Weird and Wonderful Cosplay in Japan – Anime Culture in Tokyo’s Akihabara District

in Japan

There are many wonderful but weird things in Japan, and they don’t get much weirder than the Cosplay culture of Tokyo’s Akihabara district.

Every Sunday the main street is closed to cars and taken over by the wildly dressed locals. Cosplay, or Costume Play, brings together fans of the Japanese comics and animations known as manga and anime. Through their distinctive dress they celebrate their favorite characters and entertain passers-by.

Akihabara is one of the few places around the world that curious onlookers can learn about the world of Cosplay. Ordinarily enthusiasts only don their costumes for conventions and other gatherings, away from the prying eyes of the public. While the parade happens on the weekend, Akihabara still offers plenty to Cosplay enthusiasts and the curious through the week. Most large department stores have Cosplay floors dedicated to the wacky fancy dress favored by Cosplay fans. Other smaller boutiques like Cosmate and Cospa Shop Akihabara also specialize in these flamboyant costumes. They're certainly worth browsing, and a few trips to the change room, even if you don't intend to take any of the attire home. [caption id="attachment_4328" align="alignright" width="150" caption="A Cosplay maid in Tokyo"]A Cosplay maid in Tokyo's Akihabara district[/caption] And then there are the Cosplay restaurants, a phenomenon which began in Akihabara but has now spread around the world. The wait staff dress as anime styled French maids, and in some rare circumstances butlers. They play their roles well, making customers feel that they are not regular diners but the employers in their private home. Of course you'll be fed, but a meal here is about entertainment as much as filling your belly. So give yourself over to the fantasy, and explore a world unlike your own in the Akihabara district.

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