Akihabara - One of Tokyo’s Best Shopping Destinations

What to know about Akihabara Tokyo, Japan

History of Akihabara

Akihabara is one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations because of its numerous specialty shops. It is a destination frequented by tourists not only from Japan but from all over the world. Some people call it electrotown because of the presence of numerous electronics shops in the area. It is also a place commonly frequented by anime and manga fans because of the specialty shops that were established in the area. Most comic conventions are also held in the area welcoming anime and manga enthusiasts from different parts of the world.

This played an important role in history as it served as a passage of merchants and travelers that were traveling from Tokyo going to the northwest. Because of its role as a primary highway, it has become a home to a number of artisans and craftsmen. It also became a home to many local and foreign merchants who are traveling to the city from different parts of Japan.

It got the name Akihabara because the entire town was destroyed by a fire in the late 1800s. Because of the frequency of fires in the area, the people have built a shrine to appease the deity of fire. This is in hopes that the town is protected from further occurrences of fire. People call this Akiba Jinja, which decades later became the basis of the town’s name.

Later that century as well, the Akihabara station was established and the town became a center point of both freight and passenger trains. As it turns out, Akihabara had always been a bustling town even during the earlier Japanese times. Soon, small marketplaces were replaced with gigantic shopping malls turning Akihabara into one of the busiest areas in all of Tokyo.

Akihabara Tokyo Hotels

Since Akihabara is a very popular tourist destination, finding places to stay overnight is not too difficult. All around the area are hotels, inns, bed, and breakfasts that provide comfortable and safe places to stay. What is most interesting about this is the fact that Akihabara has a number of what is called as capsule hotels. These are small spaces, or hotel rooms, which are just as large as a box. This box just covers the area around the bed.

A lot of people say that staying here is very comfortable. There are amenities like television, wifi, and lamps inside this tiny bed or capsule. Some popular places are Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado and First Cabin. A full stay is usually about 12 to 24 hours, depending on the type of room which was booked.

In most hotel receptions, there are maps and guides available to help a tourist when they get lost or when they want to save time. Some hotels also offer up deals with tour guides and scheduled tours for foreign tourists. There are also a few tour groups and companies which are official affiliates of certain hotels.

Akihabara Tokyo Map

Akihabara is a small area inside the Sotokanda district which is located in Chiyoda (also known as Chiyoda-ku), Chuo, Tokyo. It is easily accessed through buses and even through the Tokyo Metro Line via the Akihabara station. This particular station takes its visitors to the different parts of the town through its exits. The western exit of the station takes individuals to the electronics shops which made Akihabara popular. In the northern exit lies the anime shops and cafes.

Akihabara Tokyo Location coordinates

What is important to consider for any first-time traveler to Akihabara is to remember the nearest train stations in the area. This place can be accessed via the Akihabara station which is served by multiple railway lines. Among those that are connected to this station are the JR Yamanote line, JR Sobu line, and the JR Keihin Tohoku line. From Tokyo, Akihabara can be accessed through the JR Yamanote road which costs around 140 yen and lasts only about three minutes. The place can also be accessed from Shinjuku by riding the JR Chuo line which costs about 170 yen for roughly 17 minutes.

What does Akihabara Boast about?

Akihabara Tokyo Anime

Anime related goods can be anything. There are shops that sell pillows and beddings which are adorned with the faces of anime characters. There are also shops that sell notebooks, paper plates, cups, bags, and the like which are inspired by animated characters. Furthermore, there are also toys and other collectibles being sold in many places in Akihabara.

They say that the best place to enjoy anime related goods would be Radio Kaikan. This is a place that sells almost anything as long as they are anime related – like a trade or a purchase. Akihabara does not only sell anime and manga related goods, there are also considerations for games and their main characters.

Akihabara Electronics

Since it is widely known as electro town a lot of gadget enthusiasts know that the best place to shop for gadgets in all of Japan would be Akihabara. It is home to multiple story shopping centers that sell nothing else but electronics.

It is also important to know that even if it is one of the best places to shop for gadgets, there is no promise that they can offer the cheapest price. The only good thing about this is the fact that the buyer has countless options when buying any particular gadget.

Among the major electronics stores located in Akihabara would be Sofmap which operates more than 10 shops all over the district. It is a known reseller of both Apple and Android products. They also sell gaming equipment, console games, and software.

Another popular store in Akihabara would be the Loax. This place is popular because they sell tax-free items. They sell not only electronics but musical equipment as well. Another place popular for tax-free goods (not just electronics) would be a small shop known as Akky. They sell almost all kinds of things – computers, software, television, and more.

Akihabara Tokyo Things to do and see

Otaku Culture

One of the many things that make Akihabara popular in Tokyo is through what they call as the Otaku culture. These are people who are known to be very passionate about their hobbies (some people call them diehard fans). Also known as hobbyists, these people spend their time and money displaying and sharing their interests with the world.

The most common kinds of otakus are those that spend a fortune buying the latest and trendiest gadgets. These may include cell phones, cameras, laptops, and much more. Since Akihabara is a place best known for its electronic shops, a lot of gadget “geeks” frequent these streets to shop for the latest gadgets.

Another kind of otaku would be cosplayers and manga lovers. Since Akihabara is also known best for its anime centers and manga café, a lot of groups go to Akihabara to join together and express their passion and enjoyment in wearing costumes of their favorite anime characters. So popular cosplay in the area that there are events and conventions held in this town to attract anime and manga fans not only from Japan but from all over the world. Going to Akihabara specifically to enjoy the anime culture is surely one of the best experiences for anyone who travels to Japan.

Akihabara Tokyo Maid Café

Also due to the Otaku culture, maid cafes are quite popular in Akihabara. These are pastry and coffee shops that usually feature waitresses in cute Victorian style maid outfits. Oftentimes, these made cafés are themed after a popular anime or manga with special appearances from its key characters.

The food is not only the key attractive element of these cases, the service itself is impeccable. The “maids” are supposed to attend to their “master” and serve their every request. Some maid cafes have one “maid” assigned for every table and are made to wait on the people that they serve. This includes pouring the drink, serving the food, and more.  A lot of tourists enjoy going to these maid cafes not only because of the food and the ambiance but also due to the interestingly unique experience it has to offer.

Akihabara Tokyo Anime Center

On the fourth floor of the UDX building of Akihabara Crossfield, the Tokyo Anime Center is located. This is one of the most popular anime related destination. Fans go to this place to see exhibitions, events, and conventions. They also sell goods like souvenirs, toys, and even stationery. It is also a great place to trade collectibles and rare items. There are also collectible action figures and other anime merchandise. What is interesting about this place is that most fans dress up as their favorite characters every time there is a comic convention or anime event.  

This place is usually open between 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on a daily basis. The anime center in Tokyo is closed during Mondays and holidays.

Gundam Café

This is probably one of the most popular themed cafés in Akihabara. All of their food items are inspired by the anime series, Gundam. Most of the dishes and drinks are designed with themes and colors from the anime. For those who are fans of the Gundam toy and anime, there is a special gift shop that is located adjacent to the café. This place is open between 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, daily. What is special about it is that they never close even during holidays. This is so that they could attend to tourists that will make an effort of visiting Akihabara from faraway places in the world.

AKB48 Café and Shop

This particular café and restaurant are just as famous as the Gundam café. The only difference is that instead of being inspired by an anime or a toy, the AKB48 shop is based on a popular j-pop idol group. It is said that most of the food items in the menu are “favorites” of or are inspired by the AKB48 cast. Inside the café is a stage where the rotating casts of the AKB48 group perform on a daily basis.

Akihabara Tokyo at night

The small town is usually rustling and bustling during the day but once these electronics stores close up for the night, where could tourists go? Since Tokyo may be considered as a city that never sleeps, there are a number of places to go at night time.

There are a number of bars and clubs around the area. Anyone looking for a somewhat home-grown and traditional experience can go to Izakayas or gastropubs. These are places where salary men and employees go for a night of drinking after work. They are small stalls made from wood and decorated with cute paper lanterns. There are chefs seen cooking at the center. For those who do not wish to go clubbing, there are a number of pachinko parlors and video gaming centers all over the place.

Yodobashi Akihabara

Other than the fact that Akihabara is home to multiple electronics and anime themed stores, there are still places in Akihabara that sell many different things. It is said that it will take an entire day for a person to fully enjoy shopping inside Yodobashi.  One particular place would be the Yodobashi Camera store. It has a total of nine floors that sell almost anything. Each floor has a specialty. The first floor sells anything mobile like cell phones and tablets. The second floor sells PC everything – parts, software, printers, and accessories. The third floor sells anything related to photography like cameras, films, camera accessories and more.

The fourth floor sells anything related to audio-visuals like headphones, projectors and more. The 5th floors is home appliances and kitchen appliances. The 6th floor sells gaming equipment, sports equipment, and musical instruments. The seventh floor is a department store that sells books, clothing, bags, and the like. The eighth floor is a cafeteria and the ninth floor is a café combined with a driving range and a golf store.