When it comes to the source of all things anime, everyone thinks of Japan. And among Japanese cities, the most well-known is Tokyo. Well, has anyone ever heard of Kitakyushu?
A small city in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka, Kitakyushu is a mere 1-hour flight from Seoul, a little known and even less talked-about Japanese city among foreign tourists. What my wife and I found there during a weekend trip was a town where the culture was interwoven with anime, manga, and everything that Japan has to offer to avid supporters of otaku culture. Some examples are shown below:
At the center of this anime-interwoven society is AruAru City- a dream come true for any anime lovers. For my wife and I, who are mere casual appreciators of anime culture, this was a place we had been curious about. What we experienced could only be described as a massive sensory overload of everything anime.
The building itself consists of 6 floors. Each with a variety of anime-related shops. Rather than going into lengthy explanations, I will let the images and captions speak for themselves, starting with:
Guests entering from the bottom floor will be greeted by a maid cafe. And yes, the waitress do dress as maids. Right across from that is a large manga bookstore.
There’s also an entrance from the second floor. Guests who enter through there will be greeted by a life-size Devilman and Mario.