Schools are a common setting in Japanese TV shows and anime. In Japan, cosplayers who dress up as school kids may find it difficult to get an authentic-looking school backdrop for their photo shoots. However, there is some good news for enthusiastic cosplayers! An old high school in Kurate (鞍手), Fukuoka (福岡) has been transformed into a large cosplay studio that is perfect for your school theme location needs! Let’s find out more about Kurate Gakuen (くらて学園)!
Kurate Gakuen was an actual school located in Kurate City, Fukuoka, Japan. The school was once a fully functioning high school, known before as Kurate-Minami Junior High School (鞍手南中学校). Like other high schools in Japan, it was complete in terms of facilities, including classrooms, a staff room, a swimming pool, a gym, and more. Unfortunately, the school encountered problems and closed its doors as an educational institution in March 2015. Losing their status as a place for education and the inevitable abandonment of the building meant that it could have stayed abandoned or worse, demolished.
Fortunately, the town decided that this would have been an awful waste, so they decided to recycle the campus into something that people can use. The idea to turn it into a cosplay studio was brought up by a Fukuoka City-based consultant. Kurate Gakuen began hosting photo shoots in July 2016. Since its opening, the newly revived campus has welcomed numerous visitors and they even have their own ambassadors to help in promoting the cosplay studio!
With complete facilities and lots of space to work with, this place is a cosplayer and a photographer’s paradise. The campus setting and everything else inside gives the accuracy and attention to detail that cosplayers and photographers look for in a location. Since there is also a huge working space compared to other cosplay studios, cosplayers can move freely and photographers can set up their equipment without worrying about whether their equipment can fit or about disturbing other people.
Kurate Gakuen allows visitors to take photos from anywhere and everywhere in the campus. With that freedom, any moment in an anime that features all the possible corners of a school environment can be shown in the photographs. For those who did not bring costumes with them, it is possible to rent some costumes. Official photographers are also included in the staff, so there is no need to worry about not getting high-quality photos.
The idea of turning a closed school into a functioning cosplay studio was really smart and creative. If the campus was left abandoned or ordered to be demolished, that would have been such a waste. But since Japan has been known to think of ways to make something old new again, this concept is no surprise. If you are a cosplayer or photographer visiting Fukuoka, do not miss out on this great cosplay studio!
Kurate Gakuen website *Japanese only
Hunt for Your Perfect Costume at These 8 Cosplay Shops in Tokyo
Is Real Japanese School Life similar to that in Anime?
Behind the Scenes of Great Cosplay Shoots: Reality vs. Expectation