An Inn that Supports Cosplay: Cosplay Ryokan Ishikawasou



If you’re a cosplayer who does regular on-location photoshoots

you might have already heard of the Japanese-style inn Ishikawasou. But if you haven’t, we highly encourage you to read on so that you can find a new place to add to your list! In fact, we had the pleasure of interviewing the owner of Ishikawasou, Natsue Hirano.


The exterior of Ishikawasou, the cosplay-friendly Inn


Saruhiko Fushimi from K Project


I started off with a question that I’m sure she hears all the time. Why is Ishikawasou so welcoming to cosplayers?


“In the summer, the Nasu Highlands are always bustling with tourists, but in the winter, nobody really comes here. It’s so quiet that sometimes we have to close up shop. So when I consulted with my mother, who is also an owner, we started talking about welcoming cosplayers.”


That makes sense! The Nasu Highlands are famous not only for their beautiful scenery but also for their many theme parks. Since the area’s not so far from Tokyo, it’s probably a great place to do on-location photoshoots for Kanto-based cosplayers. Sadly, it’s probably not the first place cosplayers think of.


Niki Fushimi from K Project


Reisi Munata from K Project




An Idea Born from a Cosplaying Couple

“Right? I understand because my husband and I are both cosplayers too. My mother at first didn’t like the idea. You know how people who’ve never been involved with cosplay or doujin activities don’t really understand it?”


That’s true. Someone who doesn’t know cosplay might worry about cosplayers ruining the scenery or making too much noise. 


Malleus Draconia from Twisted-Wonderland


Malleus Draconia from Twisted-Wonderland


“Eventually I got my mother to agree, and gradually we got more and more cosplayer guests. Now it’s been five and a half years.”


After just one year of welcoming cosplayers, they made up fifty percent of Ishikawasou’s customer base. You might call this place a holy ground for cosplayers. 


Deuce Spade from Twisted-Wonderland




Overlooking the Profit?! What Happened to the Business Perspective?

The interesting thing is the different levels of service offered to cosplay customers and regular customers. You’d expect that cosplayers would pay a little premium to get to use the facility, right?


“Actually…it’s kind of hard to say, but…”


Hm? Maybe she doesn’t feel comfortable publicizing the prices?


“Cosplayer customers actually pay less…Usually about 1,000 yen.”




“They also get special locker rentals, and can even check in earlier than regular guests. We also offer them a special day trip plan. I mean…they have to change and do all these preparations in order to do cosplay, so out of consideration for that…”


Wait, wait, wait. Don’t the regular customers complain that the cosplayers get to stay cheaper?


“Ah, no…not yet (laughs). Since the cosplay plan is cheaper, regular customers often try to book that, but if they don’t do cosplay we have them switch over to the regular plan.”


Tomioka Giyuu from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba


Tomioka Giyuu from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba


Tomioka Giyuu from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba


But…does that even work from a business perspective?!


“I know…What’s more, we also offer cosplayers transportation to photoshoot locations, and sometimes it takes all day. Some of the far-away spots are 40 minutes away by car.”


…Does that even make a profit?


Shiromi from Twin Star Exorcists


“To be honest, since we’re trying to make it as cheap as we can for cosplayers, it can be a little tight…But I love to see the cosplay photos taken here at Ishikawasou and in Nasu. Seeing those pictures is reward enough, so we keep doing our best! I’ve also been using them to decorate the ryokan. In terms of how to make profit….do you guys have any ideas? (laughs)”


So carefree! But to do something just because you love it, without concern for the money…that in itself is a splendid example of doujin activity. Whatever we can do to help, just say the word!


Benimaru Shinmon from Fire Force


Benimaru Shinmon from Fire Force



Supporting the Town and Cosplay Culture

By the way, Nasu is actually known as a relatively cosplay-friendly area. Their famous theme park, Nasu Highland Park, as well as the local Trick Art Museum both host cosplay events. 


Ayamike: Ishikawasou’s Original Character 


Ayamike: Ishikawasou’s Original Character 


“There’s actually a cosplay sightseeing venture in Nasu, called NasuCosu. I work as a representative for it. I’d like to gradually spread the word that Nasu is a place where you can enjoy cosplay, and I also want to help people working in the Nasu tourism industry to better understand cosplay. Rather than working to earn money, I’d love for them to work to be welcoming to cosplayers.”


A hand towel design featuring Ishikawasou’s original character


What a strength of heart Mrs. Hirano must have, to work together with the government for a singular purpose, and to manage a business for the sake of cosplayers without expectation of profit, just because she loves cosplay. If you’re a cosplayer, definitely consider booking a stay at Ishikawasou!



  • Hotto Suru Oyado Ryokan Ishikawasou

Official site: https://isikawasou.com


Twitter: @ayaxmix




Shiro Sato


Dale Roll

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