As a major center for Japan’s anime culture, Ikebukuro has gone for a slightly more Japanese approach to this imported annual festival.
Expect to see more people dressed up as their favorite manga or anime character rather than the more gruesome costumes that you’ll see elsewhere.
While it’s free to watch, if you want to dress up or take photographs you need a special ticket, and this year there are three to choose from. A simple photographer’s license which includes luggage storage will cost ¥2,000 in advance and ¥2,300 on the day. A regular Cosplay ticket offers changing-room access, luggage storage and access to all the photo-shoot areas – this one also costs ¥2,000 in advance and ¥2,300 on the door. For an upgrade you can purchase a Premiun Pass which includes a photographer license as well as early entry, premium dressing rooms, separate powder rooms, cosplay conceirge staff and more – although it will set you back ¥3,500 which seems to only be available online.
As is standard for most cosplay events, organizers are very particular about not arriving to the area or leaving it in cosplay, so you’ll have to change in the provided dressing room. You have to register first, after which you’ll usually get a badge, stamp, wristband, or whatnot to signify that you changed in the dressing room and can therefore participate in the event. You may also only be allowed to roam about in designated areas; some restaurants and shops may not want cosplayers to enter in costume, so organizers will usually list which establishments allow cosplayers to enter.