For most anime lovers, Japan is a dream destination, the holy land, the big tuna. This was pretty much true for Micah and me when we decided on Japan for our honeymoon. Anime was a part of each of our childhoods. Micah grew up Voltron, Dragonball Z, Gundam, and describes waiting every week to watch bootleg copies of Naruto. For me, I remember playing Pokemon Blue and Gold on my Gameboy Color and watching Spirited Away on Cartoon Network. Even in our relationship, our early dates consisted of binge-watching Fullmetal Alchemist and he got me a giant Totoro plushie for our first Christmas as boyfriend and girlfriend. Its one of the things we both enjoy and I was personally excited to do some shopping for anime souvenirs and see some character cafes.
So what's there for an anime fan to do in Japan? Our nerd dreams came true when we got to Tokyo. When we first arrived, we went to see the life-sized Gundam statue at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, complete with a Gundam Base that sells merchandise and such. As someone who knows virtually nothing about the Gundam franchise, I can tell you it was a cool sight to see. After we looked at the Gundam and took pictures, we walked around the plaza so I could shop, played an Initial D racing game at Round One, and were even able to catch the light show with the Gundam after sunset. The best start to our anime adventure.
We spent the next morning in the Akihabara area. If you do any research about Japan and where to find anime/nerdy stuff, this is the place. After walking up and down the main drive, passing ladies dressed in maid outfits handing out flyers, and entering many stores with 6+ floors of different games, tech, or anime collectibles, Micah and I concluded that we may only be casual anime fans. We ended our visit with a stop by the famous Gundam Cafe for some themed drinks.
That afternoon, we went to the Pokemon Mega Center in the Ikebukuro area. We had been to one Pokemon Center before, so the effect was pretty much the same, except it was a little bit bigger. It's definitely worth the trip for funsies, for the Pokemon Go chops, and/or for souvenirs AND it's near some great shopping and walking areas, which was another plus.
The rest of the trip was kind of a Studio Ghibli tour for us. A personal highlight for me was visiting the Ghibli Museum. Tucked away in the suburbs of Mitaka, the museum features around three floors of animation exhibits and whimsical play areas for children (that people my size can definitely squeeze into), plus a rooftop garden with a life-sized Forgotten Robot statue from Castle in the Sky. If you can get tickets (overseas visitors must purchase at least two months in advance), I highly recommend visiting, esp. if you're a fan of the movies.
If you can't get tickets, there are a couple of other Ghibli-themed things to do. We were able to visit Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory, known for their Totoro cream puffs. We got strawberry and custard flavors. To be honest, it was really sad to cut into the cute Totoro (they even had fondant hats and flowers for decoration), but it was so good that we bought the other flavors (matcha and chocolate) to eat at our hotel. We also stayed for lunch and had a cheese plate and shared a carbonara pasta which were both really tasty. Our hotel was also right across the street from the Ghibli Clock, which was designed by Miyazaki himself and is reminiscent of the design of Howl's giant walking house in Howl's Moving Castle. We kind of just saw it in passing on our third day in Tokyo and were lucky enough to see it chime in the new hour, but even if you don't wait around for that, it's pretty cool to see. When else are you ever going to see a giant steampunk clock in your day-to-day life?