Akihabara is a vibrant Tokyo neighborhood known for its flashing neon signs, J-pop music, electronic shops, and Otaku goods. It’s a small subsection of Tokyo but has a totally different vibe from the rest of the city. Akihabara has a reputation for being the hub of Japan’s Otaku culture. Here, you’ll find a long line of shops and establishments dedicated to manga and anime. Akihabara is also called the Akihabara Electric Town (Japanese Name: Denki Gai) since it’s a major shopping hub of electronic goods in Japan, including post-war black markets.
What To See and Do
If you’re a diehard anime fan, you’ll surely have a blast exploring Akihabara’s vibrant streets. Check out the Tokyo Anime Center to witness its incredible exhibitions. Visit the various manga shops lining the streets of Akihabara to look for trinkets, gaming figurines, and pretty much anything related to anime. If you’re lucky, you might come across Pokémon, which is said to be the epitome of the Otaku culture.
Hanging out at maid cafes is another exciting thing to do in Akihabara. Here, you’ll be entertained by a waitress dressed in anime costume that it seems like she has just come out from a Japanese comic book. As a matter of fact, most of the cafes here have an anime theme.
Akihabara is also home to the Kanda Myojin Shrine. This beautiful shrine is dedicated to three Gods – the god of marriage, business prosperity, and expelling evil. Wander through the shrine and relax at its outdoor grounds and soak up the calm and serene environment.
As the shopping hub of electronic goods, your visit to the Akihabara district won’t be complete without stopping by at the best electronic shops in the area. Here, you can shop for all sorts of electronic items, from gaming gadgets to computers and appliances. Some stores offer tax-free shopping for foreign visitors. Simply show them your passport to take advantage of this offer.
Akihabara is a truly interesting place to explore. It is best to start at the Radio Kaikan shopping mall. As you get off the Akihabara Station, look for the exit for “Electric Town” and you’ll find Radio Kaikan on the left side. This shopping mall sells a wide range of electronic gadgets, both second-hand and brand new. From this mall, head towards the Sega Game Center and entertain yourself to a wide array of arcade games.
For anime fans, go check out the Animate, which is the biggest manga store in the district. It’s right on the main street and near Don Quijote, a popular Japanese discount store. After exploring the mall, walk through the streets and you’ll find a plethora of maid cafes. You can hang out at one of these cafes and play games with the maids at your table.
How to Reach the Akihabara District
The best way to access the Akihabara District is by taking the Tokyo metro and getting off at the Akihabara Station. This is one of the busiest stations in Tokyo and is served by the Hibiya Subway Line, Tsukuba Express, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Yamanote Line, and JR Sobu Line.
Akihabara is only two stations away from Tokyo Station and you can get here by taking the train through the JR Yamanote Line or Keihin-Tohoku Line. If you’re coming fro Shinjuku Station, simply take the train at the JR Chuo Line going to Ochanomizu Station and interchange at the JR Sobu Line. From here, Akihabara is only one station away.