Kyoto International Manga Museum • 京都国際マンガミュージアム

It's like, one of those places that is BOUND to pop up somewhere in Japan, but when i actually heard about it, my first thoughts were "Really, eh? A Manga Museum! Who would've thought?"

The second shock I got was when I visited the place. It's not an underground project by some well known artist, the Kyoto International Manga Museum was developed jointly by Kyoto City and Kyoto Seika University. The term 'international' is taken very seriously; their website comes in English, Korean and Chinese, lots of information throughout the museum is available in other languages, and whaddya know, they have an international manga collection, in a BUNCH of different languages. It's all donated as well!

The land and the building, the former Tatsuike Primary School, located a very short walk from Subway Karasuma-Oike, was donated by the city for the project. It still has the charm of an old school. The floorboards creak when you walk around. Lots of old school memorabilia is on display. Apparently it was put together with the consent and support of the local residents. It's an excellent use of an old, publicly owned building. The renovations are superb. The playground has even been AstroTurfed.

It's a hive of a place. Head there on a weekend, and it's really alive. They have a Manga Studio • マンガ工房 corner, where you can see the real artwork in progress (as long as you don't bump the table). I watched a nice young lass at it for a whole 10 minutes, and she was just putting bromide shadows on some bushes she had drawn. Hard work!

You can get your portrait done manga style, There's a good permanent exhibition of 100 Maikos by 100 manga artists, dontated to the Manga Museum when it opened. You can also go a see a Historical Manga Performance done with sliding pictures and excellently narrated! There are a couple of great galleries, there's a good kids corner, there's a cafe/bar out front...

It's like a supersento... no, no it's not. It's like an amusement park... no wait not that either. But it's kind of like both in a few ways; there's lots to do all in the same building, and you don't feel like leaving the place before you've had a look at some of them.

A short walk from Kyoto Subway Karasuma Oike, entrance ¥500 for Adults.

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