Meet the Creators of "Vampire Hunter D" and Visit the Home of Naruto & Bleach on Pop Japan Travel's Cold Steel Tour (Updated)

Update: Pop Japan Travel updated its press release with the following note: "Since Pierrot is a working business, their schedule may alter quickly, so [the visit to Studio Pierrot] is subject to change."

Pop Japan Travel is thrilled to announce the addition of two anime legends to our Cold Steel Tour: a visit to Studio Pierrot, producers of the "Bleach" and "Naruto" anime, and a meeting with Hideyuki Kikuchi, creator of "Vampire Hunter D," and Saiko Takaki, the artist behind the upcoming "D" manga! These two opportunities are exclusive to Pop Japan Travel - you won't find them anywhere else!

Mr. Kikuchi is a giant of Japanese horror, penning the original "Vampire Hunter D" novels and many other stories that went on to become classic anime, such as "Demon City Shinjuku," "Darkside Blues," "Wicked City" and "A Wind Called Amnesia." The 1985 "Vampire Hunter D" film was one of the first Japanese anime to gain a following in the United States and it was for many their introduction to the anime phenomenon. Acclaimed director Yoshiaki Kawajiri ("Ninja Scroll") is an avowed Kikuchi fan, which led to the 2000 feature "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust." The new "Vampire Hunter D" manga adapted by Ms. Takaki will be published in the U.S. by Digital Manga starting Nov. 14.

In Tokyo, the Pop Japan Travel tour group will sit down with Mr. Kikuchi and Ms. Takaki to talk about their work, receive autographs and kick back in a more casual and intimate setting than ever before!

The group is also scheduled to visit Studio Pierrot, one of Tokyo's oldest and most prolific anime studios. Pierrot currently produces the megahits "Bleach" and "Naruto," and gave life to countless unforgettable anime, including "Urusei Yatsura," "Fushigi Yugi," "Yū Yū Hakusho," "Great Teacher Onizuka," and "Twelve Kingdoms." Their newest show is "Blue Dragon" from Akira Toriyama, creator of "Dragon Ball." At Pierrot, the group will meet the makers of their favorite anime, witness the production process firsthand, and might even get a chance to preview brand new footage never before seen! Since Pierrot is a working business, their schedule may alter quickly, so this portion of the itinerary is subject to change.

The Cold Steel Tour brings you four full days in Tokyo, a full-day tour of the samurai capital of Kamakura during the traditional Setsubun festival, and two days in Sapporo, Hokkaido for the opening of the Sapporo Snow Festival, the world's most famous ice and snow sculpture carnival. The group departs Monday, January 28 and returns Wednesday, February 6. Other activities on the itinerary include a trip to the Ghibli Museum, a ride on a water ferry designed by Leiji Matsumoto ("Space Battleship Yamato"), tours of the traditional and modern Tokyo sights from Asakusa and Meiji Shrine to Harajuku, Odaiba and Shibuya, plus otaku shopping and a visit to a cosplay cafe in Akihabara and Nakano.

The tour costs $2,500 plus a $200 fuel surcharge, and it includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Tokyo and to Sapporo, full hotel accommodations at the luxurious Tokyo Hilton and Sapporo Grand Hotel, bilingual guides every step of the way, all transportation and entry fees, and a customized guide book with maps, descriptions, culture notes and a language primer designed for the pop Japan fan. A land only option, which includes everything except the flight to Tokyo, is also available for $2,200 with no surcharge.

Pop Japan Travel is now accepting reservations for the Cold Steel Tour at its Web site, Also available are tickets for two packed theme tours from April 11 to 18, the Fujoshi Paradise Yaoi Tour and the Tokyo Darkside Gothic-Lolita Tour. For complete itineraries and reservations, see!


DIGITAL MANGA'S POP JAPAN TRAVEL is the original and premiere provider of pop culture themed tours of Japan. Since 2003, PJT has operated more than 15 tours with themes focused on Japanese anime, manga, games and more. Pop Japan tours offer a careful balance of the hyper-modern world of J-pop culture and the rich traditions of ancient Japan, and PJT is the ONLY tour agency to provide exclusive experiences such as visits to anime and game studios, meetings with manga artists, and more. Pop Japan Travel tours are organized in cooperation with IACE Travel, one of Japan's largest travel agencies.

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