also made a tour plan you can use to make your anime travel easy!
Kyoto International Manga Museum
The building was originally an elementary school and was converted into the Kyoto International Manga Museum in 2006. It is one of the biggest manga museums in Japan with a collection of 300,000 items and 50,000 manga. It has become very popular among foreign visitors and currently 15% of all the visitors are foreigners.
In the museum, you can watch an actual manga artist doing his work, or get a professional illustrator to draw your face in anime form. I got an illustrator named Horii to draw my anime face. It takes about half an hour and costs one thousand yen per person. It’s very popular among children but I also saw a whole family waiting to get their faces drawn. It’s so popular that you may even need a reservation. The portrait of mine is so cool, or maybe too cool to the point of embarrassing, but I’m using it for my twitter thumbnail.
Kamishibai (literally paper play) is a form of street storytelling with pictures and often regarded as ‘a sibling of manga’. The Kamishibai show was so compelling! There were foreign visitors watching it too.
They also have event booths and exhibitions regularly. They are planning to host a key frame exhibition of Dagashikashi in September when Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair will be held. You may be able to try some dagashi or Japanese snacks like those that appeared in the anime. If you are planning to travel to Kyoto around that time, you may want to consider visiting there too.
The Kyoto International Manga Museum has an annexed coffee shop called Emuemu (Japanese : えむえむ), and you can eat lunch there with all the manga comics surrounding you. You could even spend a whole day there!
The museum also has an item shop, and you can purchase various items including manga and anime-related merchandise as well as manga publications.
Kyoto International Manga Museum
Address: Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Museum hours: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm
Fees: Admission 800 yen for an adult, Portrait 1,000 yen
Closing Days: Every Wednesday, During the New Year’s holiday and others (Refer to their homepage)
Telephone number: 075-254-7414
Access: Approx. 2 minute walk from Karasuma Oike station on Karasuma line, Kyoto city subway
Homepage (in English): http://www.kyotomm.jp/english/
Teramachi Street: The biggest anime shopping spot in Kyoto
Teramachi Street (five minutes walk from Kawaramachi station) is highly regarded as the Anime Street by a select few, with many anime and manga related shops. Here are some of the must-see shops. Some merchandise is only available here, so you’d better check them out!