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Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tokyo
Population
12,059,237

Akihabara

Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Akihabara isn’t called Electric Town for no reason. As soon as you step off the train, you’re bombarded with adverts for all the latest gaming technology, anime merchandise and themed cafes. The gigantic Yodabashi-camera, alongside Chuo Dori (or main street’s) equally large selection of shops, create a gaming mecca where the most up-to-date 3D gaming gear, robotics and vintage consoles are all found within walking distance of each other.

Tokyo, Japan - October 29, 2010: Vendors and shoppers in the busy Akihabara district of Tokyo, famous for the commerce in electronics

Akihabara, or Akiba, is a great place to pick up cheap electronics – hence the nickname “Electric Town”.

Akihabara’s Book Off is a great place to start if you want to track down some seriously cheap second-hand games that you might not be able to find anywhere else.

In Akiba, it’s cheaper to purchase a robotic dog than a real dog.

In fact, the gaming business is so important here that the Kanda Myojin Shrine, the nerdiest shrine in Tokyo, sells charms for success in the IT business in the shape of data chips.

SEGA and Taito gaming stations are also jam-packed with cool arcade games and UFO catchers full of geeky merchandise. Whereas the arcades of other countries are falling into disrepair, Japan’s are just as youthful and exciting as ever.

Of course, Akihabara is not only about gaming but is also the overflowing source of all things anime and manga. Big chains like Animate and Manadarake have multiple stores here, many specialising in certain genres such as idol anime or figures. Tokyo Anime Center, opposite the station’s Electric Town Exit, functions as an exhibition space for both new and old anime series which should keep fans of all ages entertained.

Tokyo, Japan - December 30, 2014: two teenagers use their portables in Akihabara district. On the wall behind them drawings of Manga.

Akihabara is the holy land of Tokyo’s otaku fan culture.

Akihabara is extremely built up so the best advice is to keep looking up. Sometimes the good stores are hidden away on the fifth or sixth floors of a building. Mitsubado, for second-hand cosplay, is an example as it also offers a 5% student discount. Cosplayers often flock to the area on Sundays, when the street is closed, and cosplay shops are rife here.

All that gaming and shopping is going to make you ravenous, so it’s a good thing that Akihabara is also a hub for wacky themed cafes. There are animal cafes, maid cafes (standard maid cafes can be found everywhere but Cure Maid Cafe, which is Victorian themed and Little TGV, which is railway station themed, offer even more of a novelty factor), butler cafes, Gundam cafes, AKB48 cafes and even Final Fantasy’s Eorzea cafe.

Akihabara also has a progressive non-themed food scene like Nadeshiko Sushi – a rare sushi restaurant with all-female sushi chefs.

Trivia

In Akiba, it’s cheaper to purchase a robotic dog than a real dog.

In Japan, prices for puppies in your local pet store can easily reach 300,000 yen (around $3000) but robotic pooches can be bought for 88,000 yen (around $830) from various robotic shops.

How To Get There

By train

The Hibiya Subway line runs through Akihabara Station. Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Subway line is located around the northern end of the district.

Where To Stay

Dormy Inn Akihabara
  • Sotokanda 4-12-5 Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 101-0021
  • 8.5/10
  • 0.2 km
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Akihabara Bay Hotel (Female Only)
  • Kandaneribei-cho 44-4 Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 101-0022
  • 8.9/10
  • 0.2 km
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Super Hotel Akihabara Suehirocho
  • Ueno 3-2-5 Taito-Ku, Tokyo 110-0005
  • 9.1/10
  • 0.2 km
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APA Hotel Akihabara-Ekimae
  • Kanda Sakuma-cho 2-13-1 Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 101-0025
  • 7.7/10
  • 0.4 km
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