The Ultimate Bucket List for an Anime Nerd (Over 60 Bucket Ideas!)
Let me guess, you were updating your bullet journal and realized you had absolutely no bucket list for an anime nerd. Because, obviously, that’s one of the most important things in your bullet journal. Well, search no further, you’ve stumbled upon the right post!
It’s no secret that anime is the new fad among teens and young adults. And honestly, can you be surprised? The generation of the ’90s and mid-2000s grew up on Pokemon, Power Rangers, and Yugioh. It’s a part of our DNA at this point.
Along with the fact that anime, for the most point, does not cater to children. A lot of people that transferred to anime also had a love for cartoons at one time, as most children do. It’s a way that we, as adults, can hold a piece of our childhood close, even after growing up.
Additionally, it is no surprise that, along the way, you have become enamored with Japanese lifestyle and culture in general. If that’s the case, these are over 60 items you need to add to your bucket list, like right now, and resources on how to complete them.
This is generally one of the most well-known bucket list items among anime fanatics. And who wouldn’t want to understand their favorite entertainment without the need for subtitles? Plus, it’s a really cool language in general.
Even if you just learn a couple of sentences or gain the ability to have a standard conversation, this is one for the books. Also, if I’m allowed to say so, learning different languages is fun and eye-opening, no matter the country it originates from.
If you reallyyyyy want to learn Japanese, here are the top resources to do so. Good luck with studying!
Create your own Manga
This is another well-known item among the common bucket list for an anime geek. And even if you lack basic art skills, you still have the time and chance to learn right now. Plus, think about how your friend’s reactions when you show them. That has to be worth the struggle by itself.
Every famous manga artist started off with one page. So, even if it’s just for the fun of it, give it a try!
Visit famous locations in Japan
This is, admittedly, something you have to work up towards. It will take money management, time, and a plan. However, it’s also an amazing experience, one that you won’t forget for a lifetime. As such, you need to know of some places to visit before you go!
Tokyo Anime Center
Located in Akihabara, the Tokyo Anime Center is a sight to see, whether you’re an anime geek or not. Though it’s a relatively small shop, you gain a huge experience. Customers have often described the store as “emotionally liberating” due to your ability to feel like a kid again. Many customers feel this way because of the anime merchandise they sell, as it leaves many feeling nostalgic.
Akihabara did not gain the nickname “The Electric City” in vain. It attracts thousands of people to its bustling stores daily, in fact, it’s generally the go-to place for electronic and otaku products. Add in the fact that they have manga cafes, what’s not to love?
Studio Ghibli Museum
You officially cannot call yourself an anime fan if you’ve never seen a Miyazaki film. His films are so treasured among society in Japan, that there is a Museum dedicated to his work. With that being said, if you’ve never seen one, go watch one. If you already love Studio Ghibli, then you are hereby obligated to add this to your bucket list for an anime fan. Visit the museum, you won’t regret it.
Kyoto International Manga Museum
Opened in 2006, the Kyoto International Manga Museum is three entire floors consisting of manga. Needless to say, it is one of the largest manga collections in the world. Additionally, they occasionally host events involving foreign artists!
Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo
I grew up with pokemon, I buy every game that comes out, why wouldn’t I want to visit the largest Pokemon Center in the world? It is also a perfect place to purchase limited-edition merchandise and see life-size pokemon statues!
Gundam Base Tokyo
If you grew up with Gundam, then this is the perfect destination for you! With two full-sized mechas and it’s very own Gundam Cafe, there’s no way you shouldn’t add this to your bucket list!
Though not quite as tall as Japan’s Skytree, it’s just as iconic. Standing 333 meters above Tokyo, it attracts tourists from across the world, despite it being surpassed in height in 2012. Nonetheless, it offers an incredible view that you’d have trouble finding elsewhere!
Bonus: Don’t forget to visit the one piece tower in Japan if you’re a fan of one piece!
Stay at Hotels
This is more general, as there are obviously tons of hotels to visit in Japan. However, for now, we’re going to look at the stranger ones. The majority of these are only located in Japan, and are also offered at insanely competitive prices.
You truly wouldn’t see this anywhere but Japan. And really, it is an insanely genius way to offer hotel rooms for a fraction of the cost, while taking up less space. These Capsule Hotels generally consist of one capsule with varying amounts of amenities, depending on the hotel, and vary in the price range. If you really want to feel like you woke up in the future, stay a night at a capsule hotel.
Book and Bed
The Book and Bed in Tokyo is not technically a hotel, it’s more of a haven for book (ahem, manga) lovers who have trouble keeping their eyes open. Therefore, they have no amenities. Despite that, it’s worth a try in my bucket list! I don’t know many book lovers that wouldn’t love to wake up surrounded by books.
The train hotel in Japan is described as “A Luxury Hotel on Wheels”. In a country that uses trains as their primary source of transportation, it’s no wonder that these are popular. Unfortunately, at a starting rate of $3000 for two to four nights, it’s unlikely that attainability won’t be a problem. Alas, a girl can dream.
Rather than discuss one love hotel in Japan, it’s best to generalize and explain what they are, and why you should add it to your bucket list for an anime nerd. Love hotels are generally bright, colorful, and unique in design. As such, it’s not surprising to have seen them featured in various anime and manga. Though these are regarded as ‘No Tell’ hotels with a pension for the romantic, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it with a friend. If anything, the experience of the sometimes wild interior design can make up for any awkwardness.
Bathe in an Onsen (Def check these off on your Bucket List for an anime geek)
If you don’t know what an onsen is, it’s basically a natural hot spring where people go to relax. Oftentimes, they’re placed in beautiful scenery, and it would be a shame to visit Japan without taking a dip in an Onsen.
However, be wise to visit with caution, as some of these are wild, unregulated onsen. Thus, it is vital to bring the correct gear and to use your common sense if you think you’re being boiled alive (there is no temperature regulation in wild onsen)!
As an avid Studio Ghibli fan, this is my first choice when asked which hot spring I’d like to visit (though I’m admittedly never asked that). Rumor has it that Miyazaki took inspiration for Spirited Away from this hot spring, which also consists of a shopping arcade, a second bathhouse, and numerous shrines.
Unfortunately, the actual hot spring is closed for renovations until 2026. So there goes that, I’ll be at least 26 before I get to cross this off my bucket list.
This onsen differs from the others in this list in one way: sand. Instead of bathing in a hot spring, you are covered in a natural sand bath known as “Sunamushi”. It is said to aid muscle aches and pains and works similar to a salon treatment.
It is not surprising that this is one of the most popular hot springs in the world, as it’s quite literally the only place where you can watch wild monkeys also enjoy a hot spring. I didn’t even know they had wild monkeys in Japan, so this is news to me as well.
Also known as ‘Hitou above the clouds’, this hot spring lies 6,560 feet above sea level. It is not an exaggeration to say that you can look down at the clouds while bathing. You can also stay for the night at the local hotel, which also offers telescopes for nightly stargazing sessions. And trust me, due to the high elevation, you’ll see A LOT of stars.
This is a wild onsen, so, as stated before, practice caution. Due to the wild nature of it, this onsen does not see many tourists. It is one of the rare hot springs that also features a waterfall, which makes it unique unto itself. As such, it has been fondly nicknamed ‘Wild Waterfall Onsen’.
Fun Fact: It is also located in one of the three greatest spiritual areas in Japan, so take a moment and enjoy things besides the hot spring!
Situated in Nyuto Onsen village, it is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. So much so, there are records of it existing during the Edo period. Furthermore, nothing can beat the feeling of soaking in an onsen while watching the snow fall.
Go to a Shrine
Can you really visit Japan, without visiting even one shrine or temple? If you do, don’t be surprised if you come home feeling dissatisfied. Shrines are not only intricate pieces of artwork, but they’re also living remnants of Japan’s history. Even if you don’t like anime, you can’t truly become immersed in Japan’s culture without visiting one.
The Meiji Shrine sits parallel to Yoyogi park and is famous for being dedicated to the worshipped ghosts of Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan, and Empress Shoken, his consort. It also has easy access to Harajuku Station and is an amazing place to take scenic photography!
Sensoji Temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan (founded in 628) and is practically its own city due to the constant metropolis that surrounds it. And who can be surprised? Not only is the five-story pagoda incredible to look at, but it also has a shopping street that totals over 200 meters!
Nezu Shrine is another must-visit. However, if you’d like to see it at its peak, make sure you do so in April. The 2,000-year-old Nezu Shrine is home to its own Azalea garden, which blooms into a sea of colors during the spring months.
Cosplay at an Anime Convention
Are you even an anime fan if you’ve never been to a convention? If you haven’t, then get ready to cross it off, because these conventions are only fit for the bucket list of an anime FANATIC.
Tip: If none of these conventions are close to you or you’re on a tight budget, check out these.
A convention started in Seattle in 1998, its creation was sparked by the complaint that nearby Sci-Fi conventions didn’t offer adequate anime content. Currently, it is a massively popular convention that attracts over 25,000 people yearly.
I have not met one anime fan yet who doesn’t want to attend Anime Expo. This convention takes place in Los Angeles over a course of four days, where it sees nearly 100,000 attendees every year. It’s safe to say that you’ll want to be early for this one!
Every manga lovers dream is to attend Comiket, the biannual doujin fair that invites over 500,000 people yearly to its premises. It takes place in the heart of Japan, Tokyo, and also charges no fee to attend! However, make sure you get there hours early, as attendees have been known to camp outside the convention center days before it starts. Yes, the lines are that long!
As an avid manga reader, I’m sure you know of the anthology that is Shonen Jump? It’s no surprise, due to its massive popularity, that it has its own convention.
Jump Festa began in 1999 and grew a large attendance rate (over 140,000 people yearly) almost immediately. Not only is this event a convention, but it’s also used to show off new Square Enix, Capcom, and Bandai Namco gameplay footage.
Eat at unique cafes, perfect for your bucket list for an anime fanatic
It is often said to be a nerd’s most farfetched dream: to visit a maid cafe. Luckily, these aren’t the only unique cafes you can visit in Japan. In fact, there are entire blog posts dedicated to the weirdness that is Japanese cafes.
If you dreamed of being a Ninja as a kid, then this is the perfect place to check an item off your bucket list for an anime nerd. Upon entering the cafe, you are greeted by a Ninja who engages you in light combat. After the hard-won battle, you must go through a hidden passageway to your booth, before being served your menu on an ancient scroll.
Temari no Ouchi
This is not your regular cat cafe. If you’ve ever had a desire to eat, surrounded by fluffy cats, then this is your gig. Add in the fact that the cafe is a Studio Ghibli themed wonderland, then you have yourself the classic anime nerd trap.
This is perfect for harry potter lovers and anime lovers alike: a cafe where you can eat while spending company with owls. Combined with calming music and a limit on cafe capacity, you couldn’t find a better place to relax.
Ra.a.g.f (Harajuku Bunny Cafe)
This is the last animal themed cafe, I promise! The title says it all, by visiting this cafe, you get the option to hang out with over 20 species of cute bunnies! And, if you fear you may become too attached to a particular rabbit, you have the option to adopt! Can you tell how happy that makes me?
Kawaii Monster Cafe
This is one for the books. If you’re one that has no qualms with colorful lighting and monster girls, then this is something you should check off the bucket list. This cafe even has themed rooms, one of which features a cake merry-go-round in the heart of the room!
Totoro Cafe and Bakery
Hidden in a backstreet in Setagaya-Daita, this Studio Ghibli-esque cafe also serves as a bakery. Their featured treat, you ask? Totoro cream puffs.
Have you ever thought of catching and eating your dinner at the same place? Not many people have, I’m sure, but the owners of this restaurant did. The tables in this cafe are seated directly next to a huge container, featuring different species of fish.
If you haven’t guessed already, you play the game by catching your fish and then allowing your chef to prepare it in the way that you prefer. Though it may not suit everyone’s tastes, it is definitely unique and has totally earned a place upon my bucket list.
Milky Way Cafe
Positioned in Ikebukuro, this cafe is star themed. If that doesn’t sound cute enough, don’t hesitate to check out their ice cream! Hint: They’re custom made to suit the name of your astrological sign! Go Libras!
I’m not sure how the owner came up with this one. The Lockup is a cafe where you can, quite literally, dine in jail. Once you’ve entered the restaurant, you are placed in handcuffs and lead to your cell. Afterward, you’re served drinks in beakers and food that has been created to look similar to humans.
@Home Maid Cafe
This certainly isn’t the only maid cafe in Japan, but it is among the best. In this maid cafe, you are automatically greeted by your own made. The theme of the cafe is ‘moe’, as our the products, and you have a variety of options to interact with your maid.
These include: playing a card game, taking an instant photo with the maid, and taking a small photo sticker with the maid. It’s truly a unique experience.
The Pokemon Cafe
Though this cafe is relatively new, it is all the rage, what with the popularity of Pokemon and such. All of their products are pokemon themed, which makes it both adorable and a must-see for gamers and nerds alike!
Look below to see what Akidearest, a popular Youtuber, had to say about the Pokemon Cafe!
Attending a Japanese Festival should be on everyone’s Bucket List for an Anime Geek
Remember the soft lights, warm colors, and mouthwatering food that are festivals in anime? Get ready, because the actual festivals are ten times more impressive (probably, unless you watched a certain anime. If so, good luck finding something that can beat that).
One of the most beautiful and well-known festivals on earth, the cherry blossom festival. The society of Japan celebrates this festival annually by breaking out their picnic baskets and viewing the colorful, pink, blossoms of their native cherry tree. What’s more anime-esque than that?
Sapporo snow festival
If you love ice sculptures, then this will be the perfect addition to your bucket list for an anime lover. Yearly, the city of Sapporo celebrates a tradition started by native students in the 1950’s: building ice and snow sculptures.
Chichibu Night festival
Another yearly festival, this event is held annually from December 2nd-3rd in the city of Chichibu. The main event consists of intricate lanterns, floats, and an impressive fireworks display.
Easily one of Japan’s best festivals, the city of Osaka celebrates its native deity, the deity of Scholarship. In a creative display of fireworks (and a river procession) the city invites the deity out to entertain him, before returning him back later that night.
Another name for the Japanese New Year, you’ll have to eventually visit this festival if you want to call yourself ‘invested in anime’. However, plan to spend more than a single day celebrating, as this festival starts days beforehand and lasts days after New Years.
Play at a Japanese arcade
Do you have a seven-story arcade in your home country? Or an arcade that is also a theme park? Chances are, you don’t. Take advantage of this the second you step into the land of the rising sun.
Anata No Warehouse
This arcade in Kawasaki, Japan is the opposite of clean. Modeled to look after the Kowloon Walled City, everything about it screams ancient and grimy. Nonetheless, it is a unique tourist destination (I actually think it looks fun) that you’ll be sad to miss out on.
Located in the Electric City (Akihabara), this arcade spans seven stories, with the only consoles on the fifth floor containing Sega games. Quite obviously, it is a must-see for nerds and gamers alike.
Explore animal themed islands
Have you ever heard of a country that literally has islands of animals just lazing around, waiting for human attention? Oh, you haven’t?
Well, I have good news for you. Japan has EXACTLY that.
Rabbit Island is a small island in Okunoshima, Hiroshima, and it’s inhabited with freely-roaming what? You guessed it, bunnies. Home to over 700 adorable rabbits, this is the perfect place to visit if you’d like to wind down, and just enjoy your day.
Additionally, these bunnies welcome human contact. In fact, you shouldn’t have any issue finding them, as they like to greet you the minute you step foot on the island. However, be mindful of the rabbits, as holding or running after them will stress them out.
Though there are more than one cat islands in Japan, the most memorable one is Tashiro Island, which is sat next to Miyagi. This island literally boasts more cats than humans. Furthermore, it calls itself home to a shrine dedicated to the furry felines.
As if Japan couldn’t be more of a wonder stop, it is also home to its very own Fox Village. Found close to the hills near Shiroishi, this village is home to over 100 foxes of all ages. Good luck ever leaving this village, its inhabitants are too adorable.
Miscellaneous bucket list for an Anime Nerd
This is the bucket list for things that didn’t have their own category to fit into. Nonetheless, it would be criminal to leave them out.
Do karaoke with friends
Optimally, you’ll want to do this with at least one friend. Make sure to take lots of pictures and video recordings, that way the embarrassing memories will be with you forever. On the other hand, there is no shame in singing karaoke by your lonesome. If anything, you might make a friend or two!
Send your stuffed animal on a tour of Japan
This is definitely a more strange, but oddly heartwarming item. If you don’t have the money to do so yourself, you can send your favorite stuffed animal on a tour of Tokyo for $53! The company is called Unagi Travel. In general, the caretakers will take various photos of your plushy experiencing all Japan has to offer.
This includes visiting shrines, onsen, and trying authentic Japanese cuisine. Only half of the company’s customers are from overseas, so even natives love this one.
Have an All-Nighter on New Years Day
This is personally something that I’ve been wanting to do for the last five years. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to it just yet.
The reason behind it is due to a popular Japanese tradition. Many people stay up on that first sunrise of the new year because it is said to bring you good luck. Also, it’s undeniably romantic if you’re partaking in this tradition with a loved one.
Hike Mount Fuji
Though more strenuous than other items on this list, you definitely should not skip out on hiking Japans most prominent mountain. The hike is not only popular for natives, but also foreigners, who take up more than a third of the hikers. Make sure that you read up on fees and altitude sickness before attempting this climb!
Eat traditional Ramen
Though you don’t need to be in Japan to do this, it will feel more authentic if you are. Nonetheless, until you do have the money to visit Japan, your local ramen shop will do just fine. And can you honestly make a bucket list for an anime fan without adding ramen?
Spend money at a Mandarake Shop
This one is a Japan-only item, as the Mandarake Shop exists only in Japan. It is currently one of the largest anime and manga-stores in the world. If that sentence didn’t convince you, then there’s absolutely nothing that will.
Shop at a 100 yen store
Similar to the U.S. Thrift Store or Dollar Tree, a 100 Yen Store offers all its products for a measly 100 yen. If you didn’t know, that’s the U.S. equivalent of 93 cents. You can’t beat that, plus there are often some pretty unique items to be found in these shops!
Ride the bullet train
Have you ridden a train that reaches a maximum speed of over 200 mph? Have you ever rode a train? No matter your answer, it is integral that you do so sometime. After all, can you really live out your anime dreams without ever having ridden a bullet train?
Sleep under a Kotatsu
If you’ve never heard of these, then you’re in for a major surprise. Think of laying in a bed covered in recently laundered clothes, times ten thousand. This is what a Kotatsu is. A table with a blanket and heater installed. If you thought leaving your bed was difficult, think again.
Make your own Bento Box
This is a benchmark among my friends: to make our own bento box. And after all the mouth-watering bento’s you’ve seen in anime, can you blame us? If you can’t cook well, no worries, there are tons of resources that can teach you the ways of the bento.
Though this doesn’t even begin to cover all the things that cover my bucket list, it’s a solid start. Hopefully, this has given you some extra ideas as well, and if not, I’m sure it stirred up some creativity!