Spending the day in cosplay at ACOSTA in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district can be fun and exciting, but also expensive. Follow us as we show you how to cosplay on the cheap in Tokyo!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Cosplaying in Tokyo
Cosplaying in Japan has its own set of rules and etiquette. Not following these rules could get stares, or even unkind words by a passing obaa-san. Unlike most places in the West, cosplayers in Japan usually wait to put on their cosplays until they’re at the event or photoshoot, so unless you’re wearing a kimono in Asakusa, you generally want to stay in your own clothes when walking around the city.
Fortunately, certain events in Tokyo let cosplayers run free if only for a day, like ACOSTA in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine district. Though, you’ll probably still be stared at if you wander too far away from other cosplayers, don’t worry, you’ll be having too much fun to care!
Where to get your Cosplay for Cheap in Tokyo?
As shown in the video, one of the best places to get a cheap cosplay is in Akihabara. Most of the cheaper cosplays are second hand, but are thoroughly cleaned and without any damage (if the cosplay is damaged, usually they’ll have a tag letting you know how it’s damaged). Note that while most of the sizes are Japanese, Polka Polka have a plus-sized range for non-Japanese body types.
What is ACOSTA?
ACOSTA is a cosplay festival that happens several times each year, all over Japan. Unlike Comiket, which is a mix of cosplay, doujinshi and more, ACOSTA is a paid festival that facilitates cosplayers with changing rooms, backdrops and works with surrounding businesses to provide discounts to the attendees, or free items with a purchase of another.
The biggest ACOSTAs are in Osaka, located in the Dotonbori district and Tokyo, located in Ikebukuro (and the one we were able to go to for this challenge). Events happen throughout the year, so be sure to check out the ACOSTA website for more details.
ACOSTA Discounts and Where You Can Use Them
To be able to use the ACOSTA discounts, first you need to get into ACOSTA. You can buy your ticket before the event online and show your ticket, or buy it on the same day. We fully recommend that you buy your ticket online beforehand, as the lines are usually quite long and advanced-sale tickets get to go in first, giving you more time to put on your cosplay. As you can see from the video above, we got our hands on a Tsubasa Hanekawa cosplay from the Monogatari series.
You don’t need to cosplay to enjoy the day or discounts either. As a cosplayer, you’ll be given a sticker as your ticket, photographers get a wristband, which doesn’t let them into the changing rooms, but does let businesses know you’ll be taking photos. If the big camera around your neck didn’t let them know.
Event name: ACOSTA
Location: Sunshine City, Ikebukuro (Please check the website for up to date information)
Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM
Cost: 1,500 yen
Sky Circus Discount
Once the cosplay was put on, the first place we headed to was the Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observation Deck. Situated on the 60th floor of the Sunshine Building, you’re whisked up to the observation deck to get a great 360 view of Tokyo. On a good day you’d be able to see as far as Mt. Tsukuba in the north and Mt. Fuji to the south. While it was a bit overcast on the day we went, we were able to see both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree from the deck.
Even though it was very busy, (It was a Sunday!) we were able to get some lovely shots of the skyline with cosplay in it! The usual price of the observation deck is 1,200 yen, but with the ACOSTA discount, you can get half off!
Attraction: Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observation Deck
Location: Tickets and Elevator are on the B1 Floor of Sunshine City
Price Range: 600 yen (discounted from 1,200 yen)
More information: http://acosta.jp/sky-circus/
Tapioca and Churros Discounts
After being so high up in the sky, we were feeling a little peckish. There are many food and drink places around Sunshine City that have special rates for ACOSTA, including taiyaki, the Animate Cafe and even okonomiyaki! We had a sweet tooth and felt like getting something sugary.
Firstly, we picked up some Tapioca from Sisters in the new WACCA mall near Animate. Tapioca, also known as Boba in some parts of the world, has become a huge crazy in Japan over the last year, where you can regularly see lines take 30 minutes. The discount available here was 30 yen off the regular price, which made our chocolate milk tapioca taste all that more sweeter.
Tapioca Store information
Shop name: sisters by Animate Cafe
Street address: Inside WACCA 1-8-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013
Price Range: 350 yen – 500 yen (Discount is 30 yen)
Drinking didn’t fill us up though, so we headed over to Churros Star, just across the park from WACCA and down the road from Animate. Located in a little hole in the wall of Pronto, Churros Star is the most authentic churro in Tokyo. Presenting your pass here gives you a 50 yen discount on anything from the churros menu, other than the special sets they do for promotions.
Churros Store information
Shop name: Churros Star
Street address: 1-21-3 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013
Price Range: 250 yen – 450 yen (Discount is 50 yen)
Sunshine Aquarium Discount
You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at Sunshine City, but they have an Aquarium on the roof of Ikebukuro’s famous shopping mall. For the ACOSTA event, they allow cosplayers to come in and enjoy themselves freely whilst having photos taken with the atmosphere of cute aquatic animals in the background, making sure to abide by the flash photography rules in the darker sections of the facility.
From jellyfish, sharks, otters and penguins, the discount alone is worth making a trek up to the rooftop to enjoy the animals in cosplay. Like Sky Circus, being that it was a Sunday, there was a lot of people at the aquarium, and a lot of families. While ACOSTA’s rules state that your cosplay has to be suitable for the public, be aware that the little kids will stare at you, and the adults will likely be looking at you disapprovingly.
The usual price for the Sunshine Aquarium is 2,200 yen for adults. With the ACOSTA discount, you only have to pay 1,800 yen for a full day pass to see all the cute creatures! My favorite was the frogs!
Attraction name: Sunshine Aquarium
Street address: Rooftop of World Import Mart Building, Sunshine City, 3-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0013
Price Range: 1,800 yen (discounted from 2,200 yen)
More information: http://acosta.jp/aquarium/
Our final stop of the day was to sing our hearts out at Karaoke Mac on the 5th floor of the Sunshine Alpa building. You’ll be able to find it because it has the Book Off on the second floor and a cinema box office open to the street.
As with all the karaoke places in Tokyo, you can choose the machine and the type of room you’d like. For example, if you’re in a big cosplay group, you can have a stage with all the anime song openings at your fingertips. Karaoke Mac also has a drink bar that’s open to use if you get thirsty.
Being in cosplay, you’ll be able to sing your characters theme, like we did for Hanekawa, singing Sugar Sweet Nightmare from the first Monogatari series, Bakemonogatari. If you just come in cosplay, you can get 30% off the total price, but with the ACOSTA ticket, we got 50% off. Which capped off a fun day in cosplay in Tokyo.
Shop name: Karaoke Mac Ikebukuro Sunshine Street shop
Street address: Floor 5 1-22-10 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013
Price Range: Starting 1,400 yen per person for 3 hours before 7 PM (50% off with ACOSTA ticket)
More information: https://www.karaokemac.com/shop/ike_sunshine/shop_ike_sunshine.html
Is the ACOSTA discount worth it?
Let’s breakdown the costs and the ACOSTA discount we got for spending the whole day in cosplay.
- 1,500 yen for the ACOSTA tickets
- 600 yen for Sky Circus (600 yen saving)
- 320 yen for the tapioca (30 yen saving)
- 200 yen for the churro (50 yen saving)
- 1,800 yen for Sunshine Aquarium (400 yen saving)
- 700 yen for karaoke at Karaoke Mac (700 yen saving)
Totalling up all the savings together, we saved 1,780 yen on all the activities we participated in throughout the day, not including paying for the ticket to ACOSTA. Factoring the ticket in, we saved 280 yen total, which doesn’t seem like much, but being able to be in cosplay all day in Tokyo with the blessing of the city, many other cosplayers around you, and being able to use the ACOSTA facilities, who could put a price on that?