Akihabara is one of Japan’s liveliest and most interesting districts located in the Chiyo Ward of Tokyo. Nicknamed as “Electric Town” or “Denki-Gai” as called by the locals, this little strip has lots to offer, especially when it comes to gadgets and electronics. Akihabara is known for so many things. If you can only choose one district to explore in Tokyo and you want to make the most of your trip, this would be the ideal place. Here are 15 of the best things that you can do while in Akihabara.
1. Visit a pet cafe
Source: Takashi Hososhima
If you’re a pet lover, you should definitely put pet cafes on your itinerary for when you visit Akihabara. Most of these pet cafes feature cats but there are also those that feature bunnies and other furry animals. Cuddle with them while you sip on your tea or coffee or simply watch them play and roam around the cafe while you relax and pass some time.
2. Try a maid cafe
Source: Guilhem Vellut
Maid cafes are unique to Japan and Akihabara has some of the best ones around. It shouldn’t be too hard finding one while you’re traversing the Akihabara strip as there are usually maids outside the cafe who will come up to you and entice you to come inside. Each cafe has a different menu but most of them offer inexpensive Japanese meals and snacks which are perfect for those who are taking a break from exploring the Akihabara District.
3. Catch AKB48 at the AKB48 Theatre
Source: Dennis Amith
AKB48 is an all-girl J-Pop band that’s not only popular in Tokyo but all over Japan, too. If you’re a fan of J-pop of Japanese pop culture, you might have already heard of them and if you’re a fan who’s traveling to Akihabara, make sure to check out the AKB48 theater. if you’re lucky, you might even catch them doing a show there.
- Name: AKB48 Theatre
- Address: 8th fl, Don Quijote, 4-3-3 Soto-KandaChiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
- Phone: 03-5298-8648
- Website: www.akb48.co.jp/english/overseas/index.html
- Access: JR Yamanote line to Akihabara, Electric Town exit
- Opening hour: 05:00PM
4. Get your game on at the Gigo Sega Building
Source: Erica Rivera
If you grew up playing Japanese video games, this stop is definitely for you. The Gigo Sega Building at Akihabara in Tokyo is just a wonderland for all things geek or, as the Japanese like to say, “otaku”. The Gigo Sega Building has all sorts of games and gaming consoles, from the old ones that you probably haven’t seen or heard of to the latest and most modern ones that you will love to take home.
- Name: Gigo Sega Building
- Address: 1-15-1 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
- Phone: (00 81) 03-3252-7528
- Opening hour: 10:00 AM
- Website: http://tempo.sega.jp/am/akiba-gigo/
5. Game and grub at a game bar
Source: Naosuke II
If your idea of the perfect holiday is staying indoors and eating while playing your favorite game, come to Akihabara! There are tons of places where you can get your game on but if you want that experience coupled up with good food, then you can opt to go to a gaming bar instead where you can eat and play games until you’re satisfied.
6. Buy electronics at Yodobashi Camera
For all the gadget geeks out there who are planning on taking a trip to Akihabara, be sure to drop by Yodobashi Camera. Yodobashi is one of Japan’s leading chain of stores that sell all sorts of electronic products, from home appliances to today’s latest and hottest gadgets. At the Akihabara store, they even have a pink section where you can see pink versions of the stuff that they sell.
- Name: Yodobashi Camera
- Address: Japan, Yubinbango101-0028 Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku Kanda Hanaokacho, 1-1
- Phone: +81 3-5209-1010
- Opening hour: 09:00AM
- Website: www.yodobashi.com
7. Visit Kanda Myojin
Kanda Myojin is a shrine located right in the busy district of Akihabara in Tokyo but it’s nothing like your everyday shrine. Unlike other shrines you’ll find elsewhere that are dedicated to the gods of peace, bountiful harvest, rain, and other stuff like that, Kanda Myojin is dedicated to the gods of geekery. Before you leave, be sure to get yourself a charm from the shrine that comes complete with a card for your wallet, a sticky strip for your laptop or computer and a tiny one shaped like an SD card for your phone.
- Name: Kanda Myojin
8. Stock up on manga
Source: WeI-chieh Chiu
Whatever genre of manga you’re into, you will surely find one that you will like while exploring Akihabara. Anime and manga are two of the hottest and most popular themes in and around Akihabara so finding one that you like should be easy enough. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a shop that not only sells manga comic books but also memorabilia, toys, and other things related to your favorite manga.
9. Go wild at the Tokyo Anime Center
Another ‘must’ for anime lovers in Akihabara is Tokyo Anime Center. This place is the ultimate mecca for all things otaku. There are various displays and exhibits that will make anime lovers’ mouths water and a ton of goodies that you can shop and take home with you as a souvenir. There are also scheduled mini charity concerts, auctions and other events that you can participate in at the Tokyo Anime Center.
- Name: Tokyo Anime Center
- Address: 4F Akihabara UDX, 4-14-1 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-002
- Phone: 03-5298-1188
- Opening hour: 11:00AM
- Website: www.animecenter.jp
10. Collect gachapons
If you don’t know what gachapons are, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. Gachapons are capsule toys that come out from little vending machines that you feed your money (coins) into. They’re very collectible and can be very addicting, too. Gachapon toys / characters are often anime- and TV show-inspired so they’re perfect for fans and collectors.
11. Hoard from Mandarake
Source: Jorge Cortell
Stepping into Mandarake is like entering otaku heaven. This shop in Akihabara has everything that you could ever want, need, and dream of that is related to anime and manga. Comic books, toys, figurines — you name it, they have it! They even have VHS copies, VCDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray copies and copies in other formats of your favorite animes and they sell pre-loved collectibles for anime lovers on a budget as well.
- Name: Mandarake
- Address: 3-11-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
- Phone: +81 3-3252-7007
- Opening hour: 12:00PM
- Website: www.mandarake.co.jp
12. Check out a weapon store
Aside from manga and anime paraphernalia, you will also be able to find weapons in Akihabara. Most of the shops here sell Japanese weapons like samurais and shurikens that you see in movies / TV shows as well as some of the usual weapons that you can find just about everywhere like guns and knives. Some shops sell real weapons, others sell replicas / toy weapons and some shops have all of them up for sale.
13. Stay at a capsule hotel
Capsule hotels have originated from Japan and this one in Akihabara features rooms that are designed to look like cozy airplane seats. The First Cabin Capsule Hotel is a great hotel to stay at if you’re planning on thoroughly exploring Akihabara as it is just a few minutes away from the Akihabara Station and is very near all the shops and attractions that are part of your itinerary.
- Name: First Cabin Capsule Hote
- Address: Yubinbango101-0025 3-38, Kandasakumacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81 3-5148-1130
- Opening hour: open 24/7
- Price: JPY1000 – JPY5000
- Credit card: Yes
- Parking: Yes, JPY1500
14. Cosplay like a pro with Studio Crown
Source: Ricardo 清介 八木
If you’ve always wanted to try out cosplaying but didn’t know where and how to start, this is a must for you. Studio Crown is making cosplayer newbies and wannabes’ dreams come true by helping them cosplay like a pro with stunning costumes and props and offering photography services to boot so you can bring home your cosplay memories and show them to everyone.
- Name: Studio Crown
- Address: 2 Chome-4-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
- Phone: 03-5577-5995
- Opening hour: 10:00AM
- Website: www.studio-crown.com
15. Shop at Don Quijote
Source: Dick Thomas Johnson
No visit to Japan is complete without a trip or two to Don Quijote. If you’re looking for a place where you can do all your souvenir shopping, this multi-level shopping spot is exactly where you need to go. Everything, from the usual Japanese souvenirs to cute and quirky novelty items, is sold here.
- Name: Don Quijote
- Address: 4-3-3 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, JAPAN, 101-0021
- Phone: 03-5298-5411 / 03-5298-5422
- Website: www.donki.com
- Opening hour: 10:00AM
There is so much to see and do in Akihabara so be sure to plan your trip carefully. Never shop on impulse as many shops sell the same stuff and there will always be that one shop selling items for far cheaper than all the other shops so canvass first and get the most bang for your buck.
Have a good trip and travel!