Anime Tours

animetour.jpg

My friend Ben Applegate is working for Digital Manga, a Japanese comics publisher that owns a tour outfit called Pop Japan Travel. They do tours of Japan for fans of anime, manga and other weird and obscure subcultures. It all sounds pretty cool to me – I wish I had the time to go on one of these tours myself. The least I can do is give him a plug (and maybe they’ll give me a press discount – hint, hint).

Ben writes:

“We’re doing a tour in January and February of Tokyo and the Sapporo Snow Festival and we’ve added some extremely cool stuff to it: a sponsorship by Japanese anime mag publisher Gakken, a visit to Studio Pierrot (which animates Naruto, Bleach, pretty much every third action anime ever seen on Toonami), and a meeting with Hideyuki Kikuchi, a great Japanese horror writer whose best-known works are Wicked City and Vampire Hunter D.”

Tickets for this tour, known as the Cold Steel Tour, are on sale only until Dec. 15. The group departs Monday, January 28 and returns Wednesday, February 6. Other activities on the itinerary include a trip to the Ghibli Museum, a ride on a water ferry designed by Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato), and tours of traditional Japanese sights and modern Tokyo. The tour costs $2,500 plus a $200 fuel surcharge, and it includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Tokyo, full hotel accommodations, bilingual guides every step of the way, all transportation and entry fees, and a customized guide book with maps, culture notes and a language primer designed for anime fans.

For complete itineraries and reservations, see www.popjapantravel.com!


  • Marc G.

    As much as I’d feel like a huge nerd on that tour, I’d honestly prefer it to the traditional “shrines/castles/kabuki/tea ceremony” tour. Some of their past tours have visited Square-Enix and the Tokyo Game Show… pretty hot tickets.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    Ever since they launched their Pop J-travel Tours, I’ve said the same thing: I wish I had the cash…

  • Abdul Elah

    Oh, there will be bigger nerds than you on that tour. :)

    Two of my friends went on the 2006 summer tour and they loved it. To me, the only appealing part of the tour (only part you might not be able to do on your own) is the animation studio access. Unfortunately that was the part they didn’t enjoy. Studio Gonzo just had them sit down and showed them promo videos for anime that was already released. They were working on a “secret” project (everyone knew it was Romeo and Juliet) so they couldn’t give them a tour. My other issue is, while its cool to visit ANY anime studio, I would prefer high profile stuff like Production I.G. or Studio Ghibli instead of the more mainstream studios. Actually, if they can score a tour with the Kyoto university animation department where people from the industry lecture there, head of the department is the Studio Madhouse guy, that would be worth it.

    In the end I opted to go on my own this past September. I got more stuff done and it was a healthy mix of geek and culture. ^^

    In any case, my friends enjoyed the experience and highly recommended it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Studio Gonzo just had them sit down and showed them promo videos for anime that was already released. They were working on a “secret� project (everyone knew it was Romeo and Juliet) so they couldn’t give them a tour. My other issue is, while its cool to visit ANY anime studio, I would prefer high profile stuff like Production I.G. or Studio Ghibli instead of the more mainstream studios. Actually, if they can score a tour with the Kyoto university animation department where people from the industry lecture there, head of the department is the Studio Madhouse guy, that would be worth it.

    Kinda made me laugh to read they had to go to Gonzo, they already have quite a reputation with fans for the way their shows start out rather OK in the first episode, but rapidly fall down in quality a few episodes later.