Thursday, June 10, 2010

Japan Anime Tourism Guide

The Japan Anime Tourism Guide has come so far since I first discovered it about 1 year ago. Designed and researched by the Association of Japanese Animations, with editing assisted by UNIJAPAN (Japan Association for the International Promotion of the Moving Image), and produced by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the Guide started out as a two-sided flier. One side listed various anime-related sites, and the other had museums and galleries. The map was too small, the text was impossible to read and there were no descriptions of the different places. Plus, the place names were all in Japanese. A later revision turned the guide into a multi-page booklet, with short descriptions and URLs included for the museums and galleries. The only real drawbacks were that the place descriptions were still only in Japanese, and there was no online version.

Fast-forward to March, 2010, and the JNTO's new Visit Japan 2010 campaign. The guide is now available in Korean, English and French, among other languages, and the translations are pretty good. Most of the places listed are the same as before, along with the inclusion of the Tetsujin 28-go statue in Kobe. The only remaining flaw is that the guide is still not available online.

You may be able to request it directly from the JNTO site, since they're the primary sponsor of the document. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until you get to Japan. I don't know where else to find copies, but they are available for free from the Tokyo Anime Center in Akihabara. And, I found reference-only copies at the Suginami Animation Museum, just west of Shinjuku on the Chuu-ou line.

Or, you can go to my museums and sightseeing knols, and check out the sites there, since I'm leaving them up for the time being.


While I'm at it, I might as well mention the other guide maps. Most of these are just for Akihabara, which is useful if you're looking for the electronics shops. (Finding the anime and manga shops just consists of exiting the JR Akihabara station on the west side (follow the signs for Electric Town), walk one block west to Chuu-ou Dori and turn right to face north. Take your pick. You'll see them on both sides of the street for the next 6 blocks.) If you're looking for maid cafes, visit my Maid Runner site for reviews and locations.

The Japan Times ran a review of an audio tape tour (1890 yen for the book and CD, 1260 yen for just the MP3 audio file download) of Akihabara. Fine for people that don't really like Akihabara (and are willing to put up with Galbraith narrating the tape). If you really want a tour guide for Akiba, go to one of the "walk-with-a-maid" companies, or stop at Takarada (the gift shop just west of the JR Akihabara station, which also offers tours). I wouldn't bother with this audio tour, myself, but it's a free country and you may find it useful (but I refuse to pay money for anything that Galbraith is involved in).

If you're already in Akihabara, go to the UDX building just north of the train station on the west side (you'll walk by the Gundam Cafe) and stop at the Akiba tourist information office on the 2nd floor. You can get the UDX guide map here, and some of the staff can answer your questions in English.

There's a second Guide Map put out by this company.

Then there's the GoodLuck Map.

And the New Discovery Tours map

Or, you can stop at the Japan-i site and get tour info there.


bartman905 said...

Hey, I actually have this (English version of course), I can't remember where I picked it up (maybe Akihabara?). Anyway, I thought this was a nice booklet.

TSOTE said...

The only place I know that has it in Akihabara is the Tokyo Anime Center on the 4th floor of the UDX building. But you're not a big anime fan, right? (I was thinking that the tourist information booth on the 2nd floor of the UDX would have it, but they've never heard of it.)

The current version is really nice. The only drawback to it is that the publishers know it's incomplete and they won't be able to expand on it for some months until the next edition comes out. That and you can't order copies online.