22-24 November 2024 - Leonardo, Milton Keynes

About the Event

Want to know a little bit more about what to expect at HotaruCon?

Listed below are some of the main attractions, if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.


Registering for the convention is a two-part process. First is registering for your ticket online before HotaruCon starts. This ticket covers all 3 days of the event. There are no day tickets and there will be no registrations available at the event itself so make sure to register ASAP to avoid disappointment. Once you've purchased your ticket you'll receive a confirmation email that you'll use to pick up your personalised conbadge, lanyard, events schedule and conbag at HotaruCon when registration opens on the Friday from the designated Operations Desk. Otherwise ticket/badge collection will be available direct from Operations (Ops) to pick up when you get here. For a chance to pick up your badge early on Thursday why not sign up as a Gopher? 👀


Aside from the HotaruCon Highlights the HotaruCon schedule features panels run by you guys! Whatever your hyperfixation or niche interest, this is your chance to shine! Whether it's dissecting your favourite pairing from the most recent anime watched to the history of animated penguins, the floor is yours. But don't let our theme of anime, manga and Japanese culture limit your creative mind. Want to share your LARP experiences? Run an hour long 1 shot of Dungeons and Dragons? Explain how you planned your trip to Japan? Have one of your friends stand in the middle of the room making awkward poses while attendees draw them? We'd love to host it. Panel runners and their co-hosts are eligible to claim the Event Runner badge to add to their lanyard collection. If you're interested you can submit your panel here.


Gophers are a cross between prefects and superstars. Gophers are volunteers who give up their time at the con to help the con run smoothly. You'll find them checking badges, making sure panels are running on time and helping pack down, as well as various other supporting roles across the weekend. Being a gopher is the opportunity to peak behind the curtain of what it takes to run a convention, earn the never ending gratitude of the committee and maybe a few other perks too. Gophers are also eligible to claim the Gopher badge to add to their lanyard collection. If you're interested you can sign up here.


Cosplay is the art of combining costume and roleplay to bring your favourite characters from all sorts of media to life and we love to see it. HotaruCon has a number of events you can get involved in as a cosplayer from the Cosplay Masquerade, to Cosplay Chess and even the Charity Cosplay Cafe. It's your opportunity to showcase your favourite cosplay, arrange groups with old friends or make new ones, engage in photoshoots or just enjoy having the space to immerse yourself in your craft. However please ensure your read our Cosplay and Weapons Guidelines and find our more about our Cosplay events here.

Cosplay Masquerade Showcase

The Masquerade Cosplay Showcase is our non-competitive just-for-fun cosplay stage show. It's your opportunity to show off your cosplay on stage before an audience of HotaruCon's attendees. No experience is necessary. Whether your cosplay is bought or made, from anime or comics, in a group or flying solo, all are welcome here. Participants are also eligible to claim their Masquerader badge to add to their lanyard collection. Access to the stage is via a ramp that can take the weight of a small vehicle, so I'm sure we'll manage your cosplays just fine. When signs up are open you can find them here.

Cosplay Chess

Cosplay Chess is where chess meets interactive theater...with cosplay. Cosplayers take to a life size chess board as a substitute for pieces, battling it across the board directed by competing MCs (one for the black team, one for the white) until only one team is victorious. Often with some interesting outcomes... When signs up are open you can find them here.

You don't have to be a Cosplayer to enjoy Cosplay Chess, because what is a game without witnesses? Came and cheer for your favourite team (which is obviously both teams 👀✨️) and enjoy the carnage.

Cosplay Ball

The Cosplay Ball is the grand finale of HotaruCon on Sunday evening. After a weekend of fun we invite you to dress up in your finest, it doesn't have to be a cosplay, take your fanciest selfies, dance with your friends and enjoy an hour or two of waltzing away the evening. If you're interested in performing live as a solo or group act for the Cosplay Ball, or any for any of our evening entertainment, when sign ups are open, you can find them here.

The Firefly Lounge

Turn up and turn out for HotaruCon's own Saturday night variety show. This is your non-competitive, cosplay-optional opportunity to take to the main stage and dazzle your fellow attendees with your talents. From acrobatics to the spoken word, nothing is off the table and we're here for it. If you're not the performing type then grab a drink at the bar, pull up your chair and join us for an hour (or two) that promises to be...entertaining. We have some surprises in store...

Dealers Hall

The Dealers Hall, which is open Saturday and Sunday, is your opportunity to shop till you drop and grab the latest merch, manga, figures and all sorts of goodies. We welcome applications for Dealer's Tables whether you're an established business or whipping up adorable fleece hats in your garage. Dealer's Tables are separate to general Registration. You don't need to Register first to get a Dealer's Table, but getting a Dealer's Table does get you a Registration. You can apply for a table here when applications are open.

If you don't want to commit to a whole weekend of trading, or an entire table's worth of stock it might be worth checking out the Pop Up Vendors at the Charity Cosplay Cafe 👀.

Artists Alley

The Artists Alley, which is open Saturday and Sunday, is our dedicated space for artists to exhibit and sell their creations, from prints to keychains to t-shirts. Maybe you're a webcomic artist with printed books and merch. Maybe you're a freelance artist selling prints and customised art you've drawn at the con directly to attendees. Artist's Tables are separate to general Registration. You don't need to Register first to get an Artist's Table, but getting an Artist's Table does get you a Registration. You can apply for a table here when applications are open.

If you don't want to commit to a whole weekend of trading, or an entire table's worth of stock it might be worth checking out the Pop Up Vendors at the Charity Cosplay Cafe 👀.

Bring and Buy

The Bring and Buy, which is open Saturday and Sunday, is like the pop-up charity shop of conventions, you literally never know what you're going to get or what people are going to bring. Do you have figures gathering dust? Manga that you're just not going to read anymore? Clothes and cosplay attracting moths? One fan's trash is another fan's treasure as they say. All you need to do is label up your goodies and drop them off with the committee when you arrive. There's an administration charge and a portion of the proceeds goes towards the Convention Charity for every sale, the rest goes back to you. Unsold items can be collected after the Bring and Buy has closed. If you're interested everything you need to know is here.

Games Room

The Games room is your opportunity to try something you haven't played before, whether that's digital or traditional style gaming, we'll have a bit of both. Whether you're a hard core gamer or maybe just looking for somewhere to chill for a while between panels. One major rule though, no food or drink is allowed in the Games rooms for obvious reasons.


The Karaoke is one of our evening events, whether it's a Japanese opening theme, a dub soundtrack, or just some good old-fashioned pop, you're invited to sing to your heart's content. You don't have to be a world class performer to have fun. We encourage everyone to give it a go. There's no pre-sign up necessary, just amble in, pick your track, cheer on your fellow attendees till your turn rolls around and then wow everybody.


Besides the HotaruCon After Dark evening panels, the games room and the karaoke, we open up the main hall for Parties every single night. Each night will have different musical themes for you to let your hair down to. If you're of the musically talented persuasion or fancy yourself a DJ you can register your interest in performing here when applications open.