Kyoto is a city known for its strong connections with Japanese traditional culture. It used to be the imperial capital of Japan and even today, it still preserves its cultural and economic importance. The efforts of the city to keep and protect its traditional culture and architecture, can be exhibited throughout the city, making it one of the favorite destinations among foreign and national tourists.
Kyoto has also succeeded in connecting Japan’s traditional culture, to its emerging modern culture. The Kyoto International Manga and Anime Fair (Kyomaf), is an event that combines Japan’s present, past and future. The grounds of the Miyakomese and the Heian Jingu Shrine provide the perfect background for this event, and gives visitors the chance to enjoy their favorite Anime or Manga within a Japanese setting. The shrine works as the perfect stage for the cosplayers to display their talent, and is a great setting for photo shoots.
Among the many interesting displays at Kyomaf 2014, one of the most impressive was the presence of a full size, functioning Patlabor. Based on the late 80’s to early 90’s manga and anime, Kyomaf 2014 featured one of the robots that are currently being used in the Live Action Movie adaption. It was accompanied by its crew, who sounded the police siren every time the robot was raised, just as it did in the Anime. This is just one example of how Kyomaf offers the unique opportunity for visitors to interact with their favorite Anime or Manga characters. Not only can visitors converse with the Cosplayers, but they can also enjoy the life size statues of the characters, and the photo booths that let you stand next to the figures of your favorite hero.
There were also some exciting and unusual anime goods being sold, some of which I’m sure Western visitors would not have seen before! From t-shirts to posters, and from towels to jewelry, and even anime themed toilet paper! It’s very impressive to see the great number of products that a fan can acquire!! Kyomaf has something to offer all fans.
One aspect that I really like about Kyomaf, is that it is possible for both, old a new fans to enjoy it. So even if you haven’t been able to keep up with the latest animes or mangas, you can still have a great experience!! This year, one of the major attractions was an expo about studio Clamp artwork. Many fans of Anime and Manga know about their work, but I was very happy to see that among the visitors, there were many people in their late 20’s who grew up watching and reading the works of Clamp.
Finally, what makes Kyomaf a unique and distinct event from all other anime and manga gatherings in Japan, is its connection with the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Those attending to Kyomaf can also pay a visit to this museum, which is known as the “biggest Manga café” in the world. With a shuttle service that takes only 10 minutes and costs 100 Yen, visitors can travel between both venues. The Manga café not only has an amazing collection of Manga (almost all in Japanese, although they have a translated manga section too), but also an exposition in which they explain the history of Manga, as well as how the industry works and how far it has progressed over the years. It is also full of activities that allow visitors to really experience Manga, like inking a Manga page supervised by a professional artist, playing with acetate printings in order to design your own character, and much more. A visit to the Manga Museum is an essential for Manga fans.
The best part of the event for foreigners is that you do not need to pay an admission fee at Kyomaf. All you need to do is show your passport, and you’ll have full access to the expo. However, if you wish to visit the Manga Museum, you have to pay an 800 Yen admission fee (which is quite cheap considering all of the activities you can do in the museum). Kyomaf is an event for all the family, and is definitely worth a visit!