5 Japanese-inspired Animal Crossing islands. (and 3 bonus ones!)

jeju crossings anime town
Photo by Yasmin @jeju.crossings

5 of the best Japanese-inspired animal crossing islands we could find.

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Animal Crossing has always been the game I turn to if I need to relax or wind down after a tough day.

Earlier games in the series focused primarily on interior decoration with a small amount of exterior modification allowed in a few of them.

With New Horizons, that all changed.

Today, we are going to look at 5 of the best acnh islands inspired by Japan (And three bonus islands at the end).

Animal Crossing: New Horizons island inspiration is a very popular topic. With everyone happy to help each other out, the acnh community is one of the most wholesome, talented, and friendly communities you’re likely to come across online.

So, if you’re looking for Japanese acnh island ideas or simply just interested in seeing the best designers on Animal Crossing New Horizons then you’re in the right place.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Update 2.0 (November 2021 Update)

When I wrote this article many months ago, I was convinced that this was the pinnacle of Japanese home (and island) creations.

Whilst I still believe that to be true for each and every one of these creators, the newest update has pretty much changed everything, again.

Before we get into the list of some of the most talented animal crossing creators, let’s take a look at what this new game update means for your imaginative Japanese creations!

Kapp’n Boat Tours

Before the update, we only had access to a small number of mystery islands through Dodo Airlines. Whilst these were a fun and interesting part of your daily activities on your island, the ‘Mystery’ islands all seemed a little bit too similar to completely grab my attention.

That’s all changed now that we have Kapp’n and his boat.

Remember that pier in the bottom left or right of your island that just seemed like wasted space for almost a year? Well, take a walk over there now and you’ll meet a little green turtle who’s more than happy to take you to some secret islands, unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Search any island you arrive at for unique recipes, limited edition items, and many other not yet discovered secrets.

Some people suggest we may be looking at a new fruit, but it’s currently too soon to tell if that’s correct. (But you should probably get searching, just incase;))

You can expect the islands to be in any biome, any time of year, and potentially an entire island filled with money trees or stars.

And the best thing about it?

It’s still so soon since the update was released that there’s quite a big chance to be the first to find something unique!

Tickets cost 1,000 Nook miles but luckily don’t require you to go and grab anything from the town hall beforehand. A nice quality-of-life update, it would seem.

Simply turn up with the miles, an empty backpack (obviously apart from your tools), and get ready to explore all the secret islands this game has to offer.

And trust me, they look absolutely awesome!

9,000+ New Items

Not sure if you can add anything new to your Japanese island?

I beg to differ.

I mean, don’t get me wrong I do understand where you’re coming from. I’ve thought many times that my island was as good as it’s going to get… Until I read a headline that said ‘9,000 New Items in Update 2.0

I didn’t even think there were that many to begin with… Ha!

External House Customisation

One of the biggest problems I had with my island was not being able to change my house style.

Sure, I can change the mailbox and the color of the brick, but apart from that, the options were extremely limited.

It also wasn’t helped by the fact my neighbors all seemed to have these incredible traditional Machiya-style Kyoto houses and I was stuck with a semi-boring brick house.

Cute, yes.

Japanese themed? No way.

Luckily for me (and I would imagine many of you), this update has finally allowed me to have the Japanese house of my dreams!

Just head on over to resident services in the town hall, speak to Nook and take a look at the plethora of options now available to you for external house customization! (Make sure you’ve improved your house as much as you can first, else you might not have all the options available to you!)

Here are a few other things added in the update, I’ll let you figure out how to access them as that’s all part of the fun!

Cooking added to the game

Not only has the update allowed us to farm with loads of different crops, but we can now actually cook in the game.

Yep, cooking inside Animal Crossing!

And don’t worry, you aren’t likely to get bored when there are around 140 DIY cooking recipes!

Brewster has opened his cafe in the museum

For long-time fans of the animal crossing series, this is a big one. Brewster is a character that works at ‘The Roost’ (His cafe) 24/7 and has a love for coffee. He’s a quiet pigeon that likes to keep to himself, but I reckon he’ll start to like your company if you show up enough times.

Group stretching in the plaza

Pretty much an animal-crossing version of Radio Taiso, how flipping cool!

Unearth Gyroids

Fun Fact: Gyroids in Animal Crossing are based on Haniwa (埴輪). These un-glazed terra cotta sculptures were hollow and placed around the mound of a tomb, often used to mark the borders of individual burial grounds.

Go to the islands Kapp’n takes you to and look for X’s on the floor, just like where you might find fossils, and dig up the fragments.

Take them back home and give them some water, before leaving them overnight.

Dig them up in the morning and hope with all your might that you get a funky-looking one!

Upgrade Harv’s island with an open-air market

Remember those characters that visited your island to try and sell you their wares?

Saharah and her rugs, kicks and his shoes, Jolly and his sculptures?

To unlock permanent shops for all these and more (A total of 8 shops) make sure you take notice of them and buy an item or two each time they come to your island.

If you’re lucky, they’ll open up a permanent location on Harv’s island!

Now, back to the article!

Before we start

Make sure you have the following items to hand:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Obviously you need to have the game to visit these islands, and if you haven’t made the purchase yet, you can grab it here!

Nintendo Switch – Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition – I’m assuming you all have switches if you’re reading this but if you’re like me and get extremely excited by researching all the possibilities for your new Japanese town and haven’t got the console yet, I highly advise you to get this cute Animal crossing version of the switch! Much cooler than the other colors!

NFC Villager Game Tags – As we venture through some of the most incredible Japanese-inspired animal crossing towns, you’re bound to find a villager or two that takes your fancy. If you absolutely must have them to complete your own village, the quickest way would be to buy the ACNH tags. Not as fun as mind-numbingly searching for your favorite villager for hours on end (Zucker, I’m looking at you! -_-) but definitely more efficient!

Animal Crossing Cuddle Buddy – I’m pretty certain that ACNH is the cutest game around, and I love it because of that. But let’s be honest, everything in life could stand to be just that little bit cuter. I’ll be choosing Marina, but with 19 options to choose from you’ll definitely be able to find your own animal crossing cuddly friend!

ACNH Travel Case – What better way to keep your new Nintendo switch safe than in an animal crossing travel case! So whether you’re flying across the world, traveling on a train, or playing it in a meadow just as the sun goes down you’ll know your villagers and town are safe! ^_^ CUTE!

Hint: Looking for other games set in Japan? Check it out here!

1. Okinawa Island & 2.0

DA: 8538 – 5723 – 6984

What better way to start this list than with an island based on another island.


Many of you may be aware of a beautiful little island in the south of Japan called Okinawa. Famous for its sandy beaches and beautiful weather it’s the perfect place to inspire your own animal crossing island.

Oh, and if you’re planning your trip to Japan, you should absolutely consider Okinawa as a possible destination. That place is beautiful!

I wonder if they serve Okinawan Milk tea? I hope so!

Be aware, that many of these photos are from the previous generation of Okinawa island. So whilst you can still visit these locations (Through the DA above) the current images posted on Instagram are for the newest version (3.0).

So hurry up and visit whilst you still can!

acnh cozy room
The lofi vibes interior
acnh family mart
The cute recreation of Family Mart
acnh Japan view
The insane views of Tokyo from the cafe and the creative reconstruction of a JR-East station
acnh onsen design
Zucker has his own onsen!
acnh tokyo market street idea
Omiode Yokocho – Also known as Tokyo’s “Piss Alley”
animal crossing cute Japan cafe
Gudetama Cafe!
Animal crossing new horizons zen garden
Onsen in the garden of a Ryokan

2. Hanami Crossing

Fantasy | Feudal Japan

DA 4231-3384-5136

Yukumi – Coming Soon

God dam that’s a beautiful map!

Ever wondered how to make an island look good on animal crossing?

Well, It’s unlikely you’ve ever thought of something as intricate as our next entry.

Welcome to Hanami Crossing.

Hanami is an acnh Island based entirely on feudal Japan with a few fantasy elements thrown in.

From bamboo forests and hat makers to rice terraces and ninja schools, Hanami crossing is bound to help inspire your next animal crossing build.

In my opinion, their talent lies in their ability to transform such small spaces into recognizable scenes.

And with the new map ‘Yukumi’ just around the corner, I can’t imagine some of the incredible things Marc has done with the new 9000 items!

animal crossing ninja idea
An absolutely stunning map by @min
animal crossing bamboo forest
The bamboo forest
animal crossing samurai
Throne Room IX – A recreation of The Emperors throne room in Hanami castle
japanese animal crossing island
Room VIII – The legend of Momotaro

An absolutely heartwarming story from Japanese folklore where an elderly Japanese woman stumbles across a giant peach floating down the river.

After bringing the peach back and opening it with her husband, a little boy popped out and would later be adopted by the couple.

Hanami has done a fantastic job interpreting the story inside such a small space. Hopefully, this should show you that it’s possible to get inspiration for your anch island ideas in pretty much any place!

acnh bamboo slide idea
Rom VII – A Somen restaurant

Finally, someone uses the noodle slide for its actual purpose!

acnh archery ideas
Room V – The Kyudo Dojo
acnh writing ideas
Room IV – The calligraphy art room
japanese animal crossing island
The traditional Japanese mask making room
animal crossing japanese restaurant
The Izakayas & Ramen bar
acnh mountain design
The little shrine on the mountain
acnh asian garden
Leifs plant shop
acnh turnip farm
Daisy Mae’s turnip farm

3. Kokiri Crossing



???? オレンジ: MA-2088-9640-7570

A quaint and cozy suburban Japanese animal crossing island.

Comes complete with cherry blossoms, a bullet train, High School, and vending machines!

This will be a great island if you’re looking for suburban Japan inspiration for your own island.

Cute self portrait!
acnh cracked roads
Back roads that need some TLC
acnh cracked roads
A great place to grab a drink!
acnh cherry blossom street
Right outside the museum!
acnh school design
The High School

This is where Kokiri Crossing really shines for me. It is probably the best school design I’ve seen yet in animal crossing new horizons.

Not only does this school design have a fantastic outside, but it also has some of the most intricate classroom details that add to the overall immersion of the village.

Does anyone else have dreams of going to a Japanese High School?

…Just me?

acnh classroom idea
acnh classroom idea
Those views, and the use of items is just insane!

That apple looks very tasty! I wonder if it’s as expensive as these ones?

4. Yasminko.plays


Welcome to Arakawa. (Update: Formerly known as ‘Jeju Crossings’)

Arakawa is an extremely well-put-together town and you wouldn’t be mistaken if you thought it came straight out of a Ghibli movie.

It’s extremely similar in terms of build quality to Jeju, with intricate details, hidden pathways, and an all-round extreme amount of effort to create the artist’s vision

Yasmin, the creator behind Arakawa (and Jeju) has added anime-style backgrounds to some of her photos and it really brings the scenes together.

Plus it makes me feel like I’m in my very own anime movie… Don’t hate…

jeju crossings anime town
Running from your problems like…
jeju crossings anime town
Contemplating your life on a bridge with an anime sky behind you is how I want to live!
jeju crossings anime town
Waiting for the next bus (if this was my bus station, I wouldn’t mind waiting!!)
jeju crossings anime town
The entrance to the train station
jeju crossings anime town
Chilling with your friends holding balloons
jeju crossings anime town
Realizing this might be the most chilled acnh island out there

5. Bysha Crossing – Anime city

DA 2700 – 6919 – 8672

For the final entry to the list, we have a city based on anime!

Now, we’ve talked a little about anime before (Here and Here) but have we ever seen someone actually design their own anime town? I don’t think so!

Sha, the village creator cleverly places anime artwork in the background of her images to give them that extra sense of immersion.

Anime city is a very clean and modern example of a Japanese island and is sure to inspire the next wave of acnh creators!

anime animal crossing village
Playing with your bestie, exactly what acnh is about!
anime animal crossing village
Even in anime, the rubbish has to go out!
anime animal crossing village
A quintessential Japanese suburban street
anime animal crossing village
Because who the hell doesn’t like balloons?!
anime animal crossing village
^ She obviously does!
animal crossing anime village
Not a care in the world when you’re exploring this town

Bonus Islands

Ok, technically these aren’t inspired by Japan so they don’t belong on the main list.

But I just loved them so much I had to make a few exceptions!

So let’s pretend this is a list of really bloody cool islands as well and Japanese islands too.

Shhh, you’re gonna love them I promise!

Keju Crossing

Keju crossing combines beautiful photography skills and minimal item placement to create an acnh island inspired by the countryside and suburbs of Korea.

This Korean-inspired island may take the win for most aesthetically pleasing, well for me anyway.

acnh korean island
When I buy my first house, I absolutely want it to look like this! So cool!
acnh korean island
What a cute little street ^_^
acnh korean island
If my local bus stop looked this sweet, I think I’d wait for the bus a little longer!
acnh korean island
Beatles album cover?? I think so!
acnh korean island
Who doesn’t love a bit of forest bathing now and again!
acnh korean island
I cannot wait to see this kitchen now the new update has dropped! Think of all the cute Japanese snacks you could create! ^_^
acnh korean island
Peace… At last…


Miarain might well be the most zen place in the entire Animal Crossing New Horizons universe (That’s a thing… right?)

Plastered with jungle trees, pools, and yoga spots, MIA RAIN is the zen retreat you’ve probably needed for a long time!

This jungle-inspired island is bound to have you exploring for hours on end with your friends…

…and then crying a bit because you can’t live there in real life.

DA-5038-2382-3756 (MiaRain)

DA-4141-8912-8992 (MiaLand)

DA-4509-4120-9489 (MiaCanyon)

Coming soon (Miawood)

animal crossing new horizons jungle island
Another beautiful map by the talented @wickerisland
acnh jungle island
The cutest spot to hang with your friends on acnh
animal crossing new horizons jungle island
A dreamy waterfall yoga location
animal crossing new horizons jungle island
An actual jungle, with a LOT of trees.
animal crossing new horizons jungle island
Yep, definitely a lot…
animal crossing new horizons jungle island
Jungle canopy path!
animal crossing new horizons jungle island
What a great spot for a picnic ^_^
acnh yoga studio
The best way to calm down after a hard days exploring ^_^


It’s Disneyland, but in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Like, the whole of Disneyland…

Need I say more?

After the massive November update, I would LOVE to see how they’ve used all the extra carnival items!



acnh disneyland
The latest update of Disneyland
acnh disneyland
The front gates
acnh disneyland
The Main Street looks like a load of fun day or night!
Sleeping Beautys Castle
acnh disneyland
It’s the pirates of the Caribbean ride!
acnh disneyland
Time to watch the Fantasmic!

That’s all folks!

Hold on there, before you close this tab, let me tell you about something that might just spark your wanderlust. More video games set in Japan!

Imagine walking through the streets of virtual Tokyo or Kyoto, taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling city. From classic RPGs to modern action-adventure games, there are countless titles that transport you to the land of the rising sun. If you’re looking for inspiration to plan your next trip, here are 12 video games set in Japan that will make you want to visit. Who knows, you might even recognize some of the places when you do make it to Japan!

Jonny Gleason

Jonny is the founder of A Day of Zen and has an unhealthy obsession with Japan. In 2022 he moved to Japan on a mission to give his audience the best possible information. He's helped over 300,000 plan their trip so far, and is eager to make that number much bigger!

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