[Ad - we received a press pass for the day - all opinions are totally our own]
My oh my! If you know my family, you may know that two of our kids live, sleep and breathe anime on a daily basis. The husband is a big fan too. It is on our TV every night and Shannon will sit and draw anime characters every single night too. Personally I am more of a Studio Ghibli fan myself but these three adore Fairytail, Seven Deadly Sins and My Hero Academia to name but a few.
As soon as my daughter heard about this year's Hyper Japan Festival in London she was begging me to take her. This was Hyper Japan's 10th year and it takes place in Olympia every July across the weekend (July 12-14, 2019).
We chose to go on the Sunday and we took along Shannon's friend Scarlett (who is also a fan of everything Japanese). The doors open at 9.00am on both Saturday and Sunday. You will have your bags searched when you arrive and there is also a cloak room should you need to use it.
As soon as you enter you will be amazed by all of the Cosplay and Lolita style outfits that people are wearing! Shannon chose to dress as Mavis from Fairytail and had a few people come over and ask if they could take a photo with her, she was pretty chuffed. Scarlett also got lots of compliments about her t-shirt which she had designed herself.
The festival is on two floors, there are lifts and it is wheelchair-friendly, although it does get very busy. Downstairs there were loads of stalls, as well as the stage where a Cosplay competition was on and areas where martial arts demonstrations were taking place. There were also areas where arts and crafts were happening.
The girls love Tofu Cute and Art Box and spent a long time looking at their stalls. It was also great to see Japan Crate there, we have visited them in Camden Market. There were lots of stalls offering samples of Sake for the adults!
Upstairs the girl's were in awe of all of the stalls, we spent ages looking through each one. If you are going next time I would recommend taking some cash although most stalls did except card payments.
At the back of the upstairs area you will find the Japan Food Show, my brother had given me a tip to walk through and try some of the free food samples. It was very busy here but we did manage to sample some noodles and katsu chicken. There were cooking demonstrations happening throughout the weekend too.
The queues for the food stalls were pretty big, there were soups, noodles and yakitori. What caught the kids eyes were the bubble waffles. Although they were £7 each, as they had not asked for anything else we treated them (this stall was cash only). These waffle pouches were filled with ice cream and whipped cream and toppings of your choice.
There were lots of characters wandering around and plenty of props to have photos taken next to. Finley loved the arcade games in the Akihabra zone and he also loved meeting Rilakkuma!
I have asked the kids to say what they all enjoyed the most:
Shannon 11: "I liked how kind everyone was to us and that all the stalls were decorated really nicely."
Scarlett 10: "I liked all the pastel colours and that the lady on a stall was really nice about my t-shirt and she said one day I would be here with my own stall."
Finley 7: "I liked everything! Playing on the computer games, eating Pocky and meeting Rilakkuma."
I can safely say, it was a huge success and the kids are already asking about the next one!