Every year, thousands of anime and manga fans descend on the peaceful town of Tōyako Onsen.
Cosplay is a massive part of this annual festival. There will be cosplay parades, exhibitions, and, of course, contests. Stare at the blinged-out anime cars, known colloquially as itasha, at the Itasha Competition, and try the plenty of other things to see and do, like manga markets, photo spots, and lakeside fireworks.
There are many, many things going on during the festival but one of the highlights is Pedestrian Heaven, when the roads of Toyako Onsen will be closed to cars, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days.
This is an open-air, free event and while you don’t need to purchase any special tickets, you can buy a “pamphlet” for ¥1,200 for the two days. This pamphlet will allow you free access to the changing room — if you are planning on cosplaying — and other areas, including the shuttle bus. The proceeds will also go towards running future events.
How to get there
If you aren’t driving your itasha anime car to the festival, then you’ll need to get a bus or train from Sapporo. A special bus service is operated during the Festa and costs ¥2,800 without a pamphlet and ¥4,000 with. Book here.
Don’t know how to get to Sapporo? It’s pretty easy from Tokyo.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.