Japan is the birthplace of anime and subsequently, the perfect place for any and all anime fans to visit. The country boasts a wide range of fun anime-inspired attractions, theme parks and museums which ensure that no anime lover is left disappointed.
Many of the top theme parks here maintain traditional Japanese culture while also showcasing different themes from popular anime and manga franchises.
1. Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland is one of two Disney theme parks at the Disney Resort which is situated just outside of central Tokyo. This is one of the best family-friendly attractions in Japan, with an array of stores, restaurants, and rides for visitors to enjoy as well as plenty of characters to meet and take photos with, including everyone’s favourite – Mickey Mouse!
We’re big fans of Disney and therefore allocated one day to each of the theme parks during our seven days in Tokyo. However, you could also try to visit both parks in one day or simply visit just one of the two Disney parks during your visit instead.
Blending classic Disney charm with a unique Japanese twist, this park is broken up into multiple lands which you can explore including; Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Meanwhile, popular rides include; Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain.
2. Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan is another incredibly popular theme park located in the southern city of Osaka. This world-renowned theme park boasts a range of lands and rides covering some of the company’s most popular franchises including; Minions, Harry Potter and Super Nintendo.
Thrill-seekers will find their adrenaline fix on a number of themed rides including the “Jurassic Park: The Ride” which takes you on a nerve-wracking journey through a dinosaur-infested landscape and the “Jaws” ride in Amity Village which no doubt have you on the edge of your seat as you come face-to-face with the legendary great white shark.
Super Nintendo World is the latest addition to the park and is a dream come true for video game enthusiasts. This area lets you step into the vibrant world of Mario, complete with a life-sized Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Fortress.
The state-of-the-art “Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge” (Mario Kart: Bowsers Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood) ride is a particular highlight, combining physical sets, augmented reality, and projection mapping technologies to create a truly immersive experience.
3. Fuji-Q Highlands
Fuji-Q Highland is one of the most well-known amusement parks in the world and was a major factor in our decision to visit Japan. Located in the Fuji Five Lake area at the foot of Mount Fuji. This park is particularly famous among thrill-seekers for its record-breaking roller coasters, extravagant rides, and anime-themed attractions.
Its four major roller coasters are; Eejanaika, Dodonpa, Takabisha, and Fujiyama – each breaking records in their respective categories.
Eejanaika, for instance, holds the world record for the highest number of inversions, while Dodonpa is known for its jaw-dropping speed and sudden acceleration. Takabisha, on the other hand, is renowned for having the world’s steepest drop, and Fujiyama, named after Mount Fuji, was once the world’s tallest roller coaster.
4. Ghibli Park
For anyone journeying to Japan, particularly those enchanted by the mesmerizing tales spun by Studio Ghibli’s animated movies, Ghibli Park is a destination that simply cannot be missed.
Ghibli Park is a universe in itself, cleverly divided into several themed areas. Each zone is lovingly crafted, taking inspiration from the different Studio Ghibli films that have captivated audiences worldwide. Some of our favourites include;
- My Neighbor Totoro – This area whisks visitors away into the mystical realm of Totoro, where they can wander through the Dondoko Forest, a significant location in the movie.
- Hill of Youth – A specially curated area that embodies the enchantment of Ghibli’s films. This section is a homage to the studio’s artistic genius
- Kiki’s Delivery Service – This area offers an immersive experience from Kiki’s world, allowing guests to explore the charming coastal town where Kiki starts her delivery service.
- Valley of Witches – Here, visitors can explore various mystical elements, including magic shops, potion classrooms, and a forest path filled with charming witch-themed elements.
- Whisper of the Heart – Visitors to this section will feel as if they’ve been transplanted into the movie, walking through scenes that have been recreated with stunning detail.
- The Cat Returns – The design of this area perfectly mimics the Cat Kingdom and subsequently will transport guests to the extraordinary world of talking cats.
- The Secret World of Arrietty – This section is crafted to make visitors feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of the tiny people in the film. Everything in this area, from the furniture to the flora, is oversized to give the illusion of being in Arrietty’s world.
A key attraction within the park is Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, a massive structure housing various elements from Studio Ghibli films. This large warehouse serves as an umbrella space for an array of exhibits, featuring a myriad of memorable scenes from Ghibli classics. It is within these walls that fans can further immerse themselves in the magical worlds they’ve come to love.
5. Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea is the second park at the Tokyo Disney Resort. While both parks are owned and operated by Disney, they are each incredibly different. As such we would highly recommend visiting both during your trip to the Disney Resort.
This immersive attraction is divided into seven themed zones, or “Ports of Call,” which are all based on harbours of the world or Disney films. They include; Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and The American Waterfront.
6. Nijigen no Mori
Nijigen no Mori, which translates to “Two-Dimensional Forest,” is one of the best Naruto-themed attractions in Japan. Located on Awaji Island, this incredible outdoor theme park boasts immersive and interactive experiences for fans of all ages.
The park is divided into several zones, each dedicated to a specific anime or manga series. These zones offer a range of activities, from obstacle courses and treasure hunts to augmented reality (AR) experiences and themed restaurants.
In addition to the themed attractions, the park also offers camping facilities and cabins, allowing visitors to extend their stay and immerse themselves in the enchanting forest setting. Nijigen no Mori blends the boundary between fiction and reality, offering a one-of-a-kind experience for anime and manga enthusiasts.
7. Sanrio Puroland
Sanrio Puroland is an indoor amusement park located in Tama City, Tokyo that features various attractions and shows featuring Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars.
The park is known for its charming characters, lovable parades, and cutesy performances, and is a must-visit destination for families with kids. Visitors can take the Keio Line to Tama Center Station and from there, it’s just a short walk to the theme park.
Some of the top things to do at the park include meeting Sanrio characters at the Character Greeting House, walking through Lady Kitty House and Kiki & Lala’s Twinkling Tour, watching the Kawaii Kabuki Musical at Marchen Theater, catching the Nakayoku Concert & a Parade at Puro Village, and visiting the Mini Factories.
8. Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura is one of the best theme parks in Japan and is located in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The park is designed to replicate the Edo period (1603-1867) of Japan and offers a variety of experiences, attractions, and activities that reflect the culture of the time.
The park has several features such as the Modern Edo-Tech Museum, Edo Work Experience, and the Meet Nyan-mage experience. Meanwhile, visitors can also dress up in Edo-period clothing and take photos.
9. Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park
Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park is one of the best manga theme parks in all of Japan. Inspired by the Crayon Shin-chan anime that’s located in an interactive theme park called Nijigen No Mori on Awaji Island in Japan.
The park offers an immersive experience that brings the vibrant world of Crayon Shin-chan to life. From the moment visitors step inside, they are transported into a whimsical realm filled with colourful characters, iconic locations, and thrilling attractions.
Whether it’s exploring the mischievous antics of Shinnosuke “Shin-chan” Nohara or embarking on exciting rides inspired by the series, there’s something for fans of all ages to enjoy. The attention to detail is astonishing, with meticulously recreated scenes and authentic props that capture the essence of the beloved manga.
10. Huis Ten Bosch
Huis Ten Bosch is a Dutch-inspired theme park located in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan. The park spans over 152 hectares and boasts various Dutch-style architecture, flowers, and illuminations that are known to captivate every visitor.
The park is designed to simulate a Dutch town, complete with a canal system and windmills. Visitors can explore various attractions, including the Palace Huis Ten Bosch, a replica of the residence of the Dutch Royal Family, the Floating Flower Market, where you can purchase tulips and other Dutch flowers, and the Dutch Village, which has a collection of traditional Dutch houses.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Light Festival, which takes place from December to February. During this time, the park is decorated with millions of LED lights, creating a magical winter wonderland that attracts tourists from all over the world. Visitors can enjoy a light show, ice skating, and other winter activities during the festival.
Apart from the Dutch-themed attractions, Huis Ten Bosch also has various rides and roller coasters that cater to visitors of all ages. The park’s main roller coaster, the Desperado, is a popular attraction among thrill-seekers. Other popular rides include the Water Splash, Pirate Ship, and Sky Cycle, which offer a unique way to explore the park from above.