• March 22-24, 2024
  • Lancaster County Convention Center, Lancaster, PA

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Zenkaikon?

Zenkaikon is a southeastern Pennsylvania convention celebrating anime (Japanese animation), comics, gaming, sci-fi, and fandom! Zenkaikon features a variety of activities including anime and live action screenings, video and tabletop gaming, special guests, costume competitions, panels, concerts, vendors, and more!

Who runs Zenkaikon?

Zenkaikon is run by Zenkaikon Entertainment, Inc., a 501©(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting knowledge and enjoyment of Japanese art, animation, and culture as well as science fiction and fantasy literature and films of all origins. The organization is staffed completely be volunteers who want to share their appreciation of these mediums, and all membership fees and donations go towards supporting this mission. You can think of Zenkaikon as run “by fans, for fans.”

What time will Zenkaikon start and end?

More details about the exact start and end times of the convention will be posted closer to the convention. However, you can generally expect the convention to run from the mid-morning until late night on Friday, early morning until late night on Saturday, and early morning until late afternoon on Sunday. Members who have pre-registered will also be able to pick up their badges beginning on Thursday evening.

How old are the attendees at Zenkaikon?

People of all ages attend Zenkaikon, from young children to senior citizens. Whatever age you are, you will likely see people your own age.

How much does it cost to park at the Lancaster County Convention Center?

More details on parking can be found on our Directions page.


Where is Zenkaikon? How do I get there?

Zenkaikon will take place at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can get directions from anywhere in the world to Zenkaikon through Google Maps. You can also view our Location page to find more information about getting to Zenkaikon via public transportation.

Where can I stay at Zenkaikon? Where can I sleep at Zenkaikon?

Zenkaikon has a room block at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, attached to the convention center, and we encourage members to use this room block. (It helps us out, you get a discount on your room, and you’re right upstairs from all the fun of Zenkaikon!) Visit our Hotel page to learn more about how to book your room!

You are not permitted to sleep anywhere in the convention areas.

Where can I get food at Zenkaikon?

A concessions area will be open for a portion of the convention. The hours of operation will be posted on the Zenkaikon website as the convention draws near.

In addition, Downtown Lancaster has a variety of restaurants including Asian, American, Irish, Italian, and more! The Lancaster Central Market is also located across the street from the Convention Center, and is open Friday and Saturday with a variety of fresh and prepared foods. Check out Dining Guide for more details on food options.

Attending Zenkaikon

What should I bring to Zenkaikon?

Bring your cameras, hotel confirmations, and a photo ID. It is very important to bring a photo ID in order to check in to Zenkaikon. Also, bring money for food, beverages, and any merchandise you might like to buy. For more information on disallowed items, please visit our Cosplay Weapons and Props policies.

For more suggestions on items you should consider bringing to Zenkaikon, check out our New Member Guide.

How much money should I bring?

This is up to you. We suggest keeping in mind a few things:

  • Registration Fees (if you are registering at the door)
  • Public transit or gas (if needed)
  • Food
  • Merchandise (Dealer’s Room, Artist Alley, and Zenkaikon official merchandise)

For more tips on what items to bring to Zenkaikon, check out our New Member Guide

What are the rules of Zenkaikon?

The full list of Convention Policies can be found on the Policies page.

Most of the rules are common sense. Anything that is illegal outside the convention is also illegal inside the convention. Zenkaikon is also a family friendly convention. We ask that you:

  • Respect other attendee’s personal space and belongings.
  • Listen to and follow the instructions given by Zenkaikon Staff members.
  • Be on good behavior.
  • Observe the general policies on camera and autograph etiquette.
  • Adhere to cosplay policies regarding signs and props.

All attendees are expected to follow these rules. Please abide by Staff instructions and do not continue behaviors if you have received a warning from a Zenkaikon Staff Member.


Can I bring/consume alcohol at the convention?

Zenkaikon is a family-friendly convention; the consumption of alcohol and disruptive public intoxication will not be tolerated in the convention areas. You will be asked to leave the convention areas for the safety of yourself and the other attendees.

Adults who are of legal age (21) at the time of the convention may drink in one of the hotel restaurants or bars or at one of the local restaurants. Please remember to bring a designated driver.

Under no circumstances may alcohol be given to an attendee who is under the legal age.


Is there a coat check?

Yes, the Lancaster County Convention Center will be providing two coat/bag check areas during Zenkaikon.


Evening Bag Check (1st Floor, outside Main Events):

Cost: complimentary

Friday: 9:30pm-2:30am

Saturday: 9:30pm-2:30am

Items that are left at the daytime bag check when it closes, will be brought down to the evening bag check. Any items that are still at the evening bag check upon closing will be securely stored by the hotel and returned to the bag check the next morning. Items left at the end of the convention will be turned over to hotel security. 


How many days is _guest_ going to be signing autographs and be available at the convention?

It varies. Some of our guests will be there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or all three days, depending on their schedules and what activities the guests will be participating in at the convention. Check the convention schedule to see what activities guests are participating in. We will try to schedule guests for the entire convention, but his or her availability may vary depending on their schedules.

Are there going to be any guests who are charging for autographs?

All guests will autograph the Zenkaikon Program Book free of charge (one per person). Depending on the guest, additional items and autographs may be subject to an additional fee.  (Fees, if any, are set by the guest and Zenkaikon does not take a cut.)

How early am I allowed to begin forming a line for a guest autograph session?

30 minutes prior to the guest’s autograph time as listed in the schedule/program book.

Where are autographs going to be located this year?

Visit our Autographs page for more information on autograph locations and times.


What is cosplay? Do I have to cosplay at Zenkaikon?

Cosplay is the act of dressing up in costume like characters from anime (Japanese animation), manga (Japanese comic books), Japanese music, video games, etc. Many cosplayers will also act out the character he or she has dressed up as. You are not required to cosplay at Zenkaikon.

If I wear a costume do I have to enter the cosplay contest?

You do not have to enter the cosplay contest if you decide to cosplay.

How can I sign up to be cosplay events like the Masquerade or Cosplay Dating Game?

Sign ups for cosplay events will be accepted online. Some, but not all, events may also accept signups at the convention. Visit the Cosplay section of our website for more details.

What are the rules for cosplaying at the convention?

The main cosplay rules are:

  • Extremely large costumes and props should be kept at home as the halls do have a limited amount of space. If you do have a large costume, please be considerate of the amount of space it may take up.
  • Please dress appropriately for the event. Neither full nor partial nudity is allowed as Zenkaikon is a family-friendly event.

What kinds of weapons and props can I bring?

The Convention Policies on cosplay weapons and signs can be found on our website.

My costume utilizes stilts, can I wear it?

Unfortunately, in the convention space, one will encounter narrow hallways, stairwells, ramps, low ceilings, and large groups of convention attendees. For the safety of all present, stilts will not be permitted at Zenkaikon.


How are guests selected?

Zenkaikon takes guest suggestions, from the public, in the Guest Suggestions for Zenkaikon forum thread. We look at attendee and staff suggestions and they are reviewed by our Guest Liaison. The suggestions get narrowed down to a handful of possibilities. Then, the Guest Liaison starts to contact the guests and invite them to Zenkaikon. When a guest accepts our offer and the contracts are completed, we officially announce their appearance at Zenkaikon, and put they are listed as a Guest on our website. Until a guest has been officially announced, Zenkaikon will neither confirm nor deny if someone has been invited as a guest.

Can I be a guest?

If you are someone of note in the anime, manga, Asian music, or science fiction industry and would like to be a guest, please contact the Guest Department through the Contact Form. Unfortunately, we receive many more people asking to be guests than we could possibly afford to have at the convention. Please do not be offended if we turn you down, even if you offer to come for free. We hope you understand that our Guest Department is limited and they can only handle so much work. Nevertheless, you are still welcome to attend the convention and can apply to host a panel if you wish.

Will you be getting a Japanese guest?

Our budget does not currently support guests from outside the United States. Hopefully this will change in the future!

I'm friends with someone you may want as a guest. Can I invite them for you?

Please do not invite guests on behalf of Zenkaikon, although you are perfectly welcome to send their contact information to our Guest Department via the Contact Form.

Why? For example, let’s say that a regular fan tells a popular voice actor that “Lots of people at Zenkaikon want you as a guest! You should come!” The voice actor interprets that as an official invitation and is naturally excited by the idea. Later on, when the voice actor e-mails our Guest Department, we may have to turn this guest down due to budgetary constraints. This puts us in a really bad place, because we run the risk of offending a possible future guest. Please help us avoid this situation and do not contact guests on our behalf. Thank you kindly for your understanding.

I am close friends with someone you have as a guest. Can I meet up with them at the con?

Absolutely! Attend their guest panel. All registered attendees are welcomed to attend guest panels. You can also arrange with them before the convention to meet up with them during some of their off time. Please note, however, that being friends with a guest does not allow you to enter the guest break room, staff room, or utilize other facilities or courtesies we may have arranged for the use of our guests.

Why don't you say who you're considering as guests?

There are many reasons we don’t say who we are considering:

  • We do not want potential attendees to register for Zenkaikon based on rumored guests, only to be disappointed if a guest is not invited.
  • If a guest is unable come for some reason (such as travel, expense, or other needs that we are unable to fund), we do not wish to upset either the fans or the guests.
  • We would prefer to represent our convention officially with potential guests via our Guest Liaison.

Why can't you get a particular guest at Zenkaikon?

When our Guest Liaison extends an invitation to a guest, we have no guarantee that they will be able to attend. Scheduling and personal conflicts can get in the way.

Bringing a guest to the convention can cost a lot of money for accommodations, travel, food, and other expenses. Zenkaikon does the best it can as a growing convention with a limited budget. Every year that we continue to grow, we have a bigger budget to accommodate a greater number and wider variety of guests. We try to accommodate attendee suggestions within our means. If your guest suggestion has not been selected for this year, don’t feel badly! We may still be considering the guest for a future year.


Where will you announce guests?

We announce guests on our website, our Facebook PageTwitter Feed, and anywhere else we have an official online presence.

What days will the guests be there?

It varies. Some of our guests will be there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or all three days, depending on their schedules and what activities the guests will be participating in at the convention. Check the convention schedule to see what activities guests are participating in. We will try to schedule guests for the entire convention, but his or her availability may vary depending on their schedules.

When can I get autographs? What is the Zenkaikon autograph policy?

You can get autographs at the official autograph sessions we schedule with our guests. These sessions will be clearly marked on the schedule which will be released a week or two before the convention. Please review our autograph and guest etiquette policies in advance.

What can I have guests sign?

Guests will not sign any bootleg or illegal item. Please bring licensed items only. Autographs are also limited to one item per person. You can read our autograph policies on the Policies page.

Can I give the guest a present?

Yes, you may. However, you should present it during your turn at the autograph session.

  • Please do not give them food, as the guest may be allergic.
  • Do not ask them to put on articles of clothing during the autograph session out of respect for other members in the line behind you.
  • Do not expect gifts in return.

Memberships & Registration

How much does it cost to attend Zenkaikon?

In order to attend Zenkaikon, you need to purchase a Zenkaikon membership. Exact rates depend on how early you register, and are available on our Registration page.

What does a Zenkaikon membership get me?

The primary benefit of becoming a Zenkaikon member is that you get to attend our annual convention – Zenkaikon! You also support us in our mission of celebrating and educating about Japanese animation, comics, games, science fiction, and fandom. We also conduct several other initiatives throughout the year (such as sponsoring programming at other events). Sign up for our Mailing List or follow us on our social media sites to find out about everything Zenkaikon is up to!

Are there single day tickets to Zenkaikon?

Since Zenkaikon is a membership-based non-profit organization, there are no single day tickets to the convention. Everyone who attends Zenkaikon is a Zenkaikon member and can attend the convention on all three days! If you are unable to attend the entire convention, you can purchase a membership on a later day of the convention and the membership is discounted accordingly.

How do at-door memberships work?

Zenkaikon memberships purchased at door are valid for the entire convention. However, depending on what day you purchase your membership, you may get a discount. For example, memberships purchased at door on Friday grant access for all three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), so cost the full at-door membership rate. Memberships purchased on Saturday will grant access on Saturday and Sunday, and are discounted since Friday has already passed. Memberships purchased on Sunday are more heavily discounted, as Sunday is the last day of the convention.

How do I get my ticket/badge to Zenkaikon? Will you mail it?

Zenkaikon does not mail out tickets or badges. When you arrive at the convention, you can check in at the pre-registration desk and show a photo ID to pick up your badge and other membership materials.

I heard that you need to bring an ID to get your badge. What types of ID are acceptable?

You must bring some form of identification (ID) in order to receive your badge. Acceptable forms of ID include the various types of government-issued ID (Driver’s License, Military ID, Government ID, etc). For those between the ages of 14 and 18 who are attending unsupervised, a school-issued ID will be acceptable. For all attendees 18 and under who are accompanied by an adult, the adult may present their ID.

I’m under the age of 13, can I attend Zenkaikon alone? Are there kid rates/discounts?

All members that are age 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. We recommend that attendees under 18 have an adult with them. Children 9 years old and under can attend Zenkaikon for free with the paid membership of a parent or guardian.

What is the VIP Autograph Session?

The VIP Autograph Session is a special autograph session for our VIP members, to meet and get autographs from our Guests of Honor. The time of the VIP Autograph Session will be announced closer to the convention. 

I have applied to be a Gofer/Panelist/Artist/Vendor/Member of the Press at Zenkaikon. Do I still need to Pre-Register?

Gofers should pre-register for Zenkaikon. Once you have picked up your badge, you will need to report to the Zenkaikon Gofer Head for a quick briefing and for assignment to a station. There may be some opportunities to volunteer if you register at the convention; however, we cannot guarantee you a gofer position unless you pre-register and are approved by the Head of Gofers.

Artists must purchase at least one membership to Zenkaikon in order to man their table. This membership fee is included in the cost of registering for the Artist Alley. Additional memberships can also be purchased for Artist Alley helpers at the time of Artist Alley registration. More details can be found on the Artist Alley page.

Vendors are given a certain number of badges to man their booth at Zenkaikon, and do not need to pre-register. If more badges are needed, they can be arranged to be purchased through the Head of Zenkaikon Exhibits. More details are available on the Dealer page.

Press should apply via the Zenkaikon Press Application once it opens, and will need to be approved by the Zenkaikon Press Team. Zenkaikon only has a limited number of complimentary memberships to distribute each year to members of the press, and acceptance is not guaranteed. Even if you are accepted as press, you are not guaranteed to receive a complimentary membership. Press who are not accepted are still welcome to pre-register to attend Zenkaikon. More details are available on the Press page.

Do I need to use the same name that's on my ID when I register?

In order to pick up your badge, the name on your ID needs to match the name used during registration. However, once you receive your badge, you are free to place any name/alias you wish on the front. You can also enter any name you will be using, aside from the name on your ID, in the comments section while registering. This way, if your badge is lost and returned to registration, it will be easier for us to return it to you.


How can I volunteer to help Zenkaikon?

Check out our Volunteering page to find out more information about how to become part of the ACV Super Squad, or even volunteer as part of the Zenkaikon Staff.

Where can I get Zenkaikon T-shirts and merchandise?

We will have a merchandise table at the convention where you can purchase Zenkaikon T-shirts, hats, buttons, bags, mugs, and other merchandise. We may also have merchandise available when we have tables or booths at other conventions.

Why is there time in the schedule without much for me to do? Why are two things I wanted to do scheduled against one another?

Scheduling events for a convention is not an easy process. Many factors have to be taken into account, such as the availability of people running the events, availability of space to hold the event, and the likely popularity of an event. We try our best to spread events with similar audiences out, but that is not always possible.

What do I do if I have lost or found an item while at the convention?

Zenkaikon Lost & Found is located at the Information Desk on the second floor of the convention center.  Please turn in all found items to Zenkaikon Staff as soon after finding them as possible.  If you have lost an item, check in at the Information Desk.  Zenkaikon Staff will ask you to describe the item you are looking for to ensure the correct items are reunited with their owners.  If your lost item hasn’t been turned in, you may leave your contact information with the Information Desk.  After the convention ends on Sunday, all unclaimed lost & found items will be turned over to the Marriott Security staff.

Will I have to wait in line for Main Events, such as concerts and the Cosplay Masquerade?

Unfortunately, there is not enough space in any one room to accommodate all convention attendees and performers at any one time. We suggest that you line up at least 15 minutes in advance for special events that you would like to attend, such as the live performances, the Cosplay Masquerade, panels, and autograph lines. This may or may not give you enough time to get into some of the most popular events.

Please note that especially for concerts and dances, we will need to clear out the Main Events room of all people to accommodate audio preparation for our concerts or adjust seating before dances. Please review your schedule for notices of times for room clearance.

Will I be able to use my cell phone or smart phone in the convention areas?

The cellular phone reception in the convention areas of the Lancaster County Convention Center complex is decent, but may not consistent for all cell phones and providers. We highly recommend bringing a phone charger to the convention. It is also good to establish a time and point to meet up with your friends or parents at the convention, in the event of cell phone connectivity issues.

What is 18+ Programming? Do I need an ID to attend 18+ Programming?

Zenkaikon hosts some programming at night that has mature themes.  These events are designated 18+.  To attend an 18+ event at Zenkaikon, you must be 18 or older and obtain an 18+ wristband.  Wristbands will be available at Registration desk in the evenings.  You will be asked to show a government-issued photo ID to prove your age for these events.  No exceptions.