If you’re a fan of anime, you’re in luck: Japan is home to some of the best anime theme parks in the world.
From rides and attractions to shows and exhibits, these parks have something for everyone who loves Japanese animation.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, add one (or more!) of these amazing theme parks to your itinerary.
I’ve compiled a list of the best ones, so read on for all the details.
Introduction to Anime Theme Parks in Japan
When most people think of Japan, the first things that come to mind are anime and manga.
And rightfully so, the country is responsible for some of the most iconic and well-loved anime and manga.
So it’s no surprise that Japan also boasts some of the best anime theme parks in the world.
My personal favorite is Joypolis, an indoor theme park in Tokyo.
It’s home to a wide range of attractions based on popular anime and video games, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Kart, and Resident Evil.
It’s an excellent place for fans of all ages to come and enjoy a day out.
If you’re looking for something a little more outdoorsy, Nijigen No Mori offers the chance to visit the Hidden Leaf Village from Naruto.
Set in the hills near Kobe, it’s one of Japan’s most picturesque anime theme parks.
There’s also a great selection of attractions, including a 4D theater and a replica of Konoha Castle.
And if you’re looking for something big and exciting, Fuji-Q Highland is one of the best parks with anime-themed attractions.
It’s home to two world-record-breaking roller coasters inspired by popular anime franchises.
There’s also a giant water park, a VR zone, and plenty more to keep you entertained all day.
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1) Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island
If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, mainly Naruto, then Nijigen no Mori is a must-visit destination.
Located near Kobe on Awaji Island, it’s an outdoor adventure park filled with attractions based on popular manga and anime series.
You can explore Hokage Rock, visit a real-life Ramen Ichiraku, and enjoy rides and shows inspired by Shin Chan and Godzilla.
The park also boasts an interactive 4D theater and an area dedicated to virtual reality games.
There’s plenty to do at Nijigen no Mori; you can participate in Ninja Training Camps, go on thrill rides like the Giant Swing or the Flying Boat Matsuri, or spend your day relaxing at the animal zoo or playing beach volleyball.
It truly is an anime fan’s dream come true!
2) Ghibli Museum
While a few anime-themed parks exist in Japan, the Ghibli Museum is the best.
It’s in Tokyo, and it’s devoted entirely to the works of Studio Ghibli.
Plus, it’s interactive, making you feel like part of the movie’s magic.
There are five areas in the Park Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Mononoke’s, Yorei no Mori, and the Witch Valley.
My favorite is the Hill of Youth because it has a replica of Totoro’s house. It’s just so cute!
3) Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)
If you want to experience the world of Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters, Sanrio Puroland should be your first stop.
It is an indoor theme park in Tama City, west of Tokyo.
This theme park is dedicated to Hello Kitty and many other world-famous Sanrio characters, and it sure is a sight to behold.
There are two actual rides and many characters shows and parades, so you can be sure that plenty of activities keep you busy!
Plus, restaurants and stores are inside the park, so you can experience the complete package without going outside.
Sanrio Puroland may have fewer rides than some of the more significant theme parks, but it’s worth a visit if you’re a big fan of Hello Kitty or any other Sanrio character.
Plus, it’s indoors, so if it rains while you’re visiting Japan, this could be a great way to spend the day!
4) Fuji Q Highland
Next on the list is Fuji Q Highland, a fantastic amusement park located 2 hours from Tokyo. It is best known for its thrilling roller coasters and anime-themed rides/attractions.
There are also two haunted attractions and replicas of mecha from Evangelion, specifically Eva Unit 01 and Eva Unit 02.
The park has many other attractions, like a giant Ferris wheel and other rides.
Overall, it’s a terrific way to experience Japan’s anime culture through an exciting theme park experience!
5) Super Nintendo World: Universal Studios
The fifth anime theme park you should visit is Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan.
It’s a relatively new theme park that opened in 2020 and is part of the larger Universal Studios Japan complex.
In 2022, they opened more rides based on popular anime and game series such as Mario Kart and Dragon Quest.
It features attractions based on popular game franchises like Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, and more.
You can even collect coins digitally in the game attractors throughout the park.
Suppose you’re looking for a different kind of theme park experience (that isn’t littered with scary characters).
In that case, Super Nintendo World is the perfect place to explore your favorite gaming universes and come alive in a new way.
6) Ace Attorney-themed attraction at Joypolis
If you’re an Ace Attorney video game franchise fan, you’ll want to check out Joypolis.
The theme park opened in 2001 and has since been one of Japan’s most popular family attractions.
It has more than 50 attractions, including roller coasters, kiddie rides, live shows, and 3D movies. It also hosts an Ace Attorney-themed attraction.
The ride is modeled after one of the game’s courtroom scenes where lawyers argue their clients’ cases before a judge decides whether they should be found guilty or innocent.
The detail that goes into each attraction is pretty impressive; you can watch your riders move up and down within the life-sized tree replicas or shoot off military-grade cannons to stop titans in their tracks.
And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, then Joypolis’ Virtual Reality Hanging Mobius coaster is just what you need.
So whether you’re looking for thrilling attractions or good old-fashioned fun, Joypolis is worth checking out; it’ll make for an unforgettable anime adventure!
7) Tokyo Disney Sea Theme Park
Tokyo Disney Sea is one of the best theme parks I’ve ever visited.
It’s a beautifully designed park that celebrates all things Disney, from their classic movies to their latest hits.
The best part is that it doesn’t feel like a carbon copy of the other Disney parks worldwide. Instead, it feels like a unique and special place explicitly created for Tokyo.
Plenty of rides and attractions keep you busy all day, and the shows are top-notch.
If you’re a fan of Disney or want to experience something exceptional, Tokyo Disney Sea should be at the top of your list.
The History of Anime Culture
Anime culture has a long and exciting history in Japan.
The earliest anime works traced back to the end of the 19th century when some of the first animated short films emerged.
By the 1930s, anime had become a form of mass entertainment in Japan and was used to promote nationalistic messages during World War II.
In the decades after the war, anime evolved continuously, and by the 1970s, it had become a popular form of entertainment for children and adults.
Around this time, theme parks dedicated to anime began to pop up all over Japan.
Today, these theme parks offer fans a unique way to express their love for anime and video games by combining worlds of manga, anime, video games, and other forms of entertainment in one place.
Tips for Visiting an Anime Theme Park in Japan
As someone who has visited anime theme parks multiple times, I can provide tips to make your visit more enjoyable.
- Buy tickets online before you go; it’s best to avoid going during peak times when the parks are bound to be crowded.
- Ensure you bring a complete set of extra batteries for your camera to take advantage of all great shots!
- And if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t be afraid to try out the amusement rides; they can often be surprisingly fun!
- Remember that these parks are designed with anime fans in mind, so have fun and enjoy yourself!
- Make sure you take the time to appreciate every park’s unique details and remember to grab some souvenirs when you leave.
Most Famous Anime Locations in Japan
There’s Suga Shrine in Yotsuya from “Your Name.”
This was the backdrop of the famous scene where Mitsuha and Taki reunited after three years.
Then, there’s the ever-popular Harajuku from Jujutsu Kaisen.
Here you can find fun things like cosplay shops and many other exciting places.
Yokohama is also a great place to explore, as this is where Bungou Stray Dogs takes place.
And, of course, no anime lover should skip out on Akihabara, which has become a mecca for otaku culture with its many arcades and retro stores.
If you’re an anime fan, a trip to Japan is a must, and what better way to experience Japan’s anime culture than by visiting one of its many anime theme parks?
They’re perfect for people who love watching these shows on TV or playing video games based on them.
The best part? They’re all located near major cities, so you can find them once you arrive in Japan.