This weekend was the cosplay event in Tochigi Prefecture, at Shiobara onsen! It was really interesting, it was so similar to the hotel conventions we have in the Netherlands but I had no idea such things existed in Japan too!
We could go there directly by the JR highway bus, it was about three and a half hours. A long ride, but it took us all the way into the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and rocks, rivers, hot springs and even wild monkeys! Yes, monkeys! <3 I didn't think you'd see them outside of the zoos and parks, but they were just hanging out by the roadside near the town. =O Too bad I couldn't get a photo from the bus. u.u
It was funny how on the bus, and even before the ride, at Shinjuku station, you could tell exactly who was going to the event. There were pretty much only a couple of obaachans actually going there for the onsen, and all the other people were girls with huge suitcases buried in anime buttons and keychains. You could also already tell WHAT they were going to cosplay exactly, like the group carrying a basketball would obviously do Kuroko, and the group with country flags on their bags would do Hetalia X'D
Then we checked in at the Ryokan (Yamaguchiya
) , which was completely reserved for cosplayers. It turned out to be a fairly small place with just a few rooms (About 6 or 7 I think?), the first day we wondered if there were even any other people at all. I guess Ryokan staff is really good at making sure that the customers never see each other. ^^; The thing with the onsen photograpy also finally made sense to me; besides the public indoor and outdoor baths they also had two little private baths that you could reserve to use at a certain time with your group, and then you could lock it and do whatever you want inside, without getting any naked strangers in the background of your photos. =P They were outdoors, but surrounded by wooden fencing on three sides and looking out over a Japanese style garden and pond on the other side. All the outdoors baths actually looked out over that same garden, but the fencing made sure you couldn't see any other baths from the bath you were in. As for getting your camera / cosplay / wigs wet, that seemed to be your own responsibility, as there were no specific rules for using the onsen. When we arrived and checked in at the ryokan there was only one other group that had made a reservation, and it didn't seem like there'd be much more people coming soon (the actual event started on Sunday), so we reserved it for an hour two times; once in the afternoon to take pictures in yukata and once in the evening to actually use the bath. XD
What reminded me of Dutch events is that it was okay to walk around in the entire town in cosplay. Well, in the Netherlands we just do that without really having to ask anyone anything, but here it seems like they'd made arrangements for cosplayers with all the shops and restaurants within a certain area, and we got a printed map of all the places we were allowed to go. It was also allowed to show up for breakfast at the Ryokan in cosplay, but besides us only the Kuroko and Hetalia groups seemed to make use of that. I still find it funny how awkward Japanese people seem to feel walking around in cosplay in public, they should realize that it feels exactly the same as walking around anywhere in Japan in public while looking foreign; you get stared at no matter what you wear. So maybe that's why we just don't care, I dunno. X'D And our costumes weren't even that "costume-y" at all, we did Tenipuri so it was just jerseys and school uniforms. ^^;
I didn't take a lot of pictures with my camera, my friend had brought a really awesome camera so we took most cosplay photos on that. But here's some photos I took of the scenery to get an idea what it's like, and some I sneaked of Niou and Yagyuu's rabu-rabu
onsen date. X'P( Photos~Collapse )