The word ‘cosplay’ comes from the words costume and play. Cosplayers usually make ensembles and cosmetics to match characters in manga, anime and computer games. They then attend festivals and conventions where they show off their costumes.

Eastern Akihabara and Western Ikebukuro are the two greatest Otaku (Otaku is a Japanese term for people with consuming interests, particularly in anime and manga) hotspots in Tokyo. Of the two, Ikebukuro is more popular for its female-oriented anime, cosplay and Doujinshi shops. A large portion of these are focused on the city’s milestone, Sunshine City, also known as “Otome Road.”

Tokyo's Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro is rapidly becoming one of the most sizzling subculture spots in Tokyo. Stores showcase significant anime and manga products and are filled with youthful fans. Routinely held cosplay occasions pull in even more crowds of fans. In 2017, Ikebukuro organized two events – a worldwide exchange of subculture content and an anime film celebration.

History of Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro has been a center point for Otaku since the 1980s. It has outstanding attractions including the anime products store ‘Animate’ and the Dōujinshi shows. Comic Revolution and Creation are both are held at Sunshine City.

These stores and shows were at first made to attract general crowds and the region did not pay particular attention to female clients until 2000. After a remodel, Animate specifically started targeting the marketing towards the female segment. That same year, K-Books in Ikebukuro changed its item contributions to have some expertise in Dōujinshi focused on ladies.

History of Ikebukuro

The Cosplay Haven – Ikebukuro

Harajaku is a buzzing and colorful geographic Japanese location. It is filled with vibrant street art, vintage and cosplay shops, Takeshita Street, and super cute and trendy bars. Ikebukuro has ascended as a blend of Akihabara and Harajuku, which are both known for their cosplay culture.

Ikebukuro has gotten incredibly well known for its street style and cosplay on the weekends. Other than this, Ikebukuro has two or three mainstream manga and anime stores which are the center of attention particularly for female cosplayers. Because it is highly crowded and a center of attention for numerous tourists, it is really hard to reach there from edges of Tokyo.

The Ikebukuro Halloween Festival

The Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival is a yearly event held in Ikebukuro. It is one of the biggest cosplay occasions in Japan and attracts many guests as the occasion is streamed via Niconico Live Streaming. 

This event began in 2014. The primary point of the celebration is to advance the cosplay subculture which started in Japan and soon took over the world. Ikebukuro turns into a setting for the entire celebration where cosplayers can be seen all over the city – at bus stops and in stores. Since a lot of tourists and cosplayers come to attend the celebration, the visitors and photographers are required to pay charge of 1,500 Yen every day.

On the stage, there are different exhibitions and performances, for example, the style show “Niconico Completion” where the cosplayers compete in arts and crafts. They are also interested in the “Ike-Hallo Cosplay Parade” where they can march the city of Ikebukuro in their colorful costumes. Furthermore, there are numerous activities such as a photography session and a “Cosplay Gathering” where cosplayers with similar interests and fandoms can meet one another.

Ikebukuro Halloween Festival

In the Ikebukuro East Exit region, you can shop at accomplice stores while getting out of cosplay fest.

Acosta!     

Another, smaller but equally pleasant cosplay celebration called “Acosta” is held each month by a cosplay groups. Store owners were at first puzzled by a surge of participating cosplayers. But now, more stores are ready to partake in the occasion. A large number of these entrepreneurs, who are also cosplayers, have great event organizing skills. They assign regions, become united and take care not to litter around. Around 60 foundations, including eateries, currently urge these costumed clients to visit.

Acosta

The Otome Road – Ikebukuro

Otome Road is situated to the west of Sunshine City, close to Ikebukuro Station. Circumscribed by the Shuto Expressway, it ends at the Ikebukuro Animate Cafe and K-Books Cosplay Store. A few different stores concentrated on products focused on ladies are found further west in Ikebukuro, mostly around the leading Animate store. The Otome Road is considered as a big business locale. However, it doesn’t have regular cosplayers who stroll around in cosplay costumes and hence it isn’t promptly recognizable at first sight.

Famous Anime/Cosplay Shops in Ikebukuro

Following are the must visit and most famous anime and cosplay shops in Ikebukuro:

Animate Ikebukuro

Animate Ikebukuro

Animate Ikebukuro is one of the highly stocked shops of Ikebukuro. It is loaded with character merchandise from your favorite games, movies, cartoons, series and anime. Numerous fans come to Ikebukuro to visit this shop alone. Animate’s multi-story building is always brimming with merchandise and cool stuff.

It currently has 118 branches spread throughout Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Thailand. This shop, which was the first shop to open, is currently the Ikebukuro Flagship Store. Regardless of what day of the week it is, you will find dozens of customers shopping at Animate.

K-BOOKS

This cosplay shop is a part of the very famous reused products shop, K-BOOKS. Situated on Otome Road, it is also called the “cosplayer’s holy land”. With more than 5,000 outfits, hair pieces and extras, the shop is attractive and highly stocked. It is a treasure of cosplay related items.

You can discover a wide range of costumes here, from industrially made things to recycled things to even carefully put together outfits. Each and everything is in such flawless condition that from the outset, you could never figure that they are used.

K-BOOKS

Surugaya Ikebukuro Otome-kan

Surugaya Ikebukuro Otome-kan, upheld by Meikido, opened in late November 2019. It is another shop in the Sunshine City that offers new and utilized anime merchandise.

The store comprises of the three floors. Two of these are packed with huge amounts of random merchandise, key chains, telephone ties and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. At the counter, fans come to sell their most recent, used merchandise. After review, the items are cleaned and bundled, and displayed with the remaining merchandise on the business floor.

Ikebukuro Otome-kan

Final Thoughts

Explorers from all around the globe who love cosplay and Japan’s manga and anime culture are intensely attracted to cosplay occasions. In the Sunshine city, the travelers love to pose for photos with individuals wearing elaborate, creative and super-fun outfits. As this subculture has started to flourish and strengthen its roots in Ikebukuro, the area may progressively be perceived as the focal point of Japanese Cosplay culture in the near future.