Mobile Suit Gundam: goodbye.

For the last three years, the people of Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city which sits on the coastline 30 minutes south from downtown Tokyo, have had the special sense of pride and calm that comes from knowing their town is watched over by a full-scale statue of anime mecha Gundam. Yokohama may not have the only life-size Gundam statue out there, but it’s got the only one in the whole world that moves.

Opened in December of 2020, the Gundam Factory Yokohama facility, at the southern end of Yokohama’s harbor district, includes a cafe, exclusive-merch gift shop, and a museum showcasing the conceptual and engineering work that went into its star attraction: a moving 18-meter (59-foot) tall recreation of the RX-78-2 Gundam, hero mecha of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. Initially, Gundam Factory Yokohama was only supposed to be in operation until the end of March, 2021, but with coronavirus-related travel and venue restrictions severely limiting the number of people who could visit, especially those from the global anime fan community, the decision was made to extend operations until the end of March, 2023. Then, as that date approached, Gundam Factory Yokohama was extended yet again, for another year.

This time, though, it looks like it really is goodbye, with the Gundam Factory Yokohama official website simply listing March 31, 2024, as the facility’s last day, with no further extension possibilities mentioned.

However, just because Gundam is going away doesn’t mean that it’s already gone, with Gundam Factory Yokohama issuing a boldly worded reminder that there’s still time to come see the massive marvel, and that you can still get your hands on tickets from the very last batch.

To mitigate overcrowding, Gundam Factory Yokohama offers tickets for pre-purchase in batches, closing a day or time block out if and when ticket sales hit the attendance cap. Tickets for those planning to visit between March 1 and 15 went on sale February 16, but the final batch, for those visiting between March 16 and 31, doesn’t go on sale until March 1 at 10 a.m. in Japan, so they’re still up for grabs.

Moreover, if ticket pre-sales are still below attendance caps, Gundam Factory Yokohama does offer at-the-gate same-day purchases, with such notifications posted to its website (just don’t show up on a Tuesday, since that’s the facility’s regular day off).

The wording of Gundam Factory Yokohama’s closure statement implies that not only is Gundam leaving, but that the merch store, cafe, and museum will be closing too. There’s been no official word as to what will happen to the moving Gundam, but back when it was still only scheduled to be in Yokohama for a few months, the popular theory is that it would be shipped to other locations in Japan, or maybe even abroad, for similar limited-time displays, and given the obviously huge effort and expense that went into building it, it’s hard to imagine that the mecha is going to be scrapped for parts and never seen again.

For now, though, if you want to be sure to see Gundam move in full-scale glory, it’s time to head to Yokohama, and if you’re an anime fan looking for other cool stuff to see in the city, don’t forget that Gundam Factory Yokohama isn’t far from one of Yokohama’s awesome Pokémon art manhole covers, and we’ve got maps showing where the whole set is for you.

Related: Gundam Factory Yokohama official website
Source: Gundam Factory Yokohama
Top image: Gundam Factory Yokohama
Insert images: Gundam Factory Yokohama (1, 2)
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