JAPAN TRAVEL: Takaoka City is The Perfect Place for Doraemon Fans!
Most people will look at Takaoka and pass it off as a city with a train stop, open areas, a few buildings, and the like; but fans of Doraemon will absolutely gawk at this town as it is the home of one-half of the creators of their doriyaki-loving futuristic cat-without-ears: Fujiko F. Fujio.
A three-and-a-half-hour express train ride from Osaka (or about 16 minutes from Kanazawa via the Hokuriku Shinkansen and the JR Johana line, using the Hokuriku Arch Pass), Takaoka City is a trip that most Doraemon fans would dream of taking, apart from a trip to the Fujiko F. Fujio museum, of course.
As the birthplace of Hiroshi Fujimoto, who would later use the pen name Fujiko F. Fujio (not to be confused with his partner, Motoo Abiko or Fujiko A. Fujio), Takaoka celebrates his creation with a Doraemon tribute in almost every part of town.
Fujiko F. Fujio’s creation is honored with its own tram (operating until August 2021), a section in the Takaoka Art Museum (2nd floor, open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 5 pm), a walkway (WingWing Takaoka Hiroba Park), and several adornments at the Takaoka Otogi-no-mori Park (a vacant area with statues of Doraemon characters and a sundial) to name a few.
The best places in Takaoka can be explored on foot, but why would you waste your time walking when you can go around in style? Take the Doraemon Tram from Takaoka station (¥150-¥350 per person), which connects Takaoka and Imizu City. It was launched on September 3, 2012, to being a 100-year countdown to the birth of Doraemon. As of writing this article, the Manyo Line Company will continue its operations until August 2021 (though it has been extended several times since its birth in 2012).
It’s an unmistakable tram that Doraemon fans will wish they had access to 24/7. Schedules are updated online at www.manyosen.co.jp so make sure you check (and brush up on your Japanese) before trying to hop on the Doraemon tram.
Written by Andronico Del Rosario
Supported by GCP
This first appeared in Philippine Primer Magazine Vol. 33 – December issue.