Akihabara

Akihabara Electric Town, Tokyo, Japan

Akihabara (short: Akiba), also called Electric Town, is Tokyo's electronics mecca. Centrally located in East Chiyoda-ku, Akihabara is home to over a thousand electronics stores selling all technological gadgets you can imagine. In recent years, it is not just cheap computers and camera parts that have attracted tourists and Japanese people to the area. Akihabara has also become the center of Japan's otaku (geek) subculture of manga and anime lovers. Amidst all this manga mania, young women stand on the streets clad in French maid costumes handing out flyers promoting the ever increasing number of cosplay cafés where the waitresses dress up as anime characters.

A large scale redevelopment of the area north and east of Akihabara Station has taken place, as part of the Tokyo Plan 2000 with the intention “to create a global center for the IT industry”. The result is several new multi-storey complexes such as Yodobashi Akiba, Akihabara UDX and Akihabara Dai Building, taking advantage of the popularity of Akihabara Electric Town to draw consumers.

Akihabara Attractions

In Akihabara it's all about shopping. In addition to the plethora of electronics stores that line the busy streets, Akihabara also has a great number of specialty hobbyist stores, ranging from anime and manga to collectible toys to military and railway fandom. Akihabara also has the highest concentration of arcades. The huge towers of Sega and Taito can't be missed, but there are plenty of others as well.

Akihabara Crossfield

Akihabara Crossfield, Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

Akihabara Crossfield consists of two high-rise buildings: Akihabara Dai Building and Akihabara UDX. The complex aims to be a new focal point for the Akihabara district, providing office and conference space, convention halls and showrooms.

Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Website: http://www.akiba-cross.jp

Tokyo Anime Center

The Tokyo Anime Center is a permanent facility that has been created, to market anime to residents of Japan, as well as Western visitors. The facility hosts regular events like live radio interviews with creators and promotional displays for upcoming movies. You'll also find merchandise from popular anime series, such as mugs, key chains, promotional flyers, mouse pads, etc. It is located on the fourth floor of the Akihabara UDX building, near JR Akihabara Station.

Address: 4F Akihabara UDX, 4-14-1 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-5298-1188
Website: http://www.animecenter.jp
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 19:00 (closed Mondays)
Admission: Free

Mai Foot

Mai Foot, Akihabara Massage Parlor, Tokyo, Japan

Mai Foot is popular maid massage parlor in Akihabara. If you have never received a foot massage by a woman dressed in French maid outfit, here's your chance. Do not forget to discuss manga, anime and various games with her while she gets your sightseeing-weary feet to soften. Mai Foot also has an Oxygen Bar.

Address: 3F Suzuki Building, 3-1-3 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Suehirocho Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Telephone: +81 3-3253-1113
Opening Hours: 12:00 to 21:00 daily

Volks Doll Store

Customize your dream doll with miniature body parts down to the legs and eyeballs at this must-see store in the historic Radio Building. Staff presents buyers of top-of-the-line figures with their purchases in a wedding-style gazebo. Geek heaven.

Address: 6F Radio Building, 1-15-16 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Electric Town Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-5295-8160
Website: http://www.volks.co.jp
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 20:00 daily

Akihabara Shopping

Sprawled in every direction off the main street Chuo-dori are many smaller streets with even more electronics stores. Note that the further from the main street you get the better the prices - but the more you stray, the less foreigner-friendly the shops are. On Sunday afternoons, the main street is blocked to vehicle traffic and the area becomes a bit of a flea market - you can walk freely along the main avenue and many small vendors set up tables on the side streets.

Radio Center

Radio Center, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Radio Center in Akihabara is the biggest electronic components department store in the world. So for all hardcore do-it-yourself electronics geeks out shopping in Tokyo, this is the place to go. It feels like a journey through time has taken place when you enter this unbelievable two-floor warren of tiny shops, each specializing in (for example) LEDs, voltage meters, ceramic capacitors or miniature cameras.

Address: 1-14-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Electric Town Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-3251-0614
Website: http://www.radiocenter.jp (Japanese only)

Yodobashi Akiba

Yodobashi Akiba, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Nine floors of electronics madness from one of Tokyo's biggest electronics chains, with a wide selection of computers, laptops, toys, videos, cameras and audio equipment, including high-end items. Yodobashi have stores all over Tokyo, but the store in Akihabara is the biggest one. Old-school Akihabara loyalists tend to shun the place, which goes against the area's independent roots.

Address: 1-1 Kanda Hanaokacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Showa-dori Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-5209-1010
Website: http://www.yodobashi-akiba.com (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 09:30 to 22:00 daily

LaOX

Laox, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Well-known Akiba institution and Tokyo's largest duty-free shop. LaOX specializes in export products and has English speaking staff on hand. It has a wide range of made-in-Japan electric and electronic products, as well as reliable customer service. There are in fact twelve LaOX stores in Akihabara alone.

Address: 1-2-9 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Electric Town Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-3255-9041
Website: http://www.laox.co.jp/mainstore/
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 daily

Ishimaru Denki

Ishimaru Denki is a general home electronics chain with ten stores across Akihabara. The main store building is brightly lit, and is easy to spot in Akihabara. You should find most of what you need somewhere in their six floors of retail space.

Address: 1-2-9 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Electric Town Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-3257-1100
Website: http://ishimaru.eiden.co.jp (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 20:00 daily

Sofmap

Sofmap, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Sofmap is a major seller of new and used Japan-market computer parts and software. The Sofmap chain has no less than sixteen stores in Akiba alone, with Sofmap Akihabara being their main store. Sofmap Akihabara spans seven floors, and offers games, DVDs, plastic figures, computers, etc. If you're looking to sell your belongings, head to the basement floor.

Address: 3-14-10 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Suehirocho Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Telephone: +81 3-3253-3030
Website: http://www.sofmap.com (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 to 21:00, Sun 11:00 to 20:00

Yamada Denki LABI

Yamada Denki LABI, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Yamada Denki operates a number of stores across Tokyo, with the main store conveniently located next to Akihabara Station. This seven-story building is jammed full of everything electronic from cameras, computers and camcorders to digital audio equipment and more. The prices here are not the bargains you can get a couple streets away, but the selection is matchless.

Address: 1-15-8 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-5207-6711
Website: http://www.yamadalabi.com (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 daily

Animate

Animate, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

If you're looking for popular anime and game merchandise then this might be something for you. Animate is a chain of 90 stores across Japan, which specializes in anime, comics and games. The main store Animate Akihabara offers many fascinating products such as audio/visual, character goods, magazines, etc.

Address: 4-3-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-5209-3330
Website: http://www.animate.co.jp (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 21:00 daily

Cospa Gee Store

The costume shop Cospa Gee Store offers all sorts of getups for geek fashions known as kos-pu-re (costume play). Cool manga costumes featuring characters from Dragon Ball, NARUTO, Hokuto's Fist, as well as striking designer shirts featuring characters from Gundam, Trigun and the like are to be found in this Akihabara cosplay shop.

Address: 2F MN Building, 3-15-5 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-3526-6877
Website: http://www.geestore.com (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 to 20:00, Sun 10:00 to 19:00

Super Potato

Super Potato, Akihabara Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

If you are in Tokyo shopping for retro games, then you need to get yourself to the shop called Super Potato in Akihabara. A graveyard of old video games, forgotten consoles, cartridges and goofy handheld portables discarded from the '80s. Famicom, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast… This shop carries just about any retro type console or game that you can think of, and things that can't be found anywhere else.

Address: 3-5F Kitanayashi Building, 1-11-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-5289-9933
Website: http://www.superpotato.com (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 to 20:00, Sat-Sun 10:00 to 20:00

Akihabara Dining

There are definitely better places in Tokyo that has more to offer than Akihabara when it comes to dining. But if you're in the area, check out the following recommendations.

@home Café

Located on the top floor of the Don Quijote building, @home Café is one of the most popular maid cafés in Akihabara. Food is reasonably priced, with most dishes around the 1,000 yen mark.

Address: 5F Don Quijote Building, 4-3-3 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station
Telephone: +81 3-3254-7878
Website: http://www.cafe-athome.com
Opening Hours: 11:30 to 22:00 daily

Cure Maid

Cure Maid, Akihabara Café, Tokyo, Japan

Rumors claim that the Cure Maid was Akihabara's very first meido café. In these cafés, waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants, and treat customers as masters (and mistresses) in a private home, rather than as café patrons. Cure Maid is more quiet and less expensive than most other venues that have appeared since.

Address: 6F Jisto Akiba, 3-15-5 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku
Telephone: +81 3-3258-3161
Website: http://www.curemaid.jp (only Japanese)
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 19:00 daily

Sushi Zanmai

This Akihabara restaurant offers delicious sushi at reasonable prices. The first floor outlet is a traditional chef and counter operation, the eighth floor is a more foreigner-friendly "conveyor belt"-style. Most plates are in the ¥150-300 range.

Address: 1F/8F Yodobashi Akiba, 1-1 Kanda Hanaokacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Akihabara Station (Showa-dori Exit)
Telephone: +81 3-5298-4798