Photo By: Lucio Maurizi
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kyoto
Population
2,644,331

Kyoto International Manga Museum

Reading retreat: The history of manga at your fingertips.

Kyoto is not usually associated with manga or anime. We picture this city as a historically rich tourist Mecca of architecture and tradition. The former capital, though, is also home to one of the most important and largest manga museums in Japan. The Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must-see venue for any literary or visual art enthusiast.

The museum is designed for visitors to experience it to its fullest with many reading rooms, rest areas and spaces for kids to play and read. In the midst of a wealth of manga books, you can also see permanent exhibitions, theoretical and practical manga courses, as well as live shows. The museum is what used to be an elementary school built 100 years ago. It’s not flashy, but it has a warm library-like feel to it.

All-you-can-read manga.

Right off the bat, you’ll be greeted by a large international section. This collection is composed of a number of manga translated into dozens of different languages for everyone to enjoy. The large halls will lead you through three stories of manga. In fact, the museum carries over 300,000 volumes obtained partly through purchases but in many cases, donated by private holders or associations. The first floor of the Kyoto International Manga Museum is mostly dedicated to shonen (boys) manga; the second floor carries a large collection of shojo (girls) comics, while the third floor is dedicated to seinen (young adult) works.

All the volumes on the shelves are accessible to read on the spot. If you’re looking for something specific, search for it in the library databases. You will be able to read manga dating as far back as the 1940s, neatly organized by decade, author, year of publication and title.

Photo by: Lucio Maurizi Around 300,000 manga.

Not just reading

But there’s more to the Kyoto International Manga Museum than books. The museum displays original artwork of hundreds of mangaka (manga authors). One of the most amazing things to see is a huge sculpture of the phoenix from the iconic manga Hi no Tori (“The Firebird,” 1956-57). A permanent exhibition presents dozens of molds of the drawing hand of legendary artists, as well as autographed original artwork. (Seen in the main photo.)

Photo by: Lucio Maurizi The giant Hi no Tori sculpture.

Still, if you’re looking for something more hands-on, join the manga-drawing classes taught by a true manga artist. You can also see performances of kamishibai, a show in which a narrator acts out a story as he flips through images drawn on panels. This is an interesting experience for those who would like to see what the precursor of television and the grandfather of manga used to look like in Japan.

Whether you want to read original volumes of your favorite manga, learn about the art and its history or simply visit a memorable place, the Kyoto International Manga Museum is for you.

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Things To Know

Fees

Adults: ¥800; high school and junior high school students: ¥300; elementary school students: ¥100

Hours

Every day except Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (admission until 5:30 p.m.)

Other events

Manga Studio: Every Saturday and Sunday, and on national holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  |  Kamishibai: Weekday display at 11:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m.; Sat and Sun at 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.  |  For manga workshop hours and fees refer to the official website: www.kyotomm.jp/en

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒604-0846 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Kinpukichō, 452 京都国際マンガミュージアム

By train
  • Take the Karasuma line to Karasuma-Oike station and walk north for about four minutes.
  • Take the Hankyu line to Karasuma station and switch to the Karasuma line. Alternatively, walk north for about 15 minutes from the Hankyu line’s Karasuma station.