One of the things Japan is hugely famous for around the world is its love of Cosplay! For anyone unfamiliar with cosplay it comes from the words “costume” and “play” and involves dressing up and acting like your favourite characters from manga, anime, movies or video games.
Lots of us have had a go at making a costume for Halloween or costume parties but in Japan it’s on a whole different level of enthusiasm and skill!
Every year in March you have a chance to see cosplaying at its best if you head to Osaka for the Nipponbashi festival. The festival is held in Den Den town, Osaka’s equivalent to Akihabara in Tokyo and the main roads are all blocked off to traffic to make way for the teeming crowds of cosplayers! The action starts from 12 noon with parades and shows along the main street though I actually have much more fun with what comes after the parades are over!
All along the main road (and a few streets to either side) you can see hundreds of people in their cosplay creations posing for photographs and absolutely loving the attention from the teeming crowds! The costumes are all incredible and the majority of them are lovingly handmade. People spend most of the year working on their costumes in some cases, with enormous 6 foot long swords or full body Gundam costumes which look professionally made!
You can often see team costumes, usually from popular manga and anime such as the straw hat crew from One piece or the scouts from Attack on Titan. Even children and animals get involved! It’s not unusual to see a baby or a dog proudly showing their cosplay colours!
The main street does get very crowded but the streets leading off tend to be much quieter so it’s easy to take a quick break from the crowd if you need to and there are plenty of convenience stores along the street for refreshments so it can be an amazing day out! Just don’t forget your camera!