Best Japanese Anime Tours
In a matter of weeks, the weather will turn warm and as a young 20-something individual, you will have three choices before you. Working is an option and sleeping round the clock sounds like a dream but neither really speaks to that part of you that craves the different and interesting. If you could only travel? How wonderful it would be to leave the real world behind, de-stress and rejuvenate your soul.
Your love of Japanese anime and manga makes you a geek in your group. You have always longed to travel and experience Japanese culture in its purest form. But, you do not know the language and traveling alone would be just too scary. How would you ever make such a trip happen?
In truth, choices for this type of tour are numerous and occur regularly during the month of March (Spring Break) and then, the months of May through October. Prices do vary according to the length of stay and how many places are visited. To help you in this regard, here are a few options that might be worth a second look. Shorter packages are available but most have the same amenities as the list below.
1. Highlights of Japan | Hiroshima & Anime
Summary: This package by Japanese Deluxe Tours includes 10 days/9 nights of lodging, meals, tours and social events. Costs start at $3,698 with 9 scheduled tour dates from May to October 2019.
Designed for the anime adventurer, this tour is fully escorted and visits popular spots in Tokyo and Hiroshima. Traditional sights include the Sensoji Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine with great entertainment available in the Pokemon Center and Nakano Broadway. To get the blood pumping, experience a ride on the Bullet Train as it speeds toward Mt. Fuji or you can cross the Hakone Ropeway for a thrill. Eat at the Tsukiji Fish Market and enjoy freshly prepared sushi or visit the specialty of the house at the Robot Restaurant. All of this takes place in and around Tokyo and includes the nightlife of Akihabara, historic landmarks and cultural experiences.
The tour includes a 1-night in a traditional Japanese-style hotel that could end in a relaxing dip in the on-site hot springs. The remaining nights are at Western-style hotels. Daily breakfast buffets are included as are 6 lunches and one dinner. No need to worry about tickets, transportation or tips for destinations as your licensed English speaking guide will explain the schedule and make all connections. The company also provides a travel handbook that can answer any questions you may have. Free WiFi on the bus or in hotels is often a standard amenity. Airfare, optional side trips, unscheduled meals and insurance are not covered in the package.
To connect you to your fantasy side, activities include an anime-themed show at the Robot Restaurant, a shopping trip down Tokyo’s Character Street and trading time in the Pokemon Center. Cost is $3698.00 USD for double occupancy rooms. Tours maintain a tight schedule and travelers need to wear comfortable shoes and be physically able to walk/stand for long periods of time.
2. Otaku Tour: Japanese Pop Culture Experience
Summary: A private/group and customizable tour, Yampu Tours offer a complete package including in-country transportation, meals, and gratuities. Based in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, the 10-day/ 9-night tour has a multigenerational audience. Scheduled activities include sightseeing, free time, animation museums visits, and tours. Costs start at $7069 for double occupancy. Several tours are available between April and October 2019.
Designed to explore modern Japan with a sprinkle of the past, this tour is for the true anime enthusiast. Comic books, animation, and old traditions are highlighted in this package. Explore the famous Pokemon Center and the Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli museum then transition to the more traditional and learn ancient swordsmanship, the fashion of Japan’s geishas and participate in a traditional tea ceremony.
The package includes all transportation required to meet the itinerary. Lodging and breakfast, as well as the taxes and handling fees needed for luggage, are also included. More importantly, all admission fees and the services of an English speaking guide provide the support the single traveler needs to feel secure and comfortable in a foreign country. The pace of this tour lends itself to those people interested in learning through experiences. Cost starts at $7069 USD for double occupancy. The itinerary has some unique activities which are not always found in other packages.
Day 1 begins with a day of free time and access to a 7-day rail pass for those who wish to explore on their own. Tour activities start on the second day with a hands-on immersion into old Japanese skills and customs ending with a trip to the Shinjuku's Samurai Museum. With a good background in Japanese traditions behind you, the next few days focus on the anime and manga scene in and around Tokyo. A day at the Ghibli Museum with time at J-World amusement park and then on to the Pokemon Center feed your interest in this famous art form. After leaving Tokyo, there are rides on the rails to visit Kyoto and some historic and sacred centers of Japanese culture. The trip ends with a ride on the Bullet Train back to the airport for your flight.
3. InsideJapan's Manga & Anime - 11 Days
Summary: This 11-day tour fills the needs of those who feel comfortable navigating Japan on their own. Lodging is typically double occupancy with 2-3 days in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and then returning to Tokyo. Transportation is typically by rail. The itinerary is tailor-made to your specifications. Lodging choices are described as moderate and costs for the package start at $2929 per person.
Inside Japan Tours offers self-guided experiences in addition to its standard packages for groups. Designed for those people who have experienced such travels before or for those who know the language, purchasing such a tour offers the convenience of pre-planning by experienced guides, a visit to Kyoto and many of the standard side trips typically seen by anime enthusiasts.
Lodging includes Japanese style hotel stays in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka before returning to a second location within Tokyo proper. As is common, these rooms are more in line with dorms than individual suites. All facilities, including bathrooms, are shared and can be segregated by gender. Breakfast is included with lodging. Other amenities for this tour include:
A personalized tour of Tokyo with our “insider” expert
A return trip to Tokyo on the Bullet Train
Private guide services in Kyoto (8hr)
Explore the Dotonbori district in Osaka
International Manga Museum tour (Kyoto)
Enjoy the nightlife at Akihabara (Tokyo)
Toei Studio Park afternoon tour
Railway and transportation pass
As with all self-guided tours, these activities form the base of an experience that is tailor-made to your interests. Costs start at $2929 and do not include International airfare, baggage handling or meals not stipulated on the itinerary.
4. 5 Days Anime Pioneer Adventure
Summary: Based in Tokyo, this 5 day/4 night trip is long enough to satisfy your anime interest but does not break the bank. Costs vary by date and room occupancy but range from $1217 to $1818 for most trips. Many of the typical anime sights are included in this package. The company provides a Tour Handbook, carrying bag and Tour Goods package as part of the experience.
Available through Japan Deluxe Tours, tour dates are scheduled from early May through late October. Each traveler enjoys a 4-night stay in a Western-style hotel that includes a daily breakfast buffet. Transportation around the city is included as are admission fees and applicable taxes and gratuities. A well-planned itinerary and the services of a licensed English speaking guide make the most of the time available to you.
While optional side trips are not included in the schedule or price, many popular locations are included in the schedule. Free WiFi is often provided in the hotels and on the bus for easy uploading of photos. Start with a fun evening in the popular Akihabara section of Tokyo. Visit restaurants and gather places to soak up the true Japanese experience. Later you will ‘geek out’ and shop in such anime haunts as Pokemon Center, Animate, Character Street and Nakano Broadway. When that is finished there are places to see that include the Tokyo One Piece Tower, and the Ghibli Museum as well as Harajuku and Takeshita Dori.
The pace may be a quick one so comfortable shoes and the ability to walk or stand for long periods of time is recommended. Meals other than breakfast and snacks are not included in the package unless part of the schedule. The general cost is $2000 plus international airfare.
5. Pop Japan - Japan Specialist (JTB)
Summary: Booked through a company based in the United Kingdom, this tours focuses on all things Pop Culture in Tokyo and other areas. The 8-day/7-night trip visits popular locations with the younger crowd in mind. Costs vary by date and room arrangements beginning at $875. This package is for lodging and rail transportation only. No tickets or guide is provided.
A package for simple lodging and transportation, this tour can offer spontaneity for the traveler who wants to explore at his/her own pace. After flying into Tokyo, travelers have four days to explore this massive city. Here you will enjoy a 4-night stay while exploring the most popular districts in Tokyo. From fashion to gaming, Tokyo is the center of all that is pop culture. Akihabara offers great restaurants and entertainment options. Young people often dress to look like cartoon characters. Visit the Maid or Animal cafes for unique relaxing and social time. Shop in such locations as Character Street of Takeshita Dori as part of your experience.
Kyoto is just a rail ride away where the Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must see. A four-day rail pass is included and gives travelers access to nearby sights like the ancient city of Nara and Osaka which is known for its food. A quick rail ride takes you to the Narita airport from where you will leave to go home.
This choice should be limited to those who are comfortable traveling through and communicating with the Japanese native. This is a basic package and out of pocket expenses will likely be higher than with other packages.
6. 7-day Anime Tour - The Dragon Tour
Summary: Offered as a 7-day immersion into the world of anime, a trip to the AnimeJapan convention center is the highlight of this program. Booked most often in March, the cost is reasonable but may not include all the support of other trips. Visit all type of museums and pop culture outlets such as the Cup of Noodles or Ghibli Museums.
With a unique list of recommended activities, this package offers a great combination of structure and freedom. Lodging is in moderately priced Japanese style hotels that have a dorm feel. Rooms are generally segregated by gender unless parties are booked at the same time. Social time is always included whether it be an evening in Akihabara enjoying its nightlife or singing karaoke with the rest of the group at the hotel. All excursions and admission fees are the responsibility of the traveler so have cash on hand at all times. A railway pass can take you outside the city to other well-known attractions such as Kyoto International Manga Museum. Possibly the best trip for the anime geek in all of us.
Last Minute Advice
While most Japanese tours incorporate some anime and contemporary culture into their itinerary, it is best to look for a tour that specializes in events that celebrate this art form and environment. Cheaper rates can sometimes be found if tours are booked during the month of March or as a last minute package. Before you hop on the plane, take a look at a few other tips for a successful and enjoyable trip.
Always behave in a respectful manner. Japanese culture highlights respect and honor. What may be funny to you, could be seen as extremely insulting in this country.
Carry your passport with you at all times.
Smoking in public is prohibited under most conditions.
The drinking age is 20. Avoid the use of a fake ID and just abide by the rules.
Cash is King. Learn the system and carry cash at all times.
Tattoos are not popular. Remember this is not your country and it is important to respect its values.
Learn a few Japanese phrases. Your guide may not always be around to help you.
Speak softly - it is a matter of culture.
Do not point. This will be difficult for most Americans but pointing is considered rude.
Small tokens or gifts go a long way to show respect.
These points are mentioned to highlight that Japan may welcome the world to its country but respect from all is expected.