OTAKU PASSION

Exploring Otaku Culture in Madrid: Passion, Cosplay & More

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LARA

Hi, my name is Lara and I’m a literature student. I live in Madrid because it is the mecca of OTAKU culture in Spain. I love this theme, I usually don’t miss any manga event. I also love cosplay. Here is my plan for 3 days. Enjoy it very much!

DAY 1

Let’s start our experience by going to Otaku Center, a real sanctuary of collecting for manga fans, in the heart of Malasaña neighborhood and very close to the Gran Vía in Madrid. There you can find figures, comics, original merchandising and an endless amount of material from Japan. It is worth going with time to get lost in its shelves, because at first it may seem a small store, but you will see that there is much to see.

After the obligatory walk along the Gran Via, I recommend you to eat at Running Sushi in Akihabara, a restaurant with a buffet on a conveyor belt and a spectacular decoration, which will not leave you indifferent, yes, you should book, as it is quite in demand.

After lunch and since you are in the area, visit the Plaza de España, recently renovated, the Royal Palace and the Plaza Mayor, essential landmarks of the city.  Next to the Plaza Mayor is the Kawaii Café, a place dedicated to kawaii culture and where you can have a snack with a touch of cosplay, as they have headbands, wands, glasses … and feel like a child, highly recommended their decorated pancakes.  

For the afternoon-evening plan, walk to Puerta del Sol, and the whole area of km 0, with plenty of stores of all kinds and dinner at Livin’Japan, near the Plaza de Antón Martín, where besides feeling like in Japan, you can dine reading some manga from their collection, available to customers. And don’t miss the chicken dumplings and cakes, delicious!

DAY 2

For the second day, breakfast at Hanabusa pastry shop, in the Antón Martín market, try their matcha tea and fruit mochis, a 10.

Going up Atocha street, past the beautiful Teatro Calderón, we find the Generación X store, a unique space dedicated not only to the otaku universe, but also to comics in general and board games. There you will surely find that special gift for someone, or for you!

Mikado Restaurant, that’s my proposal for lunch today, the first Japanese restaurant in the capital, opened in 1968 and pioneer in Japanese cuisine. A must stop if you come to Madrid and you like Japanese food, it is authentic. You can get there by metro, it is about 30 minutes from the center and it is advisable to book. Once there, let yourself be advised, everything is exquisite.

In the afternoon, another place you should not miss is Gion, a fashion, gift and decoration store, new and vintage, brought from Japan, in the neighborhood of Chueca, where a walk along Almirante street, Fuencarral or Chueca square is more than necessary.Returning to the downtown area, in the same street Preciados we find a place, Konnichiwa, where you can dine as if you were in a Japanese street, with Izakaya decoration, very successful and with a pleasant atmosphere. Ask for their takoyaki or okonomiyaki, the latter to share.

DAY 3

My recommendation for the third day is outside Madrid center, less than half an hour away, but it is very worthwhile. The first stop is the Luis Vallejo Bonsai Museum. There you will find one of the best bonsai collections outside Japan, cared to detail, a zen experience. 

To eat, in the same street you have Silk La Moraleja, a multifunctional space, with terrace, tapas area, drinks, with oriental decoration and fusion cuisine, Spanish and Japanese. There you have to try the potato omelette with truffle, you will have tried others, but not like this one. If you still have time, you can also have an after-dinner drink there, as I said, it is a very special place.

If what you want is to go back to Madrid, I suggest you to eat in a restaurant that I love, it is small with a food that transports you to the most authentic Japan. It is called Naomi. You will already have almost all the Japanese Madrid so if you want you can go along the Paseo de la Castellana and visit the Museum of Natural Sciences.

These are my suggestions for a Japanese getaway to Madrid. I also suggest a couple of bubble tea places, very fashionable now, for me they are the best, and you can go taking while walking around the city, are Le.cha  and I Sweet .

Note: Liiffe recommend you book restaurants and events in advance to ensure availability, as well as check schedules, as they vary depending on the season.

INTEREST PLACES

otaku center
Sanctuary for collectors of manga and comics with original figures and merchandising series and movies.the store itself is a pass by their comics and figures.if you’re a comic book geek this is your place.
running sushi in akihabara
Manga-themed restaurant in the center of Madrid exactly in the Plaza de los Cubos. The sushi is passing on a tape and you choose what you want to eat. Reservations are recommended, otherwise it will be difficult to have dinner.
kawaii cafe
Kawaii-themed cafe with delicious desserts, a very nice place to spend some time with a coffee, a snack and an adorable atmosphere, ideal for taking pictures and posturear a little. If you’re lucky you won’t have to wait in line. It’s not expensive for where it’s located.Highly recommended 100%.
gran via

The centennial Gran Vía is one of the main arteries of the city and one of its most emblematic avenues. Its creation, between 1910 and 1931, marked the beginning of the modernization of the city with the construction of the first skyscrapers in the country. This street never sleeps so you will always find something to do, and close by are such iconic neighborhoods as Chueca and Malasaña.

plaza mayor

This arcaded square is the heart of Madrid de los Austrias, the old part of the city and the ideal starting point for a visit to one of the most charming neighborhoods.
Before Madrid was a city of large avenues and boulevards, its map was made up of small streets and passageways. It is ideal to get lost in its narrow streets to get to know the Madrid of the Austrias.

plaza españa
The Plaza de España is located between Gran Vía and Princesa Street. It is one of the most iconic squares for leisure in the center of Madrid, this important monument to Cervantes is presided over by a globe that represents the universality of Cervantes’ work. In the center of the square are represented Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
puera del sol

Puerta del Sol is a square in the Spanish city of Madrid. Since 1950, it has been home to the so-called kilometer zero of the country’s radial roads. It is the epicenter of the capital here you will find everything you need in terms of shopping and entertainment.

Living japan

Es un rincón pequeño y acogedor decorado con carteles y objetos de Semana Santa que le dan un toque único. Las tapas, presentadas en papel blanco, son deliciosas. No se pierdan la ensaladilla clásica con zanahorias y atún, ni la cola de toro. Cierra domingos tarde y lunes

Hanabusa pastry

Es un rincón pequeño y acogedor decorado con carteles y objetos de Semana Santa que le dan un toque único. Las tapas, presentadas en papel blanco, son deliciosas. No se pierdan la ensaladilla clásica con zanahorias y atún, ni la cola de toro. Cierra domingos tarde y lunes

generacion x
A unique space on two floors with more than 500 meters of exhibition. Presentations, competitions and a peculiar tavern led by the girls of Coco Bar. The top floor features murals by Puño, Albert Monteys and Pepe Larraz. Enjoy fan events, local music and delicious milkshakes, cookies and sandwiches (my favorite is the pastrami).
mikado restaurant
You must try the carpaccio of sea bream is a sure hit.Mikado is the oldest traditional Japanese restaurant in Spain. It has been run by the same family since 1968, a very nice and quiet place. The service is great and the food is of very good quality.
gion
This store sells clothing and decorative items, new and vintage, originating from the land of the rising sun, the owners are super nice and the products they have are authentic treasures. 
konnichiwa
Japanese food and drinks in a rustic chic restaurant with exposed brick walls and wood, very good ramen, gyozas and rice with shrimp and spicy sauce. Reservations recommended
bonsai museum
This collection is considered one of the best bonsai collections outside Japan in terms of variety and quality of its specimens. It has been awarded in the most important national and international competitions, the collection has native specimens designed by Luis Vallejo and specimens of outstanding Japanese Masters such as; Masahiko Kimura, Saburo Kato, Hiroshi Takeyama or Shinji Suzuki.
silk la moraleja

Es un rincón pequeño y acogedor decorado con carteles y objetos de Semana Santa que le dan un toque único. Las tapas, presentadas en papel blanco, son deliciosas. No se pierdan la ensaladilla clásica con zanahorias y atún, ni la cola de toro. Cierra domingos tarde y lunes

naomi

Japanese cuisine in a simple room with sushi bar and the option of eating on the floor. Reservations are recommended. They have some dishes that are difficult to find elsewhere, and the sushi and sashimi dishes (their specialty) are spectacular. Very well prepared, with variety, a delicate flavor and even a careful presentation. All prepared in a traditional way. Special mention to the Toro (fatty tuna), which is difficult to find and is a delight.

natural science museum

It is a museum for me of the essential to visit.It is very well structured to see it in the right order without getting lost.If you like to see things quietly you will invest many hours in it.You will marvel at the large number of animals there, and you will discover animals already extinct.
You can buy different and interesting books there.

 

le.cha

One of my favorite places to drink a good tea! The atmosphere is very comfortable, the prices are good and the drinks are novel and very tasty. a very nice establishment. I recommend trying the rose tea and the passion fruit tea.

i sweet

The bobba is very tasty, highly recommended, variety of flavors and bases, refreshing, the passion fruit flavor is very good. Compared to other places the prices are excellent, with a good quantity and well prepared. They have promotions if you bring a cake or bun to go with it. The melon bread is very tasty, they have dorayakis and a variety of cakes. The carrot cake didn’t taste like carrot but it was tasty and nicely wrapped, like all the rest. The decor feels more authentic with the fanarts and figurines and not just “aesthetic”. I will definitely keep coming back.

 

HOW TO MOVE

The center of Madrid is very walkable and is the best way to explore its streets. To move from one neighborhood to another I recommend the metro although if you walk around you will be able to enjoy the monuments of the city. The whole area of Madrid de los Austrias is almost pedestrian

Madrid is a very bike-friendly. BiciMAD is a public electric bicycle service , offers a service with electric bicycles, practical, simple. It can be used as an annual subscriber or as an occasional user, through the totem at the station, where you will be provided on the spot with a card for 1, 3 or 5 days and will be billed at the end of the selected period depending on the use of the service.

All areas of the city are served by bus, the “Airport Express” line (with a fixed fare of 5€).
The fleet is modern, with comfortable vehicles and has built-in free wifi.
The regular schedule covers the whole day from 6:00 am to 11:30 pm, while on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays the service is extended from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.
The average frequency is between 4 minutes and a quarter of an hour, although this depends on the day of the week, the schedule and certain urban traffic conditions.
In any case, you can know the frequency of each line, itineraries and other issues on the EMT website, https://www.emtmadrid.es/EMTBUS/Mibus or, even more conveniently, using the official app “EMT Madrid”.
The night buses are called “búhos”, on weekdays, Sundays and holidays, they leave from Cibeles with an interval of between 30-35 minutes in the time slot from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am.
As for fares, the single ticket, which can be purchased on board the vehicle, costs 1.50€. Payment can be made by contactless bank card or cell phone. If it is paid in cash, only €5 bills are accepted for the change.
There is a fare called “Metrobús”, valid for all EMT buses and metro zone A and priced at €12.20 or the “Bus+Bus”, which allows travel on all buses with one line transfer per trip included and costs €18.30.

There are cabs all over the city and they are a comfortable way to get around, especially if you have luggage or are tired.
From the airport there is a flat rate of 30 € to the city center. There are also vehicle for hire (VTC) services such as Uber and Cabify.

Renting a car just to move around Madrid makes no sense at all. Like any big city it has its traffic problems, and you also have to count with the cost of parking.
If you add to this that the city has excellent public transportation and reasonably priced cabs, I do not advise you to rent a car at all.
Another thing is that you plan to make excursions outside Madrid and want to go on your own.

Other option is “Carsharing”: Madrid is one of the European cities with the largest offer of car sharing companies, a perfect option for tourists who do not travel to Madrid by car and at a certain moment of their visit need one.
You can rent a car with the carsharing companies operating in Madrid (Wible, free2move, sharenow).

Motorcycle enthusiasts are in luck because Madrid is one of the European cities with the largest number of vehicles of this type to share. Besides being very easy to use, the “motosharing” services are super practical and you can do it with apps like (Cooltra or Acciona Motosharing)

The Madrid commuter train network has 9 lines, and a timetable that goes from 05:30 to 23:30 hours. The commuter trains are great to cross the city quickly or to move to municipalities around Madrid, such as Alcalá de Henares, El Escorial and even Guadalajara.

The Madrid metro is fast and economical, with a wide network covering the city and some nearby municipalities. With 12 lines and a timetable from 6:00 to 1:30, it is convenient to arrive punctually. Frequency varies from 3 to 7 minutes, being higher in late hours and holidays.

Children under four years of age travel free of charge. Tickets are purchased from automatic machines at stations, tobacconists and authorized points. A card costs €2.50 and lasts for 10 years, but is included in the tourist season ticket.

The 10-trip ticket, called “Metrobús”, costs €12.20 and is valid on all Zone A lines, including light rail and EMT buses. In addition, there is no charge for the number of stations.

To access the airport, there is a supplement of €3.00 at some stations.

For more detailed information on schedules and intervals, please visit: https://www.metromadrid.es/es/linea

Always remember to check schedules and routes, especially if there are events or holidays that may affect the transportation service. Check also the prices, sometimes they can change, enjoy your stay in Madrid!

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