It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a travel article, mostly because I’ve overcommitted myself with pop culture/anime stuff, but today I actually get to combine them both with Tokyo One Piece Tower.
The popularity of One Piece in Japan is something of a cultural phenomenon. It is the best-selling manga of all-time and beloved by a wide range of people of all ages. It has broken sales records, spawned tonnes of merchandise, movies, video games and is showing no signs of slowing down. One Piece’s surprising methods of storytelling and its unconventional characters strike a chord with a surprisingly diverse group of people, even those who aren’t usually in the slightest bit interested in anime or manga.
Tokyo One Piece Tower is an indoor theme park and exhibition located in (of course) Tokyo Tower, celebrating all things One Piece. My wife and I are both fans of the show, but to be honest, I didn’t have high expectations before I went. I’ve been disappointed by some indoor mini theme parks before so I was half expecting to walk in, be slightly disappointed and be done with the whole thing in about twenty minutes. Instead, what I found was a great experience that I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is even a passing One Piece fan. The park seems small on first appearance but somehow we ended up spending about four to five hours there without even a hint of boredom.
On entering the park, you walk through a darkened cave like area, the walls decorated with large pages showing key scenes for each of One Piece’s main crew members. The panels light up and play sounds as you stand in front of each of them. Once through here you walk into a large area where life sized statues of all the cast are arranged around a table, celebrating. I probably took way more photos than I should have in this section because it’s all so well done, almost like the characters have stepped off the page.
Upstairs is where the main theme park is with a variety of One Piece themed attractions set up. We were lucky enough to go on a pretty quiet day so we didn’t have to wait in line for most of them. There are multiple attractions in the park based around various characters in One Piece. The first one we tried was Usopp’s Sniper Challenge, an attraction where you fire rubber bullets out of a slingshot at cut out targets. It’s surprisingly low tech but really fun as each time you knock over a group of targets, you unlock a new set of more of them. I didn’t do so well as I was distracted by the guy next to me who seemed to be some sort of slingshot expert and cleared the game faster than I would have thought possible.
Other attractions include Nico Robin’s Scavenger Hunt, Chopper’s Thousand Sunny Tour, Brook’s Horror House and Zoro’s Sword Training among others. The Horror House and the Tour of the Thousand Sunny were probably the highlights of these . My personal favourite attraction was Luffy’s Adventure which is a funhouse of sorts taking you through various events in One Piece’s history. As you walk through, you find yourself confronted with halls of mirrors, projections and optical illusions that show you Luffy’s Adventures first hand. The final part of the attraction is a short 4D animated feature complete with smoke, water and wind effects.
The Park also boasts a One Piece live show that was unfortunately on hiatus on the day we were there so I can’t really comment on it, though it looked entertaining in the promos. Separate from the park itself but in continuing the One Piece theme is Sanji’s Restaurant, a buffet style diner serving One Piece themed food. Though the decor is spot on, the food on the day we went was a little hit or miss so I can’t really give it the stamp of approval. On the other hand, I can definitely recommend the park itself. It offers hours of entertainment for a One Piece fan despite it’s deceptively small size.