Navigating Comic Market (and Comitia).

This guide is to assist attendees of Comic Market and Comitia to be prepared to enjoy the event with little stress. It can also be used for smaller dōjinshi events which are held in many parts of Japan throughout the year.
NOTE: This document can always be improved. Please send suggestions if you have them.

What is Comic Market?

Comic Market is a twice yearly gathering, often abbreviated as Comiket, where creators sell their self-published works. Most are self-made manga, however there are also prose works, photo books, art books, video games, even objects such as ceramics, t-shirts and other goods.

The first Comic Market was held in December 1975 and had 32 circles selling their products and 700 attendees, 90% female, shopping. Over the years location has changed and the size has grown. In December 2019 Comic Market 97 had over 32,000 circles selling works and 750,000 attendees making purchases over a four day period. With these numbers Comiket is the largest book related event in the world.

NOTE: Each circle is there for only one day. That means all of the items sold change every single day.

What is Comitia?

Comitia is held four times a year (February, May, August, and November) in Tokyo, and also in some other cities. The name come from the Roman term for an assembly of the people.

Like Comiket creators sell their self-published works, the difference is that at Comitia they have to be original works, no parodies allowed. Like Comiket they can be manga, prose works, photo books, art books, video games, even objects such as pen holders, t-shirts and other goods.

The first Comitia was held in November 1984 and has grown to the point that it now takes up a significant amount of space at Tokyo Big Sight. Unlike Comiket it is a one day event.

Which of the two annual Comiket should I go to?

Comiket is held each Winter in December and each Summer in August. Tokyo in August can be very hot and humid and being in a hall with tens of thousands of other shoppers may not be very pleasant in such circumstances. I have always been advised by friends in Tokyo to only go to the Winter Comic Market. If you decide to go to the December Comiket be sure to book rooms ahead of time as hotels and inns fill up as it gets closer to New Year's day.

Which of the four annual Comitia should I go to?

Since it is held in February, May, August, and November you have a greater choice than with Comiket. This means you can skip August to avoid the heat and humidity by attending one of the other events.

When should I arrive?

Many articles and web sites about Comiket advise you to arrive in the afternoon. I would advise going in the morning as some booths sell out by the afternoon and the morning crowds are no worse than later in the day. Comitia being smaller does not have lines that are as long before opening. In both events people are not there for the whole day, they come in, get their preferred works and do some browsing before leaving.

How do I get there?

Once you are settled into your room in Tokyo you will need to travel to the location. See my Navigating Tokyo web page for Tokyo transit basics as well as my Tokyo On The Cheap for money saving tips.

Over the years Comiket has been held in several locations. In 1999 it was moved to the present location, Tokyo Big Sight. At Tokyo Big Sight there are four huge halls where goods are sold and those are only part of the larger complex. Comitia only uses part of the space but grows larger each year.

The easiest ways to get to Big Sight is to take trains to Kokusai-Tenjijō-Seimon station or Kokusai-Tenjijō station. For most travelers it will be easiest to take the Yurikamome train to Kokusai-Tenjijō-Seimon station from the Yurikamome Shimbashi Station. There are other Shimbashi Stations nearby on the Ginza and Asakusa subway lines & for train lines the Yamanote, Tōkaidō & Keihin-Tōhoku lines. You must exit these other stations to enter Yurikamome Shimbashi station which is very close. The Yurikamome lines goes above ground across the Rainbow bridge through Odaiba before eventually reaching Big Sight and going beyond eventually to Toyosu. By taking this train you get to see some interesting scenery on the way.
Or you could take the Rinkai Line to Kokusai-Tenjijō station from Osaki station on Yamanote & Saikyō lines.

What does it cost to get in?

Admission to the halls is free. The cost of the event is covered by the sale of catalogs, ads in the catalogs, application fees from circles applying to sell at the event, and the sale of Comiket related goods on site.
If you find yourself getting more than you can easily carry consider buying one of the attractive official Comiket bags to carry your stuff in, or just get the bag as an artifact.
You buy the catalog and carry it with you as your admission ticket.

How do I know where to go in the halls?

- First you will need the Comic Market or Comitia catalog.

The Comiket catalog is available in three forms: printed, DVD, and an online version. The DVD and online version require knowledge of Japanese to use so you will likely want the print version. The print version is still in Japanese, with an explanatory section in English, however it is easier to flip through. The print catalog is available at many retailers and in the Tokyo area this includes at all Animate, K-Books, Gamers, Comic Toranoana, and Mandarake stores. It comes out just a few weeks before the event. If you are flying in the day before the event you may also try to have online vendors such as CDJapan and Amazon Japan ship it to your hotel. Be sure to check with the hotel first to make sure this is OK.
The Comitia catalog is thiner as the event is smaller and is available from the same sources as the one for Comiket.

- How are the catalogs organized?

The bulk of the catalog is in sections, one section for each day, and each day is subdivided into sections for each hall. The lists for the halls are divided up into aisles and each circle is at a numbered table. The numbers are on a tape on the front edge of the table, each table usually hosting two circles. The catalog reflects the organization of the halls with each section consisting of small postage stamp sized images or text from each circle. Circles are at Comiket for only one day of the three day event so each day has totally different goods.
At both Comiket and Comitia circles are further grouped by the theme of material being sold. This means all the parody dōjinshi at Comiket will be in one place, all the cosplay photo books will be in one place and of course at Comiket only for one of the three days.
There is also a section in the catalog for each day where the circle names are indexed by Japanese name. For most non-Japanese attendees who cannot read Japanese the best way to use the catalog is to look at the small pictures and note which circle may be worth checking out. For locating circles the Comitia catalog is similar to the Comiket one so the above description applies.

- Comiket maps of the halls:
The Comiket catalog also comes with a set of perforated maps for easy removal. You could annotate the maps but you may need to use them for more than one day. I have taken to simply using a 3x5 card each day with aisle and table numbers for that day written on them for the tables I want to check.
Note: The three giant halls themselves are often shown on maps as several separate halls. Dividers are removed to turn them into giant halls. There are also smaller halls and rooms which may have other items as well as tables outside the East Halls. Some of these may be commercial publishers which special items.

Can I use a credit card?

No. These are cash only events. Bring plenty of money, preferably lots of small bills and 100 and 500 yen coins. If you run low there are ATM machines at Big sight and a 7-Eleven and a post office with ATMs in the TFT building on the other side of Kokusai-Tenjijō-Seimon station, however there is no guarantee they will have cash left by the time you get to it.


  1. At Comiket there are also tables run by event staff selling Comiket related goods such as bags and fans. The prices are good and they make great souvenirs.
  2. There are other smaller dōjinshi markets in the Tokyo area. Do some research to find if they will be happening when you visit the city. These usually charge admission, often the purchase of the catalog.
  3. There are no photos allowed in the halls. Many sellers do not want it known that they make dōjinshi and many attendees would not like their pictures taken. Plus people taking pictures make it hard for other shoppers to get by
  4. There may be a separate cosplay photo area outdoors or indoors nearby. There may be an extra fee charged both to the cosplayers and photographers in the cosplay photo areas.
  5. For food, you can bring small snacks or eat in Big Sight or nearby, the other side of Kokusai-Tenjijō-Seimon station has restaurants. Also carry a bottled tea or water to stay hydrated.
  6. The popular circles are usually placed along the walls as they have more stock.
  7. It is possible to mail your purchases from Comiket so if you think you may want to do so bring the address where you are staying.
  8. At Comiket there are outdoor locations outside some of the halls were commercial companies may be selling or giving away event only good related to their products.
  9. You can navigate the Japanese language Comic Market and Comitia pages by using Google Translate to get an imperfect but workable English version to help you plan.

What to do after Comic Market and Comitia are over?

Now some people only come to Tokyo for a short time for the event. You may want to plan to spend two or three weeks and do much more with your time.

New Year's
If you are attending the Winter Comic Market and stay longer you will have a chance to experience the uniqueness of the New Year celebration in Japan. From being at a Buddhist temple when the bell is rung 108 times at midnight, visiting other temples and shrines in the days following the change of the new year, to enjoying traditional entertainments on the streets, food from stalls, just walking around enjoying the city. One note tho' don't plan on shopping for a few days, pretty much every business will be shut down except for restaurants near major temples and shrines. These few days are a great time to stroll about, take pictures and see as many shrines and temples as you can. Enjoy food from the stalls at shrines and temples, try amazake, and just people watch.

Summer festivals
If you are attending Comic Market or Comitia in August you may want to go out more at night and perhaps enjoy fireworks, local festivals or major annual events such as the Asakusa Samba Festival at the end of the month. If you arrive before August 15th you can experience the Obon festival and other events.

If you are attending the May Comitia check out the Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa, one of the three great Tokyo festivals dating from the Edo Period

What if you wish to shop for more dōjinshi after Comiket? Many stores sell new and used dōjinshi; some of the best are Comic Toranoana, K-Books, and Mandarake. Assume staff will not speak English, when shopping pictures help when asking staff about a series or creator. The major shopping areas for dōjinshi are Akihabara, the Nakano Broadway mall and Otome road in Ikebukuro which a good place for fujoshi and fudanshi related goods. There are branch stores in other areas of Tokyo selling dōjinshi. New dōjinshi in these stores are not as cheap as at Comic Market, however they are much cheaper than you would pay at a convention or store in the U.S.

Thanks to: ‪James Welker‬‪ ‬‬for his suggestions, and Dan Kanemitsu for his guidance at other dōjinshi events.

 Created May 26, 2015 | Updated October 6, 2022

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