|Picture by Hazuki
The Cosplay studio crown is a studio located near to the Akihabara train station in the center of Tokyo. It is about 5 minutes walk from the station. The studio offers 6-7 different settings, which you can use to make pictures in your Cosplay. You also can rent goods, cameras or camera equipment there and also Cosplays, if you didn’t bring an own one. You are allowed to use the pictures for your personal promotion and Cosplay goods.
The operating times from the studio are 10 am to 10 pm. You pay for the entry once for a designated time and can use the location you like to, as long as they are not occupied by other Cosplayers.
The fees for the 3 hours time frame are quite cheap compared to other studios:
The Studio is located at the 5th floor of a grey building. If you don’t know the address or notice the small sign of this studio, you will most likely pass it. If you found the building, just go into the elevator and get to the 5th floor. Stepping out from the elevator the studio is located to your left.
If you go in you need to put out your shoes first and go to the counter. Just tell the counter which time frame you desire, pay and you will get a number. The staff keeps track of the time with this number. You need to give it back at the end of the rental in time. This means you need to change in this certain time frame.
As everywhere in Japan, it is not allowed to come in Cosplay to the location or the studio. You are required to bring the costume with you and change at the studio or the event. After paying and getting your number you go to the changing room and change into your costume.
The changing room:
The changing room has a lot of space, some mirrors, a cloth racket, dryer, tissues, cotton pads and Q tips. They also provide a comb or bobby pins for a small fee. There is also a board where you can put your belongings into. Sadly there are no lockers like in the Hacostadium. But because it is Japan, I doubt someone will steal your belongings as long there are no valuable things inside.
After changing I put my normal cloths into my back and put it into the board. If you want to use shoes, which you also wore outside once before, you are supposed to wipe them clean before stepping out to the locations. So I wiped my shoes and got my wallet and Smartphone and left the changing room.
The Studio Crown is compared to the other studios I ve seen so far quite small. But they still have some nice settings. You can choose between 6-7 different settings and also can rent some Cosplay items or camera equipment.
The most rental goods require a rental fee. Some goods can be rented for free. As far as I could see small ladders and reflectors are provided for free. If you want to rent something, take you number and go to the counter. Tell them what you want to rent and they give it to you. If you want to return it, show your number again. You pay when you check-out.
During the shooting you can take a break and get free tea or water.
I really like this service. You can sit down, check the pictures and rest.
I took some pictures of the different shooting locations:
Like at all the other studios, you have to bring your own photographer. But they also seems to offer an full experience course, where you can get make up, costume and also a photo shooting with a photographer provided by the studio. For this package you need to reserve beforehand.
You are allowed to use all locations to your liking and also to change between them.
Just be careful not to disturb other Cosplayers or to block for a too long time a location. Japanese Cosplayers don’t wait openly, but others might be interested in shooting at this location, even if you don’t recognize. Also be sure not to take pictures of other Cosplayers if you haven’t asked them for permission.
If you have problems or need assistance you can always ask the staff. Just keep in mind they only speak Japanese. (But if you book the package, I guess there will be some English speaking stuff, because the package is targeting foreigners and is only available at the English website.).
|Picture with the help of the staff by Hazuki
After the shooting:
When you finished with your shooting, keep in mind that the time frame also includes your changing time. So you need to change about 30 minutes before your time runs up. You just go back to the changing room, change back and return your card with the number to the counter. If everything is ok, they will thank you for using the studio. If you overstepped your time or rented things, they will charge you.
If you still have time try out to write into their guestbook. You can put some pictures inside, draw something or just write a message. I really liked to go through it, because a lot of foreigners seem to visit this studio and wrote very interesting and nice things.
What I really appreciate is the location and the easy system.
The studio is located in the center of Tokyo, just 5 minutes walk from the Akihabara JR station. You neither need to reserve, nor to get a membership. So even if you are a foreigner, it is super easy to use this studio. You don’t need to provide an ID card and also don’t need a Japanese address. Like everywhere the staff couldn’t speak English. But I saw that they are quite accustomed to foreigners, because I saw a lot of signs in English and Japanese. I also like the idea about the Cosplay experience package, where you can get Make up, a Cosplay and even pictures.
Compared to the other studios the 3 hours course for 1.700 Yen seems quite cheap. But it does not include a lot of free rental items and also don’t include amenities like bobby pins, brushes, wig sprays etc like the Hacostadium. I personally don’t need it, because I mostly bring my own things, but I saw that a lot of Cosplayers are making use of that service. They also only provide about 6-7 settings, this isn’t much if you compare it to Hacostadium. But you need to keep in mind, that space is very rare in Tokyo. Especially in Akihabara in the very center of this town.
|Picture by Hazuki
In my opinion it is a good choice for first timers, who want to experience the Japanese way of Cosplay and to try out a studio without the hassle of getting a member ship or getting through the language barrier. You don’t need to fight against the other Cosplayers for your space in the changing room and even have proper chairs and mirrors to get ready. Because of a limited number of settings you can concentrate more on one setting and get used to it. I also liked it, that you can go shopping and get some nice food with friends before or after the shooting. The location is a big plus!
Operating hours: 10 am – 10 pm (no closing days)
Free: 1.700 en -5.500 en
Address: 2 Chome-4-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-8111, Japan (5th floor)
|Picture by Meermiau
Japan is the wonderland for every Cosplayer.
You have shops where you can get wigs, Cosplays and accessories. You have Cosplay events and even photo studios with a Cosplayerfriendly environment.
For Japanese Cosplayer, using a Cosplay photo studio is very common.
Instead of wandering around and searching for the perfect location you just look up a photo studio with a suitable setting and just booked it.
Cosplay photo studios in Japan have special furnished rooms with a themed setting (and if you need; just a white/ black wall).
Most of the studios are providing several settings to fulfill the needs of their customers. They also have changing rooms, lockers and are equipped with amenities like hairspray, bobby pins and more. Most of the studios also provide camera (equipment) and Cosplay accessory rental.
|Picture by Meermiau
The most important things you should know:
1. Cosplay photo studios are not made for foreigners.
If you cannot speak Japanese, you should learn it or take a Japanese speaking friend with you.
At some studios you need to fill out Japanese forms to get in.
English speaking staff is very rare (like everywhere in Japan). I once visited a studio with friends and the staff where searching non stop for me, because they wanted to speak with my friends. Although my friends are very considerable they nearly got kicked out. Japanese studios have a lot of rules and most of them aren’t obvious. Of course the rules are displayed but only in Japanese.
I also red that even Japanese students or people who lived several years in Japan had problems regarding to the forms and communication. So be prepared.
If you cannot bring a Japanese speaking friend or speak Japanese there are a few studios which are used to foreigners. You can recognize them easily: they offer an English website and reservation. But be aware that English website doesn’t mean that the staff can speak English.
I would recommend Studio crown in Akihabara (Tokyo). A friend of mine owns this studio. She can understand German and speaks fluently English, because she lived abroad.
Her studio also offers a special Cosplay dressing and photo service for foreigners.
2. Also be aware that you need to book some studios before head.
The website is mostly Japanese and due to security reasons and pictures as buttons you cannot translate via Google translate (or other services) easily.
My Japanese friend recommends always reserving the studio before head. At some studios you need a membership to get in. The reservation progress can be very complicated and might require a Japanese address or phone number.
We couldn’t reserve before head, because my friends couldn’t create an online account so we just walked in. I guess, as long it is a share studio and you are going for a normal working day it should be fine. If you want to get a private room or to shoot on holidays you should reserve.
Of course it depends on the studio itself.
3. Always dress up at the studio and change back to your normal cloths after the shooting.
In Japan there is an unspoken rule to change at the location itself.
If you come dressed in Cosplay they might refuse your entry.
The studios are providing a changing room, lockers and a Cosplay friendly environment. You should know that the changing room will be a big hall where everyone will sit on he floor and change.
You should bring a small mirror and try not to spread you things too much in order to leave as much space as possible for other visitors.
4. Don’t cut your wig in the changing room and always clean your shoes before entering a setting.
Sometimes you even have to put off your shoes.They mostly provide special tissues for the shoes, a shoe shelf and rooms for wig cutting. Some studios also have rules regarding to the skirt length or that you have to wear a shorts under your shirt.
If you are the one taking pictures, be aware that there are often regulations regarding the camera equipment. Because some settings are the hallway itself (which everyone uses to move around) you are maybe not allowed to use more than one soft box and only a limited number of flashes.
5. The most studios don’t provide a photo service.
Japanese Cosplayers are mostly visiting the studios in a group and are taking pictures of each other.
It is quite uncommon to come with your own photographer.
You can rent a camera + equipment at the studio itself. Cosplayers at a studio normally don’t communicate much with other Cosplayers and are staying in their group.
So if you want to make new friends a studio might be the wrong place.
Japan has a big variety of Cosplay photo studios. You can mostly rent them for 1 hour, 3 hours, half a day and a whole day. Some rental time does include your changing time some not. Just be careful to check it if you are going for a Cosplay that takes some more time to change in order not to use up your precious shooting time.
You can divide the studios into 3 different main types:
1. The share studio
At the share studio you are paying an entry fee per person and are free to use every setting which is not occupied.
You are paying an affordable fee and can use a lot of different settings. It is kind of “all you can shoot”. If you forgot to reserve you can try to get a ticket right on that day and hope that there are still tickets left.
The disadvantage: If you want to use a certain setting you might have to wait and you cannot occupy a space for several hours, because other people might wait for this certain setting (Japanese people won’t wait obviously).
Because some settings are placed at the hallway and you are sharing the space with other foreign people. You have to obey a lot of rules and always have to consider other Cosplayer using this studio.
About 1.000 en (1 hour) to 5.000 yen (10 hours)
|Picture by Meermiau
2. Private studios
You also have the possibility to rent a private studio.
You are paying a fee per room (or a group of rooms). Because you are renting the room for your usage only, be prepared to pay for it.
Because you are paying per room, you have the possibility to invite friends for a shooting and to share the costs. Although it is expensive at the first glance it might become affordable. If you want to rent a private studio, a reservation is required and a reservation in Japanese might become very challenging.
It might be more expensive than a share studio, but you can use the place more freely without worrying about other foreign Cosplayers and disturbances.
Because the share studios are cheaper, you will find a lot of pictures taken at the same setting again and again. So if you are searching for a more unique setting, I would recommend going for a private studio.
About 3000 yen (1 hour) to unlimited
|Shooting at a Hotel
Some Hotels are offering a Cosplay photo studio service next to their main business. Or if you are going to stay in a very special hotel /Ryokan just ask them if you can shoot there.
You are just booking a room (mostly special furnished ones or with features like a pool) and just use it as a shooting location. Some hotels are offering their rooms for rental at the day time and for staying at the night time. Some Hotels also offer both.
Normally you are paying per room (or per person if you also want to stay in this room). They are mostly not equipped with rental services, don’t have Cosplay related staff and changing rooms.
Bear in mind that their main business is not to be a Cosplay studio. But these rooms are mostly equipped with an en suite bathroom. So changing and getting ready is possible in a private environment.
You also can share the hotel room to save money and to stay over with friends after the shooting. It is a nice combination if you want to spend a night in a nice Hotel and to take some pictures.
About 4000 en (1 hour) to unlimited
In Japanese Cosplay studios you can rent camera equipment, light equipment and a variety of accessories.
So you don’t have to bring more than Cosplays and Make-up. It is a quite comfortable service particularly if you are coming from oversees and struggle with your limited baggage space.
1. Cameras and equipment:
The most studios offer free reflectors and are using artificial day light to light up the studios. But if you still want to use a soft box or flash you can rent it right at the studio itself. Nearly every studio also offers a camera rental.
Some studios are only providing Nikon or Canon equipment. So it might be difficult to get a fitting flash.
I also saw that the prices are varying from studio to studio. Some studios are offering a free rental for 2 hours, some 300 yen per hour, and some 300 yen for a whole day. So be sure to check the prices in order to get the equipment you want and not to spent a fortune.
|Rentel items at studio crown
2. Cosplay accessories:
Most of the studios are offering a rental service for Cosplay accessories like micros, schoolbags, fake food, umbrellas etc.
This service also varies from studio to studio. While one studio might offer a very limited choice the other studio might have so many accessories, that you have difficulties to choose. Some studios tend to give them out for free, while other studios charge you per item.
I really love to use accessories so I tend to choose my studios (next to the entry fee and settings) based on the variety of accessories. Until now I only used studios which are giving their Cosplay accessories out for free.
Also be careful when you are choosing a studio. The entry fee might be very cheap but if you intend to rent equipment or additional items it might be cheaper to go for a more expensive one.
I hope that this guide might help you for your next time in Japan.
I really recommend every Cosplayer to visit once a Cosplay photo studio. Compared to Germany the shooting possibilities seem unlimited.
It is really a great feeling to shoot at a Cosplayerfriendly environment and to shoot at special locations freely without worrying about publishing rights, unaffordable fees and people who are not familiar with Cosplay.
Next time I will right about the Cosplay studio and the Hotel I used during my last Japan trips.