Known as “Akiba,” Akihabara has evolved into an electric town after the WWII when people started to sell radio parts and other electronics in the black market in the area. Nowadays, the place is known as the town for geeks and otaku. Beside small and large electronic shops, there are numbers of shops related to video games, anime, and manga. This is also where “maid cafes” originated.
Akihabara has always been a popular tourist destination as many come to Japan and purchase electronic products but if you’re interested to see a bit more unique side of this town, here are some of the shops and places we recommend you to visit.
Akihabara Tourist Information Center
Before going around the town, we suggest you to go to the tourist information center on the second floor in UDX building near the Akihabara Station. They have multilingual maps that show the location of restaurants, shops, money changers, free wi-fi spots, and duty-free shops. The center offers free wi-fi and internet PC, and English-speaking staff can help you if you need any assistance.
Address: Akihabara UDX 2F, 4-14-1 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 11am – 5:30pm. Closed on Mon & Thu, and the year-end and New Year holidays.
Tamashii Nations Akiba Showroom
Tamashii Nations is a label by a major toy company BANDAI that encompasses the collectible figure brands of Japan. They have a small showroom in the passageway that connects the east and west exits of JR Akihabara station. It is free and you can even take pictures of the exhibited products (there may be exceptions). The space is divided into two: one exhibits the items sold on their online shop and the other is for special exhibition which changes time to time. It’s a good place to check out the latest figures.
Address: JR Akihabara Station, East-West passageway
Open hours: 12pm-8pm (Weekdays), 10am-8pm (Weekends & Public holidays)
Akihabara Radio Center
This building has everything that are otaku-ish: manga, audiovisual goods, military items, plastic models, collectible items like trading cards, figures, dolls, metal badges and so on. They don’t offer duty-free shopping but it’s a good to place to see what kind of things are popular among the people that gather in Akihabara.
Address: 1-15-16 Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 10am-8pm
Gachapon is a capsule toy vending machine. Gachapon Kaikan has hundreds of Gachapon of all kinds. Japanese capsule toys are known for their variety and high quality. The prices are between 100 to 500 yen.
Address: MN Bldg., 3-15-5, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 11am-8pm (Mon-Thu), 11am-10pm (Fri & Sat), 11am-7pm (Sun & Holidays)
Super Potato Retro-kan
Super Potato is a chain used game shop and the Akihabara branch is specialized in Japanese retro games such as Famicon and Super Famicon. The icons of 80s games, Super Mario and Pac-Man are on the building. They have a retro video arcade on the 5th floor as well.
Address: 1-11-2 Sotokanda Chiyoda, Tokyo
Open hours: 11am-8pm (Weekdays), 10am-8pm (Weekends & Public holidays)
Game arcades in Japan is a fun place for both adults and children. You can find crane games, video games, sticker picture booths, rhythm games, shooting games and other newest entertaining game machines.
Address: 1-10-9 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 10am-1am
This black eight story building have both new and used toys, games, collectibles, manga and many other odd things. There are purchase counters on the ground floor where people can bring in items to sell. They also sell JPA, which stands for Japanese Pop Antiques on the ground floor. It’s interesting enough to just see their collection of vintage items.
Address: Soto-Kanda 3-11-12, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 12pm-8pm
Animate is one of the largest chain of anime and game products with stores throughout Japan. They have an event venue on the 7F where they often hold manga authors and voice actresses’ autograph-signing sessions and other events.
Address: 4-3-2 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 10am-9pm
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