Policies & Safety

Please understand that while this list is extensive, we cannot have a rule posted for every potential action a person could undertake. The possession of a badge and the right to attend our event that it confers, is at the sole discretion of Matsuricon and its staff, and may be revoked at anytime for any reason with or without a refund. That being said, we want you attend our event and have a good time, so be safe and courteous to others and no problems will be had. Also be aware that in addition to Matsuricon you are also subject to the rules of the property you are on (Hyatt and Greater Columbus Convention Center) and the city you are in (Columbus, OH). If they choose to take action regarding anything you do, Matsuricon is obligated to follow their instructions, just as you are guests at our convention, Matsuricon is a guest in their place of business.

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Rating Guide

This is a rating guide for our panels and programming. This will help you to plan for your programming at con, so be sure to check the panel listing when it is available for what the rating is.

ALL AGES: These panels/events have absolutely no rating concerns that make it inappropriate for anyone.

TEEN: These are panels/events that deal with the occasional darker topics or more intense themes. Minimal language and possible suggestive content reccomended for people over the age of 13.

MATURE: These panels/events will explore adult material such as violence, sexual content, horror etc. These panels also contain strong language and highly suggestive content. Reccomended for mature audiences only. Use your best discretion.

EXPLICIT: These panels/events contain explicit materials such as graphic violence and sexual content and extreme language. These events are limited to guests who are 18 years or older. ID required for entry.

General Rules

  • While attending Matsuricon you are subject to all state, local, and federal laws.
  • Treat all persons you encounter with the same respect you wish to be treated with.
  • Attendees are expected to wear badges at all times in a visible area. If you are unable to produce a badge upon request, we reserve the right to ask you to leave the con areas.
  • Attendees are requested to have a state issued, photo ID with them at all times in accordance with ORC 2921.29.
  • Shoes must be worn at all times. No form of conveyance other than traditional walking is permitted unless expressly permitted by Matsuricon. Heelys, skateboards, and roller skates are examples of what we don’t allow to be ridden. Exceptions will be made for persons with mobility challenges as appropriate.
  • Do not drop anything from balconies or second story walkways.
  • Be mindful of the hotel and convention center area. Any damage that you, or those you are responsible for (children, pets, etc.) cause is YOUR responsibility.
  • Keep all hallways/walkways clear. Don’t block any exits, staircases, or doorways. Matsuricon, hotel staff, or police officials may stop or relocate any activity that is, in its opinion, obstructing traffic.
  • No actual weapons of any kind, peace bonded or otherwise, are allowed inside the convention center. This includes flammable materials such as flash powder, lighter fluid, and fireworks. No air soft guns of any kind are permitted.
  • If a replica sword, blade, firearm, etc. is purchased in the vendors room, it must be boxed or wrapped and stored promptly in a hotel room or a car. If a vendor is found selling weapons without the proper storage, please notify a staff member as soon as possible.
  • No mock fighting or sword play is allowed inside the convention center. Still shots are alright assuming the props meet the proper requirements (see cosplay rules), but please be mindful of those who might be passing by.
  • Signs that promote any sort of solicitation are prohibited, such as free hugs, kiss for $1, etc in the city of Columbus.
  • Vulgar remarks and any kind of hate speech will not be tolerated at Matsuricon FOR ANY REASON.
  • Panhandling of any kind WILL NOT be tolerated.
  • Matsuricon reserves the right to have Columbus Police search bags while entering specific events (including, but not limited to: dance events and concerts). You may refuse but you will be then expected to store your bag in a personal space before you will be permitted to enter. Beverages or related containers may be subject to direct scrutiny to promote safety at dances and concerts. Water fountains are available at the facility near these events.
  • Laser pointers are prohibited.
  • No alcoholic beverages are allowed outside the hotel or convention center. This is pursuant to local open container laws.

Autograph Policy

  • There is a soft limit of two items per guest per autograph session. You are welcome to take a photo with a guest, but photos count as an item. Due to increasing numbers of fans attending autograph sessions, staff reserves the right to reduce the item limit to one per guest and prohibit photos or recordings.  These special rules will be implemented, when necessary, in order to give as many fans as possible an opportunity to meet the guests.
  • When taking a photo we ask that all fans do so in front of the autograph table. This is also an effort to save time and get to as many fans as possible.
  • Lines will begin no earlier than ONE HOUR before the posted autograph session. Lines formed before this time will not be recognized. Please remember that we will do our best to reach as many fans as possible, however autographs are not guaranteed.
  • Because guests are very busy throughout the convention and will have multiple autograph sessions over the weekend, we request that you do not ask for photos or autographs after panels or in the hallways. Please help us help them by being considerate of their time.

General Dress Code

  • Clothing cannot show less than what a typical swimsuit covers (standard bikini, trunks, etc.)
  • Nipples must be covered at all time by both sexes. Opaque tape may be used to cover nipples. While being topless in public is legal is the city of Columbus, the convention venue is private property and they have the right to define dress standards.
  • Metal is permitted on clothing as long as it is dull and does not extend more than 2 inches. These should not be able to damage any property by walking past it.
  • Clothing that contains offensive or inappropriate messages is not permitted. In the event that this rule is ignored, Matsuricon reserves the right to ask you to cover up or change your clothes.

Cosplay Dress Code

  • The general dress codes listed anywhere above also applies to ALL costumes. No exceptions.
  • No live steel, airsoft guns, props that exceed six feet, projectile toys (such as Nerf darts, toy bow and arrow, etc.) or props that swing. YOU are responsible for your prop so PLEASE pay attention when in crowded areas. Matsuricon reserves the right to confiscate any prop if it damages or threatens to damage persons or property.
  • Any costume that restricts vision, requires stilts, or has large, bulky armor/props, must be accompanied by a handler who can navigate you through the hallways without any trouble. Costumes with stilts MAY NOT be worn in elevators.
  • If a prop or costume obstructs the view of another attendee during an event or panel, you may be asked by a staff member to relocate.
  • Please ensure that costumes that use feathers, glitter, or body paint are sealed properly. All costumes may be subject to a smear test to ensure that they will not come off on others or walls given casual contact.

As stated above, ALL attendees must wear SHOES to our convention. No form of conveyance other than traditional walking is permitted, unless expressly permitted by Matsuricon. Exceptions will be made for persons with mobility challenges as appropriate. We ask that you protect yourself, other attendees, and our venue, by not wearing ice skates (protectively covered or otherwise), roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, Heeleys, etc. If you are found wearing anything but traditional footwear, Matsuricon will ask you to change your shoes. Please respect others and the property we are allowed to host at every year.

Props and Prop Weapons Policy

  • NO LIVE STEEL will be permitted on the premises, without exception. Live steel is defined as: swords, bayonets, knives (whether or not they are sheathed), star knives, shurikens, and other objects made of metal which can have an edge. This holds true regardless of whether the object is actually sharp. Metal is permitted on clothing as long as it is dull and does not extend more than 2 inches. These should not be able to damage any property by walking past it.
  • NO PROJECTILE PROP WEAPONS OF ANY KIND will be permitted on the premises. Projectile prop weapons include, but are note limited to: airsoft guns of any kind (functional or not), BB and other pellet guns, crossbows, dart guns, blowguns, water guns/pistols, stun guns, tasers, Nerf guns. The only exception to the rule will be “prop” or resin models that are easily identifiable as toys, provided that they possess no moving parts and are clearly marked with a non-removable orange tip. The exception is with airsoft guns; they are NEVER acceptable, as noted above. All prop guns must be checked and tagged at Security Ops.
  • No paddles of any sort will be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to: yaoi/yuri paddles.
  • No explosives or chemicals of any kind including, but not limited to: smoke powder, sparklers, and fireworks.
  • If it is illegal in the City of Columbus and/or State of Ohio, it is illegal inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency Columbus, and the Crowne Plaza Columbus. Illegal weapons WILL be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Permitted Prop Weapons

  • Staves, bo sticks, boken, shinai, and wooden swords will be permitted as long as they are handled responsibly and meet all other criteria.
  • Fake, prop, or made-up weapons (i.e. made of tissue paper, plaster of Paris, cloth) are permitted if they are safe and not dangerous to others around you. Examples of dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to: items that may trip others, items that can snag on people or surroundings, items that obstruct doors and hallways.
  • Prop weapons shall be limited to less than six feet six inches (6’6″).
  • Any chain must be less than three feet (3′) in length regardless of material. This includes, but is not limited to: chain wallets and non-costume chains.
  • Prop bows may be carried in the convention space, provided they are not strung in a tight fashion. All bows must comply with all other general policies – no live steel or sharp edges, and no more than 6’6″ in height. Additionally, authentic arrows (tipped or untipped), including crossbow bolts and other projectiles, will not be permitted. If our staff feels your bow or materials do not meet all of these criteria, you’ll be asked to remove the prop immediately from the convention space.
  • All props and prop weapons must be checked and tagged at Security Ops.

Behavior with Prop Weapons/Props

Misuse of a prop weapon or prop, such as swinging it in a public area or posing a hazard to others, will result in the prop weapon or prop being deemed unsafe for the convention, and you will be asked to remove the item from the convention center. Any edged or other non-permitted prop weapons purchased in the Dealer’s Room must be boxed and removed from convention center property immediately. Prop weapons are not to be taken out of their packaging or wrappings while on Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency Columbus, and the Crowne Plaza properties. All props and prop weapons brought into the convention may be inspected for policy compliance by authorized Matsuricon Security Staff, including those that may have had prior approval (other conventions, previous conventions, or pre-convention approval by Matsuricon staff).

Any item that poses a potential safety hazard may need to be removed from the convention. This includes any costume, prop, or accessory that obstructs doors or hallways, or otherwise poses any kind of danger to other attendees, staff, or convention space property. When in doubt, check with Matsuricon Security Staff.

Remember: Just because a staffer has not stopped you to check your item does not mean that the item is allowed.

General Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment of any sort, racial, sexual, or otherwise will not be tolerated. All claims of harassment will be investigated and turned over to law enforcement if appropriate. Matsuricon may at its discretion mediate claims but after mediation follows a zero tolerance approach. Harassment is defined as but not limited to, stalking, unwanted touching, and any behavior that contributes to a hostile environment for another attendee. Matsuricon will not involve itself in harassment claims unless they are reported at the time at which they occur, staff members are available in the convention operations office at all times.

Disability Policy

Matsuricon supports equal-access for anyone who has a disability. Please be sure to stop by the Convention Operations Front Desk located in the Knox room for assistance. Due to the conventions limited resources, our staff may be required to discuss your request for seating in order to attempt to meet your needs. We appreciate your cooperation.

When you speak with our disability services coordinator you will be issued a sticker to place on your badge to indicate your participation in our disability services program. If you require in-line seating please let our coordinator know when you receive your sticker so we can better assist you to enjoy Matsuricon.

The End of Row sticker is available to:

  • People with mobile disabilities that use wheelchairs or scooters (speak with the room staff and show your badge; they will make a wheelchair space if possible at the end of any available row)
  • People with mobile disabilities who are part-time wheelchair/scooter users who wish to walk from wheels to a seat
  • People with mobile disabilities that do not use wheelchairs or scooters

This sticker does not entitle you to head-of-the-line privileges or front row seating at any event or panel. This sticker does entitle you to a seat at the end of any available row in any event or panel room. If all end seats are taken, please show your sticker to the room staff and they will do their best to rearrange people to make a seat (two, if you are accompanied) at the end of a row available to you.

  • You are allowed to have one companion stay with you, wherever you are seated.
  • You are not entitled to a front row seat. Accessibility seating will not be in the front row.
  • Seating will be provided at the available end of any row. For example, the last person in the room will be given a seat at the end of the last row.

One important thing to remember: we will do our best to make sure that all events are accessible to you, but that does not mean that you are guaranteed a seat. If you are going to a popular event, you must get there early to get a good seat, just like everyone else. If you arrive late, or even “on time” for an event, you may not get the seat you would prefer, and in some cases you may not be able to get in at all.* We follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies the number and arrangement required for accessible seating.

Please be advised: If you choose not to participate in the Disability Services program you forfeit any and all benefits afforded by the program.

*Qualification for disability services does NOT guarantee availability of seating. Once the panel or event begins allowing people into the room disability seating is NOT guaranteed.

Children’s Policy

Matsuricon is a growing event and can be overwhelming for anime and gaming fans of all ages, including our youngest fans. We have a few guidelines and policies that will ensure your child’s time at Matsuricon will be awesome.

First and foremost – while we make our event suitable for all ages during the majority of the weekend, any children at the convention are not the direct responsibility of Matsuricon or any of its affiliates. A parent or legal guardian must accompany any and all children under the age of 12 at all times. No questions.

For children 10 and under, a free badge will be given with purchase of a regular badge. Children with a child badge will NOT be admitted to any rooms or events without an accompanying adult with their matching badge.

We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE children to carry some form of identification and parent/guardian contact information with them at all times so that Matsuricon staff may contact the parents or guardians should the need arise. If you need identification cards, the DMV can supply one to anyone, regardless of age, or schools often have a program for child safety that also carries valuable information for when children are separated. If not, laminate a card with emergency information on it for your child to carry in the event of separation.


First and foremost, do not leave your child unattended! It’s easy for a young child to get lost in large crowds.

Make sure your child knows or carries important information, such as your name, what you are wearing, what hotel you are staying at (if any), a cellular phone number, and a home phone number (or an offsite relative, or family friend). If a child is lost, we will make every attempt to contact you via this information.

There is no convention-wide public announcement system. We are unable to page your child if he/she becomes lost. We recommend setting up meeting places and times for children older than 12. We suggest that you do not use the Vendors Hall or the Gaming room as possible meeting places, as these locations are both large, crowded and, in the case of the Gaming room, not well-lit. As an alternative, locations such as the seating stairs in front of the Delaware Rooms, or the Columbus Tourism Desk that is on the first floor are preferable. In the case that you cannot find your child at your designated meeting place and cannot establish contact, please notify either a Matsuricon Security staff member, come to our Convention Operations room and talk to a staff member, or visit our Information Desk.

We wish you and your children a safe and happy convention!