Cosplay Contest







No pre-registration is necessary to participate in the Cosplay Contest at Arizona Matsuri. 

For all festival attendees, we kindly ask that you keep in mind that this is a family friendly event for all to enjoy. We are asking all attendees, who plan to wear a costume to this festival, to keep in mind our primary mission is to celebrate Japanese culture. This is not an event for general cosplay, and we therefore strongly discourage attendees from wearing costumes, cosplays of non-Japanese origin (video game, manga, anime, etc.).

Regardless of whether you participate in the contest or not, we would however like to encourage all festival attendees to respect the tradition of Matsuri and keep your costumes Japanese related.

Please enjoy your time at Arizona Matsuri!


There is only enough time for cosplayers to walk onto the stage when announced by the host. Unfortunately, there is not enough time for a skit or music. To enter the contest, you must:

  • Go to the tables near the Cultural Stage – there will be visuals on or near the tables that will allow you to recognize where to go.
  • Check in any time between 10:00 am and 12:45 pm both days.
  • Any and all props to be used during the contest MUST be peace-tied and approved BEFORE the contest.
    • This should be done at the same time as checking in.
    • The zip ties used will be different colors each day; so if you will be using the same prop(s) both days, they must get peace-tied BOTH days.
  • Contestants are on a first come, first serve basis until there is no more space on the stage.

The Arizona Matsuri does not tolerate harassment or discrimination. If you feel that you are being harassed, or see someone else being harassed, please locate a Matsuri member, security personnel, or local onsite police officer right away. If you see something, say something!

  • Depictions of hate symbols are not allowed and you will be asked to remove them. Failure to comply will result in removal from the Festival.

  • Hate Symbols – Any signs or symbols that can be characterized as hate symbols or signs of discrimination may not be displayed. This includes any symbol that is widely accepted as a symbol of oppression, hatred, or violence towards a specific group of people.
  • Signs – May not contain hate speech, solicit personal contact, or attempt to provoke arguments, fights, or conflict with the general public, other attendees, staff, or guests.


We admire and respect all the hard work that goes into your art, but we also love not being in trouble with the law, our venue, or angry parents of young attendees. So, when it comes to what you wear, we need you to follow the rules listed below. Please don’t make us have to send you home or back to your hotel to change outfits.

  • * Cosplayers must be able to present reference images of their costumes recreating characters from Japanese anime, manga, games, etc. at any point before the cosplay contest.
    • Original characters will not be permitted
    • However, art book variations and reinterpretations of existing characters (including gijinka) will be allowed with an accompanying reference.
  • Arizona Matsuri abides by state laws for nudity and indecent exposure: A.R.S. §13-1402. All costumes and clothing must fall in a PG rating. Apparel should not depict vulgar or offensive images or text.  The Arizona Matsuri is a family oriented Festival.

  • Coverage – Cosplay and costumes must cover the area of your body that universally acceptable swimwear (bikini or trunks) would cover in all public situations. Cosplay with open and/or exposed backs are permitted.
    • Shirts, shoes, and pants/shorts must be worn at all times. This is both for your safety and in accordance with health code restrictions.
    • Examples of acceptable clothing as long as you are fully covered: sports bras, muscle shirts, spanks, leggings, etc.

  • Dance Belts & Underwear – Please cover your bits (including the contours of your bits) and avoid a very awkward conversation with our security team. Dance belts, underwear, and nude body suits are highly recommended for cosplay and costumes that are especially revealing.
    • Inappropriate costumes or actions may result in a request from our staff to change aspects of your costume. Failure to do so may result in revocation of your credentials and removal from the event.

  • Shoes – The soles of your feet must be protected by either shoes or adhesive foot coverings. The pavement outside is very hot, and there is always a lot of walking at cons, so be sure to take good care of your feet.
    • Shoes are required to be worn while in festival space. You may remove your shoes for photos if desired, but they must be replaced directly after the photo is taken. Moving around any area of the event space without shoes is not permitted.
    • All attendees must have proper footwear. Bathing suit areas must be covered. Any form of nudity is prohibited.


  • Oversized Cosplay – If you have an exceptionally large costume or cosplay, you must have at least one handler to assist you in navigating the event.  These are typically cosplay or costumes that involve things such as wings, large pieces that extend beyond your arm’s reach, parts that are difficult to retract, or pieces that might impair your vision. Think of yourself as a titanic leash child – it’s for your safety too!
    • If your costume includes any item that covers or partially covers the face, especially if it is not easily removed, upon request, you may be asked for ID and/or additional information by a committee member, security, or on-site police officer.. Please be sure to keep your ID on you at all times.
    • Helmets, masks, and hoods should not severely limit or impair the wearer’s ability to see. If your costume includes an eyeless hood or other face covering, considering bringing a friend to act as your “handler” and guide you through crowded spaces.

  • Sharp Edges – No part of your cosplay or costume should be able to cause injury to someone who accidentally runs into you. Make sure all sharp edges and pointy bits have been capped, taped, or are appropriately dulled!

  • Body Paint & Glitter – Is glitter pretty? Yes. Is glitter messy? Also, yes. Is glitter a curse?  For the cleanup crew, it most definitely is.  Any glitter or glitter spray used on your body, cosplay, or costume must be sealed in order to prevent incidental transfer or excess shedding.

  • Bondage – No accessories that attach two or more people together, even temporarily, are permitted. This includes but is not limited to: handcuffs, leashes, and ropes.

  • Official Personnel Uniforms – This town (and venue) ain’t big enough for the two of us. Cosplay or costumes that intentionally impersonate those of local law enforcement, safety personnel, venue personnel, staff, or security are strictly prohibited.

  • Things on Wheels – Skateboards, bikes, roller skates, roller blades, and unicycles are allowed in outdoor areas around the venue, but are not permitted at the Festival, this is due to safety reasons.  Even if you’re wheeling around outside, you must stop and walk if there is not a clear and open pathway at least 4′ to either side of you.
    • Roller Skates/Blades or other wheeled items such as skateboards and hoverboards may not be brought, worn, or used at the Festival.

  • Posing for Photos – If you have an awesome cosplay or costume, you are more than likely going to be asked repeatedly for photos and to pose with others for pictures. When you pose for a photo, you MUST move out of the flow of foot traffic. Find an immediate open area to move to, so other attendees can move freely and you can pose safely!  If there is no immediate open area, you must move to a position off to the side and preferably against a wall of some kind. Blocking hallways or walkways is a violation of the fire safety regulations and nobody wants to deal with an angry fire marshal.

  • Laws & Regulations – All federal, state, city, and local laws/regulations must be adhered to in addition to the rules listed above. If you can’t wear it on the street or do it in public legally, you can’t wear it at the Arizona Matsuri either.

  • Right of Refusal – We reserve the right to refuse or restrict any cosplay or costume for any reason. This means that we may ask you at any time to change out of or put away parts of your cosplay or costume. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s for a good reason!


Failure to comply with this policy could result in your removal from the contest!

As a reminder to cosplay photographers, photoshoots are prohibited on the matsuri grounds as standing in one place for too long can become a safety hazard. We have a professional photographer who has their own booth.