If you're familiar with Japanese magazines, mangas, light novels, and movies, you've probably heard the name KADOKAWA at least once. In recent years, the KADOKAWA Group, which has reigned as the top company in the Japanese video and publishing industry, is making every effort to promote Japanese culture.
“TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN” in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture is one of the representative attempts. Opened in November 2020 with a museum, hands-on anime hotel, shops, and a shrine that also serves as an information center for the Fudasho Stop#1 in the Anime Pilgrimage Sites, "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" is also called Japan's largest pop culture transmission base.
Now, let's experience the unique charm of "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" and its surroundings along with us!
Kadokawa Culture Museum: an Incomprehensible New Landmark
The "Kadokawa Culture Museum", designed by Kengo Kuma, one of the world's leading contemporary Japanese architects, is a landmark of "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN". In addition to its outstanding appearance, each floor also has its own unique and mysterious feature.
There are five floors in the "Kadokawa Culture Museum". You can find the "Manga and Light Novel Library" and "Grand Gallery" on the 1st floor; a lobby, cafe, and shop on the 2nd floor; the "EJ Anime Museum" on the 3rd floor; and the sensational "Bookshelf Theater" on the 4th and 5th floors.
Projection-mapping shows are shown regularly at the "Bookshelf Theater", which is about 8 meters high and stocks about 30,000 books. Once you enter the theater, you'll feel like you've stepped into a scene from a movie.
Beside the "Bookshelf Theater", "Edit Town - Book Street" is also a must-see area for book enthusiasts.
Compared to general bookstores and libraries, the shelving here may seem extraordinary at first glance. In fact, under the supervision of Seigow Matsuoka, the museum's director, the books are divided into nine original categories.
At "Book Street", picking your favorite book and reading it wherever you like is an ultimate luxury.
- Spot name: Kadokawa Culture Museum
- Closed: 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesdays of the month
(if Tuesday is a national holiday, then closed on the following weekday)
- Admission fee (KCM Standard tickets):
Adults 1,400 yen (1,200 yen),
Junior high school / high school students 1,200 yen (1,000 yen),
Elementary school students 1,000 yen (800 yen)
* Web purchase prices are stated in parentheses. Please check the official website for other special exhibitions and 1-DAY Passport deals.
- Official website: https://kadcul.com/en
EJ Anime Hotel: A Must-visit for Anime Fans
"TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" also has an experience-based concept hotel called "EJ Anime Hotel" (EJ is an abbreviation for "Entertainment Japan").
The hotel's philosophy is "to spend a night in your favorite storyworld". In guest rooms created with the theme of various popular anime and comics, you can enjoy an extraordinary accommodation experience with your favorite works!
- Spot name: EJ Anime Hotel
- Number of rooms: 33
- Check-in/Check-out: 16:00/10:00
Canteen KADOKAWA: Savour delicacies even if you are not a KADOKAWA staff!
KADOKAWA's staff canteen, Canteen KADOKAWA, is open not only to KADOKAWA staff, but also to the general public.
The canteen offers set meals and carefully selected cafe menus using local fresh seasonal ingredients. The signature dish here is curry, which is made with a unique blend of over a dozen different spices.
- Restaurant name: Canteen KADOKAWA
- Seats: 170 seats
Lunch 11:00-16:30 (L.O. 16:00),
Dinner 16:15-20:00 (L.O. 19:00)
[Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays]
11:00- 20:00 (L.O. 19:00)
Musashino Reiwa Shrine: A Cutting-edge and Modern Shrine
“Musashino Reiwa Shrine” is a beautiful shrine whose design is supervised by Kengo Kuma, the world-famous Japanese architect.
The highlight is the painting on the ceiling of the shrine worship hall drawn by Yoshitaka Amano, who was in charge of character design for the "FINAL FANTASY" series, on the theme of KADOKAWA's symbol - the Hōō (鳳凰, phoenix).
In addition, "Musashino Reiwa Shrine" also serves as the "Fudasho Stop#1" (1st Animation spot) Information Center of the Anime Tourism Association's "Japanese Anime 88-Spots".
For this reason, a "certified goshuin" (memmorative stamp) presented by the association is installed in the shrine office. If you are a fan of Japanese anime and happen to be visiting the shrine, be sure to look for the red stamp and get one!
Shrines always come with omamori charms and goshuin, and "Musashino Reiwa Shrine" is no exception.
Among them, the most recommended ones are the "Geido Jotatsu Mamori" (芸道上達守 - art progression charm), in which creators and creative workers wish for the improvement of their own skills. The "Shimekiri Mamori" (締切守 - deadline charm, can also mean 'to meet the deadline'), which are drawn with a pattern of "〆" (Japanese symbol for deadline) are also gaining popularity.
- Spot name: Musashino Reiwa Shrine
- Opening hours of the conferment office:
April-September 10:00-17:00 (until 18:00 on holidays)
October-March 10:00-16:30 (until 17:00 on holidays)
- Closing days of the conferment office: 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesdays of the month
Bonus: teamLab's New Permanent Exhibition at Musashino Woods Park
Not only "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" but also the adjacent park "Musashino Woods Park" is coming into the spotlight - at which the art collective "teamLab" has their latest permanent exhibition "teamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest" that makes full use of the technology of light and shadow.
This exhibition offers an art space that integrates the natural environment of Musashino with the light that changes with the seasons.
When an ovoid falls down from being pushed by a person or blown by the wind, it stands back up on its own like a roly-poly and emits a sound. After the sun goes down, the illuminated objects will look completely different from they do during daytime, creating a mystical atmosphere.
- Spot name: teamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest
- Address: 3-9, Higashi-Tokorozawa Wada, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan (inside Musashino Woods Park)
- Business hours: 16:00-20:00
- Closed: Irregular (please refer to the official website)
- Admission fee:
Adult 1,000 yen (1,200 yen),
Junior high school and high school student 700 yen (800 yen),
Elementary school student 500 yen (600 yen)
*Prices in parentheses are for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
- Official website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/acornforest/
"TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" is also home to the "Da Vinci Store" bookstore, a karaoke bar, and "Ramen Walker Kitchen" where famous ramen shops open for a limited time.
Plus, there are numerous highlights on the way to "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" from the station, such as Higashi-Tokorozawa Station, which was renewed when the town opened, and Japan's first light-emitting "LED manhole cover" on the street in front of the station. With all of these, "TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN" is a spot full of art, entertainment, gourmet food, etc., that you won't get bored of even if you stay for a whole day!
- Spot name: TOKOROZAWA SAKURA TOWN
- Address: 3-31-3, Higashi-Tokorozawa Wada, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
- Access: About 10 minutes on foot from Higashi-Tokorozawa station on the JR Musashino Line
- Official website: https://tokorozawa-sakuratown.com/en/