About the latest pop culture in Kyoto

Manga Museum

Kyoto Seika University, an arts university in Kyoto, surprisingly has a faculty of manga. And Seika University, together with Kyoto City, is running Kyoto International Manga Museum. International Manga Museum was renovated from the building of Tatsuike Primary School which was built in 1929. The museum was opened in 2006. It exhibits 50,000 manga (visitors can freely read them!) and holds special exhibitions based on the studies done by Seika University. It is the facility where visitors can enjoy learning the history of animation and manga. It is truly a mecca for “otaku.” There are chairs and benches here and there in the facility so that visitors can comfortably read manga.

The museum also houses Japanese manga from all over the world that have been translated into English, Chinese, Korean and many other languages. You can enjoy learning about the works of manga artists and the techniques that are unique to Japanese manga such as onomatopoeia, for example, through illustrations.

A cosplay event is held at the museum sometimes and many people who are dressed up as a manga character get together and enjoy exchanging conversation. Events that could be held only in the Manga Museum such as a demonstration of manga making are also held. (Please go to the official website of the museum for the event schedule.) The Manga Museum is a popular tourist attraction in Kyoto and about 10% of the visitors are non-Japanese.

Kyoto International Manga Museum
Address: Oike agaru, Karasuma-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Live music clubs in Kyoto – Music scene

In Kyoto, there are more than 50 live music venues small and large and you can enjoy a variety of live music every day. Unlike the big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, one of the charms of music scene in Kyoto is that the proximity of the audience to the performer.

Renovated from an old sake brewery in Kyoto, Jittoku, a live music club is said to be the oldest one in the Kansai music scene along with Takutaku. This club has a Japanese style interior and allows you to experience the Japanese underground music. It is a recommended club.

Address: 815, Hishiya-cho, Shimodachiuri-sagaru, Omiya-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-city

Lively contemporary art

There are many key persons in contemporary art such as Kenji Yanobe and Yasumasa Morimura who have graduated from an arts university in Kyoto. It may be because they have refined their senses in a city where the old and the new co-exist. There are many arts schools in Kyoto.

Kenji Yanobe is famous for the large size works such as Giant TORAYAN, a 7.2-meter tall giant robot that moves (even breathes fire!), and for the satiric works that poignantly point out the issues of today’s society. Kenji Yanobe is the director of the art studio in Kyoto “ULTRA FACTORY and is engaged in fostering younger artists and presenting his own works.



It is fun to walk around in Kyoto. You will find shops with a good taste such as the stylish cafes that make you say “Wow!” and the sundries shops that are renovated from old buildings. Unlike other tourist cities, Kyoto is the city where the aesthetic senses of not only Edo and Meiji periods but also the older periods co-exists with today’s youth culture. Please take time to experience Kyoto whose charm goes beyond historic buildings.

* Written with the help of Hisakazu Kakeba, Professor of Department of Sociology, Kansai University.