Akihabara is a buzzing area in the north east of central Tokyo known as the electronic town because of the many shops selling video games, anime and manga and electronic goods. The name Akihabara originates from Akiba, the fire protecting deity of the shrine that was built in the area after a destroying fire in 1869. The area has become more and more popular among foreign tourists as a trip destination. Mostly because Japanese Pop culture is gaining popularity in other countries, maybe you have heard of the AKB48? A group of Japanese idols consisting of teenage girls that are very popular in Japan and abroad. However, there is much more than just a pop culture in Akihabara, and even those who are not interested in it can have fun experiences there! In this article, we will introduce some places to visit in Akihabara!
1. Yodobashi Camera (Yodobashi Akihabara)
Yodobashi camera is one of the most famous electronics shops that have a number of locations all over Japan. As you can see, it has the word “camera” in its name, but it doesn’t mean that they handle only cameras or related equipment. They actually sell a large variety of stuff including home appliances, computers, gadgets, toys, and even hobby items! You can literally find anything (electronic) you want. Yodobashi Akihabara is located near JR Yamanote line, and you will immediately notice the huge building with it’s neon-lights and colours, after walking out of the station.
2. Maid Cafe
If you are familiar with Japanese (pop) culture, you probably known about the maid cafe’s. Maid cafe’s are cafe-style places where waitresses are dressed up in maid costumes, and customers are treated as masters. Just like an ordinary cafe, you can order food and drink, and they are served with cute, unique toppings representing the kawaii culture of Japan. There are also various services depending on each cafe, such as waitresses singing and dancing on a stage or taking a photo with customers. In most cases, prices are relatively high compared to casual cafes, but it is definitely a unique experience that you should not miss out on while in Japan!
3. Kanda Myojin Shrine
If you are looking for some historical places to visit in this buzzing town, Kanda Myojin Shrine might be the perfect place to experience the more traditional aspect of Japan. It is a Shinto shrine established in 730, making it the oldest shrines in Tokyo! It enshrines three different deities; the god of marriage tie Onamuchinomikoto (大己貴命), the god of business prosperity Sukunahikonanomikoto (少彦名命) and the god of expelling evil Tairanomasakadonomikoto (平将門命). It is one of the most powerful shrines and frequently patronised by large numbers of people. The shrine also stages (parts of) the Kanda Festival, one of the biggest Shinto festivals. It is also visited by many tourists and anime fans because of its accessible location and the collaboration with famous anime characters!
Kanda Myojin Shrine Official Website
Open 24 hrs
No admission fee
4. SEGA Akihabara 3rd
Sega is a Japanese famous company that is mainly engaged in developing and publishing new video games. They have several buildings in Akiba area, and the 3rd building is only a couple of minute walk from Akihabara station. It is mainly an amusement arcade, and there are a variety of game machines including claw machines and purikura (a photo sticker booth). In addition, they have a special room designated for VR experience called SEGA VR AREA AKIHABARA, where you can enjoy a shooting game with cool VR equipment!
SEGA Akihabara 3rd Official Website
10am – 11.30pm
5. Don Quijote Akihabara
Don Quijote is a Japanese discount chain store dealing with a large selection of products ranging from snacks to cosmetics. Each store has a unique marketing strategy targeting particular customers depending on the location. Don Quijote Akihabara sells comics, anime products, costumes, and also has an idol theater called AKB Theater, where one of the most popular girls idol group AKB48 held their first performance in 2005. If you are interested in Japanese idol, it is definitely a must-visit place! Don Quijote is also a great place for buying souvenirs.
6. Akihabara Gachapon Hall
Gachapon is a vending machine that sells toys in a plastic capsule, another fun souvenir to bring home. You can find it almost everywhere in Japan, especially in amusement arcades or big shopping malls. You can get tiny, good quality toys from ¥100 up to ¥500. You can’t choose which one you will get, so it’s all up to luck, which makes it more exiting! Akihabara Gachapon Hall is a small shop filled with Gachapon machines, and always crowded with Gachapon fans. Don’t forget to bring a lot of 100-yen coins as bills cannot be used for Gachapon machines!
7. Animal cafe
If you are looking for somewhere not related to pop culture so much but still very kawaii, you can go to an animal cafe. You can find a different types of animal cafes in Japan, and there are of course some popular animal cafes in Akihabara area. A visit to an animal cafe is very popular in Japan, because many people cannot keep their own pet. It is enjoyable even for adults and offers you a relaxing time. Please do follow the rules in the cafe!
8. Gundam Cafe
If you are a Gundam fan, you can’t miss Gundam cafe, a popular themed cafe located really close to Akihabara station. All the menus are based on Gundam series, and you can enjoy the food and drink while listening to the theme songs playing in the cafe! They also have a small gift shop selling original products featuring Gundam characters, so it is a perfect place to get something as souvenirs for Gundam lovers!
undam Cafe Official Website
10am – 9.30pm
9. Super Potato Akihabara
Super Potato Akihabara is a store that specialises in selling second-hand video games. Japanese video games are surprisingly popular and have a numerous number of fans all over the world. You can find old video games that will bring back childhood memories and that you probably won’t get to play back in your country, so many people end up spending more time there than they originally expected! On the fifth floor Super Potato also has a vintage video game arcade, a fun activity on a rainy day (or any day really).
10. Kyusyu Jangara Ramen
It may sound surprising, but Akihabara has a number of ramen restaurants and is a very competitive ramen area to other famous ramen areas in Tokyo. Kyusyu Jangara Ramen is ons of the most popular among them, and has received many good reviews from (foreign) customers. What makes them special is a menu that includes some vegan ramen such as and Vegan Sho-yu (soy sauce) Ramen. They have only limited number of seats (18 seats in total), so you might have to wait a little bit outside, but it is definitely well worth it!
Kyusyu Jangara Ramen Official Website
10.30am – 11pm
¥600 – ¥1.200
Don’t forget to check out our private tours!
If you need some help to organize your trip to Akihabara, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re are happy to help you make your trip to Akihabara, or Japan in general, a great and unforgettable one. Let us know your interests and wishes and we will make the perfect itinerary for you!
Where to stay in Akihabara
- Hotel Resol Akihabara – our top pick, modern, industrial hotel.
- Grids Tokyo Asakusa-bashi Hotel＆Hostel – great location, just out of the buzzing centre.
- Little Japan – small hostel, perfect if you are on a budget.
Akihabara is sometimes referred as electronic town or otaku no machi (geek town). The heart of Otaku (geek) culture offers a large number of attractions and places to visit, so it is all up to you whether you can enjoy the area or not so much. If you want to feel the unique, lively atmosphere, we really recommend you going here! Seeing all the fun kawaii things, flashing neon lights and buzzing atmosphere is definitely something special! Will you visit Akihabara or do you have places that we should include on the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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