If you’ve ever thought of yourself as a gamer or a geek, you probably feel some affinity for Japan. With so many of us drawing a sense of community and identity from Japanese anime, manga, games, music and fashion, a pilgrimage to this nerd heartland is one of the most rewarding experiences you can offer yourself.
The biggest challenge you’ll face when planning a trip to Japan is narrowing down what to do! With so many unique experiences at your fingertips in Tokyo and beyond, it’s good to narrow things down a little based on your interests. Are you a big fan of anime and manga? There are fantastic museums dedicated to the most famous creators, like Studio Ghibli or Osamu Tezuka, or Kyoto’s International Manga Museum and its wall of 50,000 books.
Are you a dedicated gamer? Spend an afternoon playing through gaming history at one of Tokyo’s famous arcades, or visit world-famous stores further down Akihabara strip to find deals on rare games and consoles. Every Japanese subculture is celebrated somewhere in Tokyo for those who love it. You might walk among the fashion icons of Harajuku for a day, visit the futuristic Miraikan Science Museum – even attend the world’s most celebrated pro wrestling shows!
Venture beyond the wonders of Tokyo, perhaps by the world-famous bullet train, and find even more breathtaking experiences. From the fairytale castle and robotic attractions of Huis Ten Bosch to historical temples and onsen where you can rest from your travels, the opportunities for a open-minded traveller are nearly endless!
Waiting for an excuse to visit Japan? Try and time your trip around one of the great otaku conventions – AnimeJapan in March, Comiket in August or December, and Tokyo Game Show in September. Each of these world-famous gatherings brings hundreds of thousands of fans together to celebrate the media we love. Being present at the epicentre of these global communities is the greatest way to reaffirm what makes them special.