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Kanto
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Honshu
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Tokyo
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Comiket (Comic Market)

Step aside San Diego Comic Con! Japan’s bi-annual comic market is worth planning your trip around.

Comiket is the event — and an indescribable experience — for Japanese culture lovers.

Biannually, more than 500,000 attendees, many of them suited up in their favorite cosplay, gather at Tokyo’s international convention center (Tokyo Big Sight) to share their passion for anime (Japanese animation), manga (Japanese comic books), and games. This convention center is Japan’s largest and the only one able to accommodate Comiket.

World-renowned market

Comiket, which is short for the Comic Market, is the world’s largest dōjinshi fair. Because of their scarcity, goods found at Comiket are highly coveted by collectors. Corporate vendors do attend Comiket but the main allure is the 30,000 groups selling dojinshi (self-produced goods).

The main rule is that everything must be produced by the circle (doujinshi creators) themselves. There is no rule as to what can be sold, so you will find novels, manga, artwork and so much more. These could be original or based off of existing franchises. This also allows for a variety of content that includes works for general audiences to mature readers only.

Photo by: Mimi Dietderich The entrance to Tokyo Big Sight for Comiket.

Why they do it

For many, Comiket starts before dawn in an attempt to acquire rare treasures. The moment you enter the convention, panic emerges as you struggle to get your bearings. Before you are countless tables stacked with a plethora of items exclusive to Comiket.

There’s no guarantee that any circle will reprint older works and many tables sell out of their popular items or entire stock before noon. Therefore, any experienced Comiket goer will tell you if you see something you like, don’t hesitate.

Mandarake At Nakano Broadway

Every table is shared by two circles. Most will feature that year’s top series or all-time favorites, but you can also find lesser-known franchises, as well. Thankfully, for everyone’s convenience, circles are grouped by similar content. Some circles have an impressive following and will have lines within the convention center so be prepared.

Before you go

Photo by: Puramyun31 Doujinshi booths at Comiket 84 in summer 2013.

Comiket is held every August and December for three days from 10-4 p.m. Entry is free but the ¥2,400 Comiket Catalog is highly recommended.

Comiket rules, policies, history and how to use the catalog are printed in multiple languages but otherwise the catalog is in Japanese. It contains all vendors, when they will attend, their table number, and a reference of their work. The catalog also contains removable maps for during the event.

A few other things to note if you’re a Comiket first-timer. Cosplay (costume play) is welcome. Cosplayers must register (¥1,000 per day) and once registered participants must change inside the venue. Don’t miss out on anything by ensuring you bring enough cash. Especially because doujinshi circles only accept cash.

Japan’s bi-annual comic market is worth planning your trip around, so don’t miss out on your chance to browse thousands of original works.

Check out more anime and manga tourism in Japan.

Trivia

Mandarake At Nakano Broadway

Off, Off, Off Broadway: Trinket-size collectibles for a huge pop culture fix.

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How To Get There

By train

From Tokyo station take the JR Keiyo Line going towards Soga and exit Shin-Kiba Station (8 min, 2 stops). Enter the Tokyo Metro and take the Rinkai Line towards Osaki and exit at Kokusai-Tenjijo Station (4 min, 2 stops). Exit the station and walk 12 minutes to Tokyo Big Site. This route costs ¥440 and takes about 29 minutes.

By bus

From outside Tokyo Station go to the bus stop located at the Tokyo Station Maru no Uchi South Exit. Take bus number 05-2 going to Tokyo Big Site and get off 19 stops later (32 minutes). Walk 5 minutes to the Tokyo Big Site location. Bus fee is ¥210 and comes every 30 minutes.

 

Where To Stay

Tokyo Bay Ariake Washington Hotel
  • Ariake 3-7-11 Koto-Ku, Tokyo 135-0063
  • 7.7/10
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Hotel Sunroute Ariake
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Hotel Trusty Tokyo Bayside
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Tokyo Ariake Bay Hotel
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