Japan Travel: Akihabara


Photo credits: travel.gaijinpot.com

Akihabara, known as Tokyo’s Electric Town, is located in Chiyoda’s special district, Tokyo.

Lively and bright, all electronics stores, computer stores, videogames, and everything related to the world of anime and manga are gathered here, in this small district.

Akihabara surely is a center of attraction for otaku that can be found at every corner of the district. おたく/オタク is a Japanese word that since the 80s is used to describe the Japanese subculture of obsessive enthusiasts of manga, anime, and other related products. In the West, this term is used to indicate both Japanese anime and manga enthusiasts, and people passionate about Japanese products in general, without the negative connotation.

Akiahabara itself is not an essential tourist destination but, if you are particularly fond of electronics it definitely transforms into a place not to be missed.

Cult spots of the district

Photo credits: wowsabi.co

Strolling around the ”Electric Town” you might come across a number of stores and buildings you should not miss, like the Yodobashi Akiba, a shopping mall that with its 9 floors is the largest in the world. We can find the Animate store that offers 8 floors full of anime, manga and video games merchandise, or the Mandarake also dedicated to manga and animes though second-hand. And more, the Super Potato, a 4-story store that offers a wide selection of vintage video games and a small 80s-style arcade.

And if you are looking for something you cannot get anywhere else, you will most likely find it where everything started: at Radio Kaikan!

Photo credits: Google image

Opened in 1962, it was the first store to provide television sets, washing machines and fridges for the citizens. It evolved over time to become an otaku paradise. In 2011, after the big earthquake, it was razed to the ground, but then rebuilt to remain a reference point for anime enthusiasts.

The best entertainment place is surely the Maidreamin Maid Cafe, an explosion of colors, shows and “kawaii” themes. This is the perfect place for those of you who want to smile a bit and see what a maid cafe is, even though it is a little bit expensive. On the other hand, if you are a fan of Gundam, there is the Gundam Cafe that right at the entrance offers a small take-out for those who don’t have time to stop inside. Here you can order a taiyaki (traditional fish-shaped Japanese cake) with the shape of Gundam and other Gundam-themed dishes!

Photo credits: akibacity.tokyo

The big green sign

Photo credits: mishajoh.blogspot.it

When we say  “sexy shop” we immediately think about something “dubious”, “shady”, something to stay away from. Instead, the Pop Life Department M’S, located on the corner right outside of Akihabara station, is attractive and funny. Very clean and neat, among the shelves of M’S you can find unimaginable objects! Sets of di sexy cosplays, adults DVDs and many of them are niche products, all the latest technological inventions for  “personal use” and also lifestyle products. Many visitors are simply curious tourists or young couples. Strange thing is that in the basement there are 2 vending machines that sell “used” underwears!

Photo credits: Google image