Japan's largest otaku mall opens in Fukuoka02 May, 2012 by Chad
Last Friday, Aru Aru City (あるあるCity) Fukuoka’s very own otaku-themed mall opened its doors to the public. Located just beside Kokura Station, the main railway station in Kitakyushu, Aru Aru City has declared itself Japan’s largest sub-culture building. It exclusively hosts a great many shops dedicated to anime, manga, games, idol, comedy and other sub-culture entertainment.
Developed as part of a renovation of Kokura Station, Aru Aru City was scheduled to open in March last year but completion of the project had been delayed. Some of the key tenants of the building have yet to move in but the 7 floor building is already home to many new and existing otaku names, including well known Akihabara and Nakano Broadway franchises like Mandarake, Gamers and Animate.
After shopping, there is the new Animax Musix Cafe where patrons can enjoy the viewing of anime and ani-song broadcasts between meals as well as Media Cafe Popeye, touted as Kitakyushu’s largest internet cafe.
When completed in August, the hallmark attraction at Aru Aru City seems to be the Kitakyushu Manga Museum which will take up the 6th floor of the building. The 7th floor feature the Aru Aru YY Theater for live performances by idols and comedians. Notably, the theater will be used to broadcast a new television show title Aru Aru YY Terebi, that will feature members of AKB48 Fukuoka based sister group HKT48.
Aru Aru City aims to distinguish itself and help promote otaku culture by holding at least 100 related events a year. It has also provided the business infrastructure to help grow such niche ventures within the city of Fukuoka.
This is just a guess, but had Aru Aru City opened on time last year, it does seem like Hakata48 would had been Kokura48 or AruAru48 instead. For more information, check out the official Aru Aru City website.
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