Part museum, part reading room, the Kyoto International Manga Museum is devoted to Japanese manga and boasts the world’s largest collection of manga related work.
Opened in 2006 in an old elementary school, the museum is popular with older kids and teenagers and anyone with a love or fascination with manga. The museum has recently updated several exhibits to include more English explanation and if you wish to learn more about this unique aspect of Japanese popular culture, all is explained in the museum’s main exhibition: ‘What is Manga?’ Expect comprehensive displays of popular and influential manga through the ages and an exploration of manga’s history and social significance.
Visitors are free to peruse the extensive collections and retire to the café to enjoy a read. Museum Café MM has recently reopened and now has a larger space and new menu – no doubt to keep all the serious manga addicts happy!
Should you tire of the collection there’s plenty more to see at the museum. On permanent display are 100 drawings of maiko (apprentice geisha), sketched by different manga artists and you can visit the Manga Studio to see professional manga artists at work.
Depending on the time of your visit you may be able to watch a traditional story-telling performance called Kamishibai or take part in a ‘manga making’ drawing workshop. You can even have your portrait painted by a manga artist!
The Kyoto International Manga Museum is a 2-minute walk from the Karasuma-Oike Subway Station and is open every day except Wednesday. Admission costs 800 yen (special exhibitions not included).