Absorbed in Cool Japan! Let's Go to Japan's Biggest Otaku Event, Comic Market!
|About Otaku Event “Comic Market”?||How to Join the Event|
|Do’s and Don’ts at Comiket||What To See?|
|The Wise Way to Leave Tokyo Big Sight Smoothly||Must See for the Fans of Japanese Comic Books, Anime, and Games!|
Comic Market, Comiket in short, is the event where many enthusiastic fans of Japanese comic books, anime, and games get together and sell some stuff such as small handmade goods using motifs of their favorite characters of anime or a comic book and the atmosphere of its world as well as the magazines called “dojinshi,” originally created comic books and novels.
Comiket started in 1975. It started as a small event in a rented conference room. Today it has grown into Japan’s biggest Otaku event that attracts as many as 500,000 people to its venue, Tokyo Big Sight. Otaku is the word that describes someone who is deeply in love with certain characters in games or anime. However, people who come to this event are not at all the stay-at-home types, but rather outgoing, cheerful and fun. From around 2012, more and more cosplayers were seen who would like to wear the costumes of their favorite characters and take photos. The number of the cosplay participants grew so drastically that photo shooting is getting more attention than commercial booths these days.
Japanese comic books and games are regarded as the cool aspect of Japan and are popular all over the world these days. There are more and more foreigners who also indulge in cosplay. Comiket is the biggest chance where you can experience the culture of Japanese comic books. It is an event definitely worth visiting.
If you are a member of a group to sell goods, you need to submit a form in advance to secure a commercial booth. However, if you are only visiting, you can just drop in. Admission is free. All you need is the love for Japanese comic books and game culture!
The official website is in several different languages.
Comic Market Official Website→http://www.comiket.co.jp/
What You Should Bring
Drinks and snacks to prevent heat stroke
Some people get engrossed in taking photos of cosplayers and checking the goods so much that they forget to drink anything which can lead to dehydration. Actually, there are a lot of participants that need to be carried in to the medical treatment room for heat stroke. It happens both in summer and winter. You will find drinks like this in the vending machine in the premises of Tokyo Big Sight.
It is a sports drink featuring a cute character sold only at Comiket. It can sell out quickly as many people buy it as souvenirs.
Make sure to stop by Lawson near the Comiket venue before you go there. The shelves are packed with sports drinks, vitamin drinks, and energy drinks. This is called “the preparation for the war of Comiket” and has now become a common feature during Comiket. It is amazing that all these drinks sell out!
The triangle onigiri (rice balls) are stacked neatly and artistically like blocks. The staff are skilled to display as many rice balls as possible to serve many customers. It is a unique scene at the convenience stores in Tokyo Big Sight. Although Tokyo Big Sight has a restaurant area, and it can be very crowded. You are recommended to keep something to eat in your bag, such as rice balls and filling snacks.
Charger and battery for mobile devices
Many people use smartphones in the venue. Although mobile phone carriers install relay units, it is difficult to catch a signal at this busy place and the battery drains quickly. Need to contact a friend lost in the crowd? Want to upload a cosplayers’ photos you took on social media? Make sure you bring an extra battery and a charger.
Cute handmade character goods, dojinshi of your favorite comic books…all the things you see there are something you can’t find back in your country. You might want to buy many things here. It is better if you prepare a lot of small coins to shop around at Comiket. Commercial booths are often in short of coins for change. Prepare 500 yen coins and 100 yen coins.
(Source：freeangle / PIXTA(ピクスタ)）
At the commercial booths selling goods and dojinshi, you will find some people offering to draw pictures and illustration on the spot in your own sketchbook. Bring a sketch book not too large and have many illustrators draw on it. You might be told to come back and retrieve your sketchbook later if the booth is busy. Check the time and remember the location of the booth, so that you can come back safe.
Rules at Comiket
Never cut in line!
You have to wait in a long line even just to enter the venue because it is the biggest Otaku event in Japan. Especially around opening, people throng the open areas and parking lots near the venue, Tokyo Big Sight.
There are so many people in line that the scene is on the news every time. The orderly manner in which the line moves is mainly due to the efforts of the volunteers. They give the instructions on when to move up and where to stay in line to avoid disorder. Follow their instructions and wait until its your turn to enter. If you can’t stand waiting, arrive there around 12 and you can enter smoothly.
Beware of carry cases
It is always jam-packed in the venue of Comiket. Sometimes other people’s belongings can hurt you. Cosplayers and people who buy a lot of goods tend to have carry cases to carry a lot of stuff. You don’t want to hurt yourself during your trip like having your foot run over by a carry case. On the other hand, if you are the one who has a carry case, keep it close to the side of your body not to annoy other people.
(Source：IYO / PIXTA）
Don’t hurt anyone with your parasol or umbrella!
You should take a preventative measure against heat stroke. But parasols are not recommended. The spiky edges of the parasols come to the height of people’s eyes and are thereby dangerous. Apply sunblock and put on a hat.
(Source：anzphoto_Inc, / PIXTA）
It is the same on rainy days. Wear a rain coat instead of carrying umbrellas.
(Source：aijiro / PIXTA）
Check the masterpieces of original goods and comic books!
The commercial booths that fill the Big Sight event space are occupied by the creator groups called “circle.” Each booth has a space in size of one desk and sell their original goods and comic books. The enthusiasm of people who swarm to over 2,000 circles is overwhelming. It is fun to look around at various works.
In front of the booth of a popular circle, people make a line that reaches outside the building.
Many circles sell dojinshi. Some are made with rather extreme imagination of the creator and others have a high perfection and look as if they are official comic books.
None of them are official. They are made by fans of those characters. You can see how accomplished they are.
Corporation booth: must see for anime and game fans
Comiket has a space called corporation booths as well as circle booths where most creators are amateurs. Corporation booths are run by publishing companies and game companies selling original goods or having announcements of the events. They often have the goods related to popular anime or games sold only at Comiket and people make a long line and wait for more than one hour.
The sales staff and attendants at the corporation booths are all cute cosplayers! It is a chance to take a photo with pretty cosplayers like a model.
The main feature of the event: Cosplayers’ photographing booth!
Many people come to this event for this cosplayer’s photographing booth. You can take photos of cosplayers dressed in a costume as a character in anime or a comic book and even behave like one. You can take photos of any cosplayer as long as you ask. Cosplayers space is usually located outside the building. Ask the staff about the location because it is changes every year.
Check out this article for more about cosplayers’ photographing booth.
Take photos of your favorite cosplayers at Comic Market (Photographing Booth)
After having fun shopping and photographing cosplayers, you are on your way back…. The event gathers as many as 500,000 people. The train to leave the venue is naturally crowded. So here is the best way for you. Take the water bus from the dock near Tokyo Big Sight! Enjoy the cruise until you reach Hinode Pier and take a train from there. You can avoid the crowded train this way.
There is another option for people who want to enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo. Change water buses at Hinode Pier and go to Asakusa! Celebrate with beer original to the Sumida River Line after a fun day of Otaku culture at Comic Market. Feeling tipsy then stroll around Asakusa…. Learn Japanese culture and history in one day. Isn’t this a great way to spend a day?
Comic Market is a great chance to experience Japanese manga, comic and anime culture up close. The enthusiasm of the Japanese people is overwhelming for people who love Japanese comic books, anime and games. It is usually held twice a year. Give it your consideration when you plan your trip.
Tokyo Big Sight (東京ビッグサイト)
Address：3-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo（東京都江東区有明3-11-1）
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