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Where to See Real Gundam in Japan

Read on to learn about how you can step into the world of Gundam in Japan.

By 5 min read

For over three decades, the Japanese government has been promoting Japanese culture overseas to strengthen cultural, economic and diplomatic ties with the global community. Alongside powerhouses like Super Mario, Hello Kitty and, more recently, Demon Slayer, the Gundam franchise, with its futuristic setting, giant mechs and action-packed storylines, continues to build its fanbase worldwide.

Whether you’ve been a fan since 1979 or are new to the franchise, read on to learn how to experience Gundam in Japan.

History of Gundam

In April 1979, Tomino Yoshiyuki debuted Mobile Suit Gundam, a TV series that would launch the “real robot” genre of mecha anime. In contrast to contemporary hit “super robot” series like Mazinger Z, which combined robot aesthetics with fantastical plots, Gundam prioritized science fiction elements, such as detailed explanations behind the Gundam universe’s technology and storytelling driven by politics, war and morality.

For over four decades, the Gundam franchise has entertained audiences across all platforms, including over 50 anime series and over 200 video games. Gundam is also a big name in the hobby industry, with Bandai Namco selling over 700 million Gundam model kits as of 2021. Check out the statues, merchandise and experiences below for how to get up close and personal with the franchise in Japan itself!

Life-sized Gundam

Easily the most eye-catching of Japan’s Gundam attractions are the three life-sized statues depicting some of the franchise’s most memorable mobile suits.

RX-0 Unicorn

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A day in Odaiba wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this Gundam.

Series appearance: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

Height: 19.7 m

Highlights: While this Gundam typically stands white in its Unicorn Mode, it emits pink light as it transforms into Destroy Mode. At night, DiverCity acts as a cinematic backdrop for five different video displays, complete with classic music and characters from the series.

Show times:

  • Destroy Mode transformation: 11 a.m./1 p.m./3 p.m./5 p.m.
  • Multimedia light shows every 30 minutes starting from 7 p.m.
1−1−10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo - Map

RX-78F00

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Catch this model while you can.

Series appearance: Based on the original Gundam featured in Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)

Height: 18m

Highlights: The RX-78F00 is unique in that it moves from standing, walking, crouching and other positions. This moving Gundam is a temporary attraction that will remain in place until March 31, 2024. It is also possible to purchase tickets to climb up the scaffolding surrounding the Gundam and get up close views of the hulking giant.

Show times: This Gundam has several transformations from Standby Mode to Awakening Mode. Check out this schedule for more information.

279-25 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa - Map

FX-93ff v

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The largest Gundam in Japan.

Series appearance: Based on the RX-93v, which appeared in the film Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack

Height: 24.8m

Highlights: The RX-93 is the largest life-sized Gundam statue in Japan. In addition to lighting up and moving its head and arm during the performance, the Gundam is accompanied by multimedia shows that highlight the eternal struggle between the series’ first protagonist, Amuro Ray, and his rival, Char Aznable.

Show times:

  • Every hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Night shows include multimedia displays that run every 30 minutes starting at 7 p.m.
6-23-1 Naka, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka - Map

Merchandise

Take a piece of the Gundam franchise home with you by visiting one of the cafes or bringing home a plastic model kit.

Models

Although the original Gundam anime is often heralded as an innovator in popular culture in Japan and beyond, it was not a hit in its original airing. Instead, the franchise’s eventual success was built upon the toy manufacturer Bandai’s acquisition of the rights to produce plastic model kits based on the mobile suits featured in the series. Since 1980, released under the name Gunpla, which combines the words Gundam and plastic, millions have been sold at various price points and difficulty levels.

These kits are widely available at specialty shops and general hobby goods stores. Large chains, such as Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera, carry plenty of kits to keep you busy, while second-hand ones can be found at Book Off and Mandarake. For a special takeaway, the life-sized Gundam featured above each has its own official Gunpla stores on site where limited edition model kits can be purchased.

Cafes

While official Gundam Cafes once dotted the Japanese consumer landscape, they have all disappeared as a result of the pandemic except for one. If you make a trip out to Yokohama Gundam Factory, stop by the Gundam Cafe and treat yourself to some Gundam-themed food and drink. The pancake in the shape of the loveable robot Haro from the original series or kid’s curry topped with a Gundam-shaped piece of nori (seaweed) will delight and satisfy hungry fans.

Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Weekends: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
279-25 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa  - Map

Experiences

Get a deeper look into all things Gundam by visiting museums or factories around Japan.

Bandai Museum

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Take a day trip from Tokyo and visit the Bandai Museum!

Located in Tochigi prefecture, the Bandai Museum’s Hobby exhibition is a must-see for franchise fans, whether you’re into models or not. The large bust of the RX-78-2 model from the original series is close to making the list of life-sized Gundam statues. Sitting at about 5.6m tall, other highlights at the museum include large dioramas complete with plenty of Gunpla and other models recreating iconic scenes from the series’ history.

Admission: ¥1,000 for high school students and adults, ¥800 for seniors, ¥600 junior high school students and younger
Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed on Wed and New Year’s Day
3-6-20 Omochanomachi, Mibu, Shimotsuga District, Tochigi  - Map

Gundam Bases and Factory

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Enter the Gundam Factory to learn more about the franchise.

Each life-sized Gundam has its site filled with Gunpla exhibits, shops for merchandise and displays for visitors to learn more about the series.

Gundam Base Tokyo 

Highlight: Visit the Factory Zone to see how Gunpla are created.

Weekdays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Weekends: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
1−1−10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo - Map
Yokohama Gundam Factory 

Highlight: Stop by The Academy to learn about the design and construction of the moving Gundam. This hands-on experience allows you to touch several exhibits and even program the movements of a virtual Gundam.

Weekdays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Weekends: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
279-25 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa - Map
Gundam Base Fukuoka 

Highlight: Check out the Space Monitor area with 6x10m screens showing Gundam mobile suits screaming through space.

Open every day, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
1-2 Sumiyoshi, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka - Map
Are you a Gundam fan? Tell us about your favorite memories in the comments below!

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