Kyoto International Manga Museum: A Comic Lover’s Paradise

The Status of Manga and other Print Media in Today’s Society

Print media had been losing its popularity because of the rising prominence of digital devices. Paperback books, hardbound texts, comics, and even magazines have been experiencing a decline in sales in the last decade. Through the years, readers had been losing interesting in purchasing printed items because of many factors. This may include the lack of affordability, books and manga can be expensive for some people. Money invested in these items are seen as luxuries than necessities and letting them sit on a shelf to accumulate dust can be a bit wasteful.

Another factor that may have contributed to the declining interest of people in books and manga can be the lack of time. People nowadays have too many activities on their schedule. They have to go to work and go to the gym or a class after work. Then when they get home, they have errands to run. During their free time, they have the TV and the internet to work for them. There are apps for everything, games that eat up the tiniest bit of free time left on a person’s schedule. Too much distraction can lead away someone’s interest in books and manga.

One other factor people lose interest in reading is the fact that books and manga are turned into animated and live-action editions. If readers (except for ultimate fans, of course) know that they can simply watch the story instead of taking time to read them, not many would take time to even open a leaf.

Because of this publication companies have started to sell their products digitally at slightly lower costs. There are now scanned versions of manga, eBooks, and even audio-version of their products. This is to widen their market and entice millennials to read (or listen to) books and manga once again.

Purpose of the Manga Museum

One of the main purposes of the Manga Museum is to entice and encourage one’s love for the once popular Japanese comic. One of the things that the Manga Museum capitalizes on would be fandom. Fans of a certain manga or anime are those who are always updated with the latest gigs. The manga museum hopes to create more fans in readers and anime watchers through the use of their exhibits.

The place allows people to have a closer and more meaningful experience with the characters from the comics through their exhibits. It is also a way for people to find joy again in reading the colorful pages that they have wandered in their childhoods.

To promote appreciation in the manga, the museum has a collection of about 250,000 comics that visitors can read anywhere in the museum grounds. This collection includes French-Belgian comics, manhua or Chinese comics, and manhwa or Korean comics. Guests may not be allowed to take them out of the museum but at least the readers have options of choosing from a wide variety of genres available. This is in hopes that older fans can relive their childhood fandom and younger guests can learn to appreciate printed media once again.

All about the Kyoto Manga Museum

Displays, Exhibits, and More

First Floor

In the Kyoto International Manga Museum, there is what they call as the Wall of Manga. Unlike other “walls” from different museums, this is actually not a tribute or a piece of artwork. The Wall of Manga is a touch device that allows guest to look through and search the library database of the museum. Manga has categorized alphabetically with the use of the author’s name. Since manga can be borrowed and read anywhere in the museum, this is a helpful tool for guests.

Also on the first floor would be the Children’s library that exhibits child-friendly books and materials. There is also a workshop and a manga studio that helps individuals hone their skills and passion in animation. The museum shop, first aid station, information corner, and the café can also be found on the first floor.

By Peat Bakke [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Among the main attractions of this floor would be the Exhibition of 100 Maiko illustrations. Maiko is apprentice geishas which used to line the streets of age-old Kyoto. These are high-class entertainers which dance, sing, and play music in front of honorable guests. These are drawings, sculptures, and artworks of Kyoto Maiko as illustrated and interpreted by different artists.

Second Floor

The second floor of the Kyoto Manga Museum has much more exhibitions than the first. This floor presents all the meat of manga – from its basic production process to the most famous artist. There are memorial rooms for famous writers like Tatsuike.

There is the Main Gallery which shows readers and guests what manga is all about. It shows a history of manga and the main library for which all their comic book collection can be found. This gallery shows the development of manga through time and how it has evolved from hand-drawn craft to computer-aided products. There is also an exhibit showing how manga is made and the step by step process of its editing and publication.

There are also four gallery spaces available on this floor which presents special exhibitions – be it a book signing, first reading, fan meet, and more. Usually, these special galleries are open for artists, publishers, and TV personalities.

Third Floor

The third floor is basically known as the Research Reference Room or Research Room. Its main purpose is to provide a resource center for manga developers. They have archives and catalogs of the manga which has been produced through time. Entry to this part of the museum is free but there are restrictions as to how many people can get in at a time. It also requires pre-registration online It is open between 10:00 AM and 4:45 PM with a 15-minute break after 1:15 PM.

By Tatyana Temirbulatova (originally posted to Flickr as Kyoto Manga Museum) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kyoto manga Museum Portraits

One of the main attractions of the Manga Museum is the Anime Portrait booth where visitors are transformed into their animated version by local artists. Usually, the animator can take 30 minutes to an hour to finish an entire portrait. One thing to remember about this is the fact that the queue is quite long so it is best to visit the museum quite early for the portrait booth.

MAMYU the Mascot

The Kyoto International Manga Museum has a mascot of its own named MAMYU. This character is a bunny like a creature whose ear ends are designed with a manga pen. It has a bright green traditional scarf known as a Furoshiki. Many say that it is actually not a scarf but a bag made out of cloth that is filled with comic books. He is bright yellow and has a gigantic pink M on his tummy. His favorite food is Dorayaki and his birthday is on November 25th.

Kyoto Manga Museum Japan guide

Kyoto Manga Museum Access

There are different ways to access the Kyoto Manga Museum. One way is via the Karasuma and Tozai subway lines. People can get off at the Karasuma Oike subway stop and take a few minutes walk from there to the museum. The travel time usually takes about 5 minutes from the Kyoto station for a small price of 210 yen.

By Maplestrip (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Another way to access the Kyoto Manga Museum would be via the JR train lines. Travelers can take the Karasuma line going to Oike and get off at the Kintetsu Kyoto Station. From the Exit 2, people can take a short walk going to the museum. They will be able to pass by the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Nijo Castle which are both located on Oike street.  

Kyoto Manga Museum Hours

Opening hours of the museum are only about seven hours every day. They open at 10:00 AM and close at about 6:00 PM. They only allow entry until 5:30 PM. Usually, the manga museum is open on a daily basis except for Wednesday for maintenance. Usually, they are also closed for the New Year celebrations. Throughout the year, there are also irregular maintenance days especially when there are new exhibits to be set up.

Kyoto Manga Museum price

Admission to the museum usually costs about 800 yen without time restrictions. There are additional fees for special exhibitions which are displayed only for a limited time. For an opportunity to spend an entire day sprawled out in the museum courtyard, reading comics in the shade the admission fee for the museum is already definitely worth every yen. The museum is also quite easy to access so there would be no hassle or excess expenses when looking for the place.

Kyoto Manga Museum Shop

The entire facility is definitely enjoyable for both young and the young at heart. There are original postcards of old-school manga and anime which have been produced at the same time their manga were published. These are usually 150 yen each. There are MAMYU inspired cookies which are sold at almost 900 yen. Of course, there would be MAMYU inspired goodies. There are MAMYU plush, phone straps, stationeries, and even postcards. There are refrigerator magnets, purses, and socks.

However, the ultimate haul would definitely be the shop’s best products – original MANGA. There are English translations of popular manga such as Naruto, Dragon Ball, and One Piece. There are also other manga-related books like Encyclopedia and more.

Do’s and Don’ts when going to the Kyoto Manga Museum

There are strict regulations for guest and museum visitors who wish to have a full-on experience of the exhibits. The first, and probably the most important, would be the fact that taking photos inside the exhibitions is not allowed. This is to provide copyright protection to the writers and the publishers.

Another interesting thing is the fact that there are no parking spaces available inside the museum. It is upon the request of the curators and museum keepers that visitors take public transport going to the place. However, they do have spots for bicycle storage up to about 80 individuals.

For PWDs, the museum is fully equipped with access ramps, guides, assistance and more. There are elevators, accessible restrooms, and parking spaces available for PWDs. Free admission is given to PWDs – these may include bomb survivors, mobility impairments, cognitive disabilities, hearing loss, and more. Assistants that come together with principal PWDs are given free access as well.

Kyoto Manga Museum Review

Kyoto is home to Japan’s rich culture and history. It is home to castles, traditional ryokans, centuries-old cherry blossom viewing parks and more. However, since its glory days, it has fully developed into a modernized and globalized city. Manga is the modern take on Japanese literature. What better way to enjoy the modern deliciousness of Japanese literature than in one of the most historical cities in the country.

Manga and anime are among Japan’s pride and glory when it comes to art and literature. It is a way for local artists of Japan to introduce their culture to the international community. It is a way for outsiders to get a feel and look at how the daily life of a Japanese individual go about (when reading the non-fantasy manga).  

The International Kyoto Manga Museum is a great place to visit especially on days when the weather is cold or rainy. Since it is located at the city center, there are a number of hotels that are ready for booking within the area.  

Overall, the Kyoto Manga Museum serves what it promises. It is a great place to visit for both children and adults alike. What many visitors like best about the museum is the fact that it is quite generous with its products and exhibits. There are nooks for reading scores upon scores of books and comics as long as it is within the opening hours. For foreign visitors, there are English translations available for some collections. Exhibits also have translations as well. There are guided tours available for the full maximization of the museum facilities. Even the official website of the museum is translated into English.

On the one hand, other than the grand collection of comic books and the research facility in the museum, there are not that many exhibits available. The Main Gallery is the largest exhibit in the entire museum and it does not really provide all the information governing manga and its development.