Spring has begun to bloom and soon the equinox will be upon us. With just two weeks left until all the fun of hanami in Japan; the walks in the park, the picnics under the trees, and the cherry blossoms floating down in our hair. A very romantic time indeed. Yet, to get us all warmed up for this most wonderful season is the Nipponbashi Street Festa in Den Den Town.
Den Den Town is the electronics district of Osaka. With many stores selling cameras, computers and video games and consoles, this little area started attracting a clientèle who are also into manga, anime and specialty toys. Stores began popping up to supply this demand followed by the maid cafes that also started popping up and filling the streets with girls advertising the vast array of costumed cafes in the area. Den Den Town is now one of three destinations in the otaku pilgrimage. The other two being Akibahara in Tokyo and Osu in Nagoya.
This year's Nipponbashi Street Festa is March 20th (Sunday). The event runs from 11:00AM to 17:00PM. Located on Sakaisuji street between Nipponbashi station and Ebisucho station.
Each year the streets are closed off for the largest cosplaying event in Kansai. Close to 10,000 professional and amateur cosplayers, and even more cosplay enthusiasts, gather in the streets of Den Den Town to dress as their favorite pop culture characters in anime, manga, video games or even American cartoons and comic book characters due to the international success of shows like Adventure Time and the Marvel movie franchises. This year may also include characters from the new Star Wars: Force Awakens.
There will be a cosplay parade where all the event performers will walk through the streets for everyone to get a glimpse of their costumes. Most costumes are made by hand with lots of care and precision to look identical to the character from the manga or anime. But don't worry if you miss your favorite one or arrive late the street will then become a cosplay stage where all the cosplayers will pose and perform for everyone. Every type of costume imaginable will be on display from detailed Gundam robots to super sexy Cutie Honey to last minute Mario Bros. overalls. So make sure to bring your camera and squeeze in next to the photography otaku to get a wonderful shot.
If you would like to participate of course it is free to dress up, but if you would like to be an official member and walk in the parade the cost is 1,500 Yen.
Another special event will be the arrival of Super Robot Mazinger Z! A giant statue of the famous mecha robot from the manga and anime series of the same name in the 1970's. There's also a special stage event with creator Go Nagai and special appearances from popular voice actors from the show.
Other cool stuff include the Nipponbashi Street Festa exlusive drawings, limited addition goods and various attractions around the area.
For more information visit the English website at http://nippombashi.jp/festa/2016/english.html
In the event of light rain the Festa will carry on, but will be canceled only in the case of heavy rain. So let's hope for good weather and I will see you there!