Japan has a unique pop culture with enthusiasts from all over the world. Whether you’re interested in street fashion, manga and anime, or specialty museums, Japan does not disappoint.
Where to Experience Pop Culture in Japan
The best places to see street fashion are in Tokyo and Osaka. In Tokyo, stroll the streets of Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Ikebukuro to see the latest trends and styles. All of these areas are easily accessible via the Yamanote loop line.
In Osaka, be sure to visit Dotonbori, Amerikamura, and Denden Town. They are all within walking distance of Namba Station.
Shibuya is the center for youth fashion and culture. Here you can see the famous crosswalk seen in movies and magazines with neon advertisements and video screens in every direction. Every two minutes, the Shibuya Crossing sees up to 2500 people cross in every direction!
Harajuku is a popular area for teenagers. The main strip is Takeshita Dori, a narrow 400-meter long street. Here, you’ll see the latest fashion, trendy shops, boutique stores, and used clothing stores.
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s largest shopping and entertainment districts. Shinjuku Station opened in 1885 and is the busiest station in the world with over 3.5 million passengers every day. It actually holds the Guinness World Record. There are 36 platforms and over 200 exits. The East Exit leads to Kabuki-cho, the biggest entertainment district in Japan and the location of the giant Godzilla.
Akihabara is the center for electronics, video games, anime, manga, and computer goods, with a large anime culture. Diehard fans come from all over the country. Here you’ll find anime and manga figurines, collectibles, and toys.
Otome Road near Ikebukuro Station offers a female-oriented version of Akihabara. Female manga and anime fans should definitely check this out!
Dotonbori is known for shopping, dining, entertainment, pop culture, and street food. You’ll see many animated signboards, including a 21-foot crab above the restaurant Kani Doraku. Dotonbori is the best place to try Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.
Just north of Dotonbori, Amerikamura is the youth center of Osaka similar to Harajuku in Tokyo. There are vintage clothes, vinyl records, and trendy cafes.
Denden Town is the Osaka version of Akihabara in Tokyo. Located at Nipponbashi, this is where you’ll find electronics, video games, manga, and anime goods.
Japanese comics are called manga and are enjoyed by all ages in Japan, male and female. On the trains, you’ll see businessmen and school kids reading their favorite manga.
Topics are generally based on Japanese history and culture, and include genres of fantasy, romance, school life, science fiction, and sports. You can buy manga at bookstores, convenience stores, and specialty stores.
The most famous manga, Astro Boy, was created by Tezuka Osamu. The Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum in Osaka has a library of comics, a gallery of Osamu’s works, and a theater.
The Kyoto International Manga Museum features over 300,000 Japanese manga. There is also a children’s library, workshops, and drawing classes.
Popular manga are often made into Japanese animation, called anime. There are films and television shows for both children and adults.
The most celebrated animation company is Studio Ghibli, which produced My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. The museum features special animation exhibits and exclusive short films.
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Becki and Shawn
Japan Travel Specialists
Hi, we’re Becki and Shawn! We love Japan and are truly passionate about Japan and Japan travel.
We’ve lived, worked, and traveled in Japan for 20+ years, so we know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. Join us in Japan for an adventure of a lifetime!