Here’s Where to Cosplay in Tokyo

Having our own country-wide cosplay events such as Fan Expo in Canada alongside the likes of AVCon in Australia and Hyper Japan in the UK is great for cosplay fans worldwide. But the dream is to be able to do so in Japan — the source of it all — and more importantly, in its capital, Tokyo.

If this is something you’re looking to do soon, here are some of the districts were walking with two swords strapped to your back is a more common sight than others:


Image Credit: Tokyo Cheapo

Whenever tourists visit Shibuya, it’s always a baffling sight to see full-blown Mario Kart reenactments, complete with costumes and actual carts. However, it’s just another day in the life of Tokyo locals. In fact, video games are pretty much ingrained into the culture of Shibuya. For example, have you ever heard of the DS game The World Ends With You? Its entire premise is set in Shibuya, and cosplayers celebrate this fact accordingly. Take a look:

Image Credit: Lauren McFadden, Cosplayer Credit: Shinjaninja Cosplay
Image Credit: K-tetsu on DeviantArt

Also, if you cosplay in franchises set in the big city, like Persona 5Devil Survivor, and Sailor Moon, then Shibuya has the perfect photo op spots for you.


Image Credit: WOW U

In all of Japan, Akihabara is the center of everything pop culture and gaming. But beyond the popular Nintendo titles, this area is home to many pachinko parlors, where locals come to while away their time. Gaming site Expat Bets traces pachinko’s history to the 1920s, when it was originally marketed as a game for kids. Sure enough, the exciting visuals and easy gameplay eventually led adults to try it out for themselves, thus the abundance of these machines in major districts. Some of them even have themes inspired by popular titles, like Neon Genesis Evangelion. You can certainly enter any parlor in full cosplay attire and no one would bat an eyelash.


Image Credit: Rhianna Floresca)

Out of all the city’s districts, the “cosplay capital” title goes to Ikebukuro. In 1983, Animate, a Tokyo-based retailer of anime, manga, and games, built a 60-story skyscraper in the middle of Ikebukuro. At one point, it was the tallest building in the country. And though it no longer is, it’s still worth visiting for all your cosplay needs. This district is also known to hold international cosplay events, such as the annual Halloween Cosplay Festival and Animate Girls Festival.


Image Credit: Time Out

If your cosplay niche is under the Lolita category, then you’ll blend right in at Harajuku. According to local writers from Savvy Tokyo, Lolita isn’t just a costume for Harajuku locals — it’s their way of life. Some of them even go as far as to learn Victorian hobbies like embroidery and poetry to live out the Lolita culture. They also have entire wardrobes of lacy gowns, which they wear everywhere. More importantly, Harajuku has entire boutiques dedicated to Lolita clothing, so it’s a must-visit if you’re a fan of the trend.

Whenever you get a chance to visit Tokyo, remember these four places. The Japanese are huge fans of cosplay culture, so it’s worth experiencing it firsthand — even if anime and Mario don’t sound like your cup of tea.

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