Kyoto Museum Mascot Mamyu

Manga Museums in Japan

At first I was a bit hesitant to write this article. I spent most of my time in Kansai when I was studying in Japan and hence could not visit the well known manga and anime museums around Tokyo. Nevertheless, I want to talk about some of the amazing manga museums that I have discovered in Japan so far. 

I often chose the off-beat routes and less popular tourist spots to discover interesting places on the way to my destinations. For example, when I was travelling from Tottori to Shimane I learnt that Sakaiminato was on the way and I immediately made plans to stop by this place. Sakaiminato is a port town and it is popular for Mizuki Shigeru Road which I had once seen on a television show.

So without wasting much time, let me share some of the coolest manga museums I have visited in Japan till now.

Kyoto International Manga Museum

Kyoto International Manga Museum Building
Kyoto Museum Mascot Mamyu
Museum Mascot Mamyu welcomes you to Kyoto International Manga Museum

If you love reading manga this place is a must visit. The Kyoto International Manga Museum was inaugurated on November 2006 with an aim to promote manga culture. It is a huge library of three floors with a collection of approximately 50,000 comic books all arranged chronologically on the ‘Wall of Manga’. On the first floor ‘Wall of Manga’ you will find shojo manga 少女漫画 (girl’s comics), shonen manga 少年漫画 (boy’s comics) on the second floor and seinen manga 青年漫画 (young adult’s comics) on the third floor.

Kyoto International Manga Museum Guide
Kyoto International Manga Museum Guide

Kyoto Manga Museum Floor Guide
Kyoto Manga Museum Floor Guide

The collection of manga books and materials available here is unparalleled. There are research reference rooms where you can get access to over 2,50,000 manga materials inclusive of international publications. There are also exhibition corners, sections featuring popular artworks and workshop areas. 

Photography is prohibited inside the building, so I could only take limited pictures.

火の鳥 Hi no Tori - A huge phoenix statue inside Kyoto Manga Museum where photography is allowed. This character was designed by Osamu Tezuka.
火の鳥 Hi no Tori – A huge phoenix statue inside Kyoto Manga Museum where photography is allowed. This character was designed by Osamu Tezuka.

火の鳥 Hi no Tori

There is a small souvenir-cum-book shop from where I bought Mononoke Hime – The Storyboard Book. Yes, it contains original drawings by Hayao Miyazaki, cool right?

Princess Mononoke Storyboard
Princess Mononoke Storyboard Book Cover

Princess Mononoke Storyboard
Princess Mononoke Storyboard Book Back Cover

Princess Mononoke Storyboard
Princess Mononoke Storyboard

A peek inside the book

There are many areas to explore in this enormous museum building which was once an elementary school. There are two cafes inside the facility and a spacious outdoor lawn where people can read their book.

Kyoto Museum Outdoor Lawn
Kyoto Museum Outdoor Lawn

You need to pay an admission fee to enter. It is 800 yen for adults, 300 yen for High and Junior High School Students and 100 yen for elementary school students. Group discount is also available for 20 people or more.

Fees

Adults 800yen
High and Junior High School Students 300yen
Elementary school students 100yen

Museum Hours and Holidays

Open – Everyday except Wednesday : 10:00 – 18:00 (admission is allowed until 17:30)
Closed – Every Wednesday (if a national holiday falls on Wednesday then the following Thursday)

Visit the Kyoto International Manga Museum for more details.

Access : Its a 2 minutes walk from Karasuma Oike station in Kyoto. 

Mizuki Shigeru Road

Ever heard of the cult manga series GeGeGe no Kitaro ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (Spooky Kitaro)? It has been adapted into anime series seven times since 1968. There were also two live action movies made by the franchise. 

This epic series was penned by Mizuki Shigeru a brilliant manga artist who was born in Osaka and raised in Sakaiminato town in Tottori. Muzuki Shigeru is a specialist in writing ghost stories and designing yokai manga characters. He has also published books on Japanese history and his experiences in World War II.

In the honor of this great manga artist Sakaiminato town has dedicated a street and named it Mizuki Shigeru road. It starts from Sakaiminato station and spans approximately 800 meters.

We took a local train on JR Sakai line from Yonago station directly to Sakaiminato station. This station is nicknamed Nezumi Otoko Eki. Nezumi Otoka is a character in GeGeGe no Kitaro. In fact, Yonago station platform 0, which is for Sakaiminato station (aka Kitaro station) is designed and themed after the very own manga itself. The fourteen other stops that fall between Yonago and Sakaiminato stations are also nicknamed after characters from GeGeGe no Kitaro.

At Yonago Station
GeGeGe no Kitaro face in the hole poster board at Yonago Station

Yokai charaters and their introductions at Yonago station

The trains which ply between Yonago and Sakaiminato station are also Spooky Kitaro themed.

Kitaro_train
Off to Sakaiminato on a Kitaro themed train
GeGeGe no Kitaro themed seats inside the train
Reached Sakaiminato and ready to embark on a spooky adventure
Yokai (Kitaro) Mail Box inside Sakaiminato Station
Bronze statues of Nezumi Otoko, Mizuki Shigeru and Kitaro Inside Sakaiminato Station

The whole stretch of road is filled with manga and anime goodies stores. Pavements on both sides of this road are lined with bronze statues of characters from Spooky Kitaro.

The journey begins
Bronze statue of Tofu Kozo a Yokai
Spotted a Kitaro themed Taxi on the way

A cute yokai shrine situated midway sets a perfect eerie ambiance to this place.

Yokai Shrine
With Kitaro
A yokai themed Phone Booth
Mizuki Shigeru Live Character

The Mizuki Shigeru Museum at the end of the street exhibits popular as well as rare artworks produced by the artist. Apart from being a famous manga artist, Mizuki Shigeru was also an adventurer.  His collection of masks and artifacts is showcased inside the museum.

At Mizuki Shigeru Museum Entrance
Mizuki Shigeru Museum Guide
Display of Yokai Posters and Artworks
Mizuki Shigeru’s books on display
Kitaro Goodies

Museum admission fees for foreigners
Adults 300yen
High and Junior High School Students 200yen
Elementary school students 100yen

Museum Hours and Holidays
Open – Everyday : 09:30 – 18:00 (admission until 17:30)
Closed – No holiday

Visit the Mizuki Shigeru Museum official website for more details.

Access : Sakaiminato Station can be reached in 48 minutes from Yonago Station (in Tottori) via JR Sakai Line.

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum

Osamu Tezuka is considered the “Father of Japanese Manga”. His sensational manga series Tetsuwan  Atom (Astro Boy) received worldwide recognition. Osamu Tezuka is an inspiration to many and most of his works are considered masterpieces. He played a big role in shaping the art of manga storytelling.

Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka but later moved to Takarazuka in Hyogo. The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum is situated in Takarazuka, very near to the Takarazuka Revue theater . This museum mostly exhibits artworks, character figurines, manga books and articles that once belonged to the artist.

Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum entry pass and guide
Astro Boy figures on display
The pair of glasses and Hat Osamu Tezuka used to wear
Painting of Osamu Tezuka with characters of Kimba the White Lion
Kimba the white lion
Osamu Tezuka Manga Goodies

There is a gift shop, purikura プリクラ (photo booth) and a cafe on the second floor. Manga hobbyists can visit animation workshop on the ground floor where you can create your own animation character.

Osamu Tezuka Museum Floor Guide

Museum admission fees
Adults 700yen (560yen for group of 10 or more people)
High and Junior High School Students 300yen (240yen for group of 10 or more people)
Elementary school students 100yen (80yen for group of 10 or more people)

Museum Hours and Holidays
Open – Everyday except Wednesday : 09:30 – 17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Closed – Everyday Wednesday (open on national, spring and summer holidays)

Visit the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum official website for more details.

Access : The museum 1 km (approximately 12 minutes walk) from Takarazuka Station.

Niigata Manga Animation Museum

Yes this one was on my list. If you had no idea, then let me tell you that I am a huge fan of the anime series called Inuyasha. I bet you have heard of it if you grew up in the 2000’s. I guess the anime received more global acclamation than the manga. Nevertheless, what makes Inuyasha special are its intriguing story, strong characters and the bond they share with each other. Hats off to Rumiko Takahashi, the woman behind this legendary manga/anime series.

Outside Niigata Manga Animation Museum Building in Bandai
Inuyasha welcomes you to Niigata

Rumiko Takahashi was born in Niigata. She has created quite a few successful manga which were later adapted into anime series. Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2 and Kyokai no Rinne are some of my favorites.

About Rumiko Takahashi
My collection of manga books by Rumiko Takahashi

Niigata Manga Animation Museum introduces works of famous manga artists who were either born in Niigata or somehow associated with the city. There are activity corners where you can play with popular virtual characters or experience how its like to be a voice actor.

Inside Niigata Manga Animation Museum
Exploring the activity corners

Exhibitions are held all year round. When I visited this museum there was an ongoing exhibition of swords and weapons used in Evangelion. Character figurines from this anime were on the display too.

Evangelion the battle cyborg
The Japanese art of sword wielding
Evangelion Exhibition

Museum admission fees
Adults 200yen (200yen for group)
High and Junior High School Students 100yen (80yen for group)
Elementary school students 50yen (40yen for group)

Museum Hours and Holidays
Open – Weekdays 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission is at 6:30 pm)
Saturday, Sunday and National Holidays from 10:00 am
Closed – 1st January and when exhibitions are being changed

Visit the Niigata Manga Animation Museum official website for more details.

Access : The museum is 950 mt (approximately 12 minutes walk) from Niigata Station.

Fujiko.F.Fujio Hometown Art Gallery

Doraemon fans might want to visit Fujiko.F.Fujio Museum in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture. Its easily accessible from both Tokyo and Yokohama. Although I have made short trips to Tokyo and nearby areas many times, I am yet to visit this museum. Hope I can make plans to go there some day.

If you did not know already Fujiko.F.Fujio is not one person, its a pseudonym representing collaboration of two artists – Fujimoto Hiroshi and Abiko Motoo. Both of them were born in Toyama and have published numerous successful manga series.

However, I want to introduce Fujimoto Hiroshi’s hometown Takaoka city in Toyama. This place happens to be a stopover if you are travelling to Gokayama area from Toyama. In Takaoka station itself you can find Doraemon goodies in the souvenir shops.

There is a pretty big Doraemon post box placed in the information center. I also saw a Doraemon themed tram at the station.

Doraemon Post Box
At Takaoka Station

Due to limited time I could not visit the Fujiko.F.Fujio Hometown Art Gallery. It is 1.8 kms from the station and quite near to Takaoka castle park. You can take a direct bus or a train from Takaoka station or simply walk if you have enough time.

Museum admission fees
Adults 500yen (400yen for group of 20 people or more)
High and Junior High School Students 300yen (240yen for group of 20 people or more)
Elementary school students 200yen (160yen for group of 20 people or more)
Admission is free for children of 3 years or below.

Museum Hours and Holidays
Open – Everyday except Monday : 09:30 – 17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Closed – Mondays (Gallery will be open if a national or public holiday falls on Monday. In such cases the gallery will be open on the following working day.)

Visit the Fujiko.F.Fujio Hometown Art Gallery official website for more details.

Access : If you are not fond of the idea of walking for 1.8 km from Takaoka Station, you can take the JR Himi line and get down at Etchu-Nakagawa Station. The gallery is a 5 minutes walk away.

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