Announcement on the Establishment of the Anime Tourism Association

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Anime Tourism Association to promote the discovery of tourism resources and the referral of customers to regional destinations from among inbound tourists visiting Japan by selecting and organizing 88 “anime sacred spot” locations that have the potential to stimulate Japan’s development as a tourism-oriented country.

The association will contribute to bringing new economic effects to regions, companies and content holders by targeting foreign tourists not only in Japan and creating a platform of sightseeing routes that connect anime sacred spots through an all-Japan framework of public- and private-sector partnerships.

Background to the establishment of the association

Inbound tourists visiting Japan have increased sharply in recent years topping 20 million in 2015. These numbers are expected to rise in the future, and the government has set new goals of 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.

In order to achieve this, in addition to developing and enhancing the necessary tourist infrastructure in order to welcome inbound tourists into Japan, it will be essential to further develop the quality of tourism from one of “experiences” to one of “impressions,” and from a focus on “having things” to a focus on “doing things,” as well as cultivating new layers of tourists and acquiring repeat visitors.

Japanese anime and manga have currently been receiving much attention worldwide as Cool Japan content, and there are already large numbers of fans of these media abroad. To such fans all over the world, the locations where anime and manga scenes take place are known as anime sacred spots, and the needs of fans seeking to visit these spots when coming to Japan are rapidly growing.

About anime sacred spots

Anime sacred spots include the following types of places:

  • – Regions and places that were the locations of anime or manga or were used as models for their scenes
  • – Hometowns, birthplaces and memorial halls of anime or manga writers and creators
  • – Museums, buildings and facilities related to anime or manga works

Primary objectives of the association

  • – Give official recognition to the anime sacred spots by selecting the 88 locations. In addition, create sightseeing routes that connect the anime sacred spots through an all-Japan framework of public- and private-sector partnerships.
  • – Create new economic effects by connecting the anime sacred spots (regional entities) with companies and content holders to promote services and products that leverage the content of the anime sacred spots,while at the same also developing the regional environments for accepting sightseeing and tourist business.
  • – Promote the referral of new customers by sending information about the anime sacred spots to Cool Japan content fans in Japan and abroad by various means to connect tourists and the anime sacred spots.

Overview of the association

Official nameAnime Tourism Association
Date of establishmentSeptember 16, 2016
LocationGobancho Grand Bldg., 5F 3-1 Goban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

5) Board members

PresidentYoshiyuki Tomino
Vice PresidentKazuko Ishikawa (President, The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA))
Vice PresidentTsuguhiko Kadokawa (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kadokawa Corporation)
DirectorShin-ichi Shimizu (Professor, Taisho University)
DirectorYasuhiro Tsuboi (Managing Officer, JTB Corp.)
DirectorMakoto Natsume (President and CEO, Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA))
DirectorTadashi Fujita (Executive Vice President, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.)
DirectorKeisuke Murayama (Chief Executive Officer, Yamatogokoro Co. Ltd.)
Director and Secretary-GeneralYoshifumi Mori (General Manager,Inbound Business Promotion Department Kadokawa Corporation)
AuditorKeiichi Uezumi(Representative Director, Bizadvisors, Inc.)

Greeting by President Yoshiyuki Tomino

As anime titles are being announced in a variety of genres, we find ourselves becoming interested in what it is that is being portrayed in the images and in knowing about certain words in the lines the characters are speaking. In fantasy titles as well, we are seeing models based on actual places or scenes of existing locations being projected on the screen. What do you feel when you encounter such images? And, have you ever thought: what did the creators have in mind when they decided to use that place as a location, or how did they come up with the lines the characters are saying? When creating entertainment content, the creators will indeed have reasons why they chose certain places for the setting of their title, and they do make an effort to have characters speaking lines that will leave lasting impressions on the viewers.

Although just being entertained by a title might be enough for some, other viewers watching an anime might find themselves being caught and attracted by a certain place or scene, and they might want to try and visit the location of that setting sometime. They may want to actually go there themselves, and see and feel that setting for themselves. And if they could do that, the experience would surely tell them something new.

Even if there is nothing to learn, I think that anime gives you an opportunity to get yourself out there, and to put your hands on something that you may not have known about before.

This is the sort of thing that veteran anime fans have come to feel, and they have begun thinking that that would like to be able to take a tour and see those places that they learned about in anime films. And, we have heard comments from them requesting tips on how to do this easily (though, in fact, it has not been such an easy thing to do).

We thought about how we might be able to help fans with their desires to visit those anime sacred spots, and while this might just be an initial step, we decided to establish the Anime Tourism Association with the support of our colleagues and related parties involved in the anime industry.

While looking forward to everyone’s participation from here on, we at the association will also continue undertaking activities that enable us to make a significant step forward into this new century of anime. 

On behalf of everyone at the association, we would very much appreciate your keeping us in your thoughts and supporting our efforts.

Profile of Yoshiyuki Tomino:

Anime director and writer, born in 1941, in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from the film department of Nihon University College of Art, joined Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Productions and worked on the Japanese anime television series, Astro Boy before becoming freelance. Storyboard artist and producer for numerous Japanese anime titles. Notable titles as director include “Triton of the Sea,” “Mobile Suit Gundam,” “Space Runaway Ideon” and “Overman King Gainer.” Also active as a songwriter, novelist and university professor. Recipient of Honorary Leopard Award at the 2009 Locarno International Film Festival. His latest title is “Gundam Reconguista in G.”

The association will be soliciting membership applications from parties interested in cooperating or collaborating with our initiatives to promote anime tourism. From October, we plan to be providing guidelines for applicants and other related information on the association’s official website (