Akihabara Area

AkibaAtNight

Akihabara is all about maid cafés, cosplay supply stores & all things electronic. It’s where the new, newer, newest of electronics, household goods (like smart toilet seats) and everything J-pop is sold. Akiba has also become the center for cosplaying – people who dress up like characters from manga or anime on the weekends.

Retro-geeks fear not – the electronics components bazaars are still alive and well, but the hottest tickets in Akihabara today are 100% pop culture: comic books ( including fan fiction that is definitely not for kids!), anime, idol singers, maid cafés, model making and cosplaying.

MaidAdsPink
Akihabara is the place to find maid cafés by the dozen.
Maids
The street where maids hand out flyers.

To find a maid café that welcomes foreigners: walk along the street (marked on this map) and pass by the maids handing out flyers. If a maid hands you a flyer advertising her café, consider yourself invited. Most flyers have a map to the café on them (FYI they tend not to be on the ground floor). If a maid doesn’t hand you a flyer, assume that her café isn’t set up to receive non-Japanese. The food tends to be unremarkable teenager-boy fare (not a vegetable in sight), but the hourly rate you’ll pay on top of the price of your lunch buys you the experience of being served by girls dressed like comic book maids who call you “Go-shujin-sama” (master of the house) or “O-hime-sama” (princess). (Note: Taking photos of the maids is strictly forbidden, except when bought as part of a “setto” (entree + drink + service) that includes a Polaroid (taken by a staff member) of you posing with the maid of your choice.)

GundamCafe
Modelmaking is a high art in Akihabara. Extremely specialized hobby stores cater to robot and character makers, who can then meet for lunch at the Gundam robot cafe near the station.
Akihabara’s Kanda Myōjin Shrine is always worth a visit, because it’s where anime and comic book artists come to pray for success!
On the corner near the UDX building, a mysterious path of blue neon bars leads up up the stairs to the Anime Center, and beyond.
On the corner near the UDX building, a mysterious path of blue neon bars leads up up the stairs to the Anime Center, and beyond.
Vocaloid
Pop idols (including imaginary anime ones like Vocaloid) are extremely popular in Akihabara. AKB48, the most popular idol band in Japan, started out performing on the 8th floor of the Akihabara Don Kihote store.
Toilet
Electronics superstores like Yodobashi Camera are still king in this neighborhood, selling entertaining goods such as this deluxe toilet seat. Not only is it heated, the lid raises automatically when you approach, it washes and dries you on command, then deodorizes the surroundings!
Yodabashi Camera has over a hundred gacha-gacha vending machines that sell everything from fake sea slugs to poo shooters.
Yodobashi Camera also has more than a hundred gacha-gacha vending machines that sell everything from fake sea slugs to poo shooters.
The Radio Kaikan building is filled with shops selling everything from the most obscure action figures to make-your-own dolls.
The Radio Kaikan building is filled with shops selling everything from the most obscure action figures to make-your-own dolls.
WoodenKeyboardStore
The Aki-oka Artisan Co-op under the train tracks sells absolutely gorgeous handmade goods, from wooden computer keyboards to custom-made umbrellas.
HentaiDapato
Only in Akihabara will you find an entire department store devoted to adults-only toys, games and costumes.

Also worth seeing are an especially weird Don Kihote 🔎Google Map, with a maid café and AKB48 theatre on the top floor and a building called Super Potato 🔎Google Map: six floors of lovingly refurbished old game systems and games.

The best way to see this neighborhood is by wandering the streets and dipping into any building that looks interesting. But I also highly recommend downloading the one-hour Tokyo Realtime audio walking tour. You can go at your own pace by starting and stopping it, and it’ll not only give you the most interesting bits of history, it’ll also take you to truly out-of-the-way sights like hobby shops dedicated to insane levels of model-making, vending machines that dispense meals-in-a-can, comic book costume emporiums, and the one-stop-shop for collectible Goth-Lolita dolls. The tour works on any MP3 player or iPod/iPhone.

Most stores open at 10:00 a.m.

AKIHABARA AREA MAP

Nearby destinations: Asakusa, Asakusa-bashi, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Inari-cho, Kappabashi, Ningyo-cho, Ueno, Yushima Shrine

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a natural disaster, Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, where he finds evidence that suggests the impossible. How could the head priest have been murdered by someone who was already dead?…read more

 

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