Translated by Hilary Keyes
Akihabara - The Electric Town and Center of Japan's Pop Culture
Written by Matcha Admin
Everything you could want to know about gaming, anime, cosplay, electronics and maid cafes in Akihabara, the world capital of Otaku Culture.
Did you complete your last mission with ease? Do you have fond memories of waking up on Saturday morning to watch Dragonball Z? Have you built your own PC but need more RAM? Or would you like to eat pancakes served to you by a French maid?
Akihabara, with its Electric Town, is known worldwide as the area in Tokyo where you can find practically anything related to electronics, anime and video games. Moreover, it is an important center of Japan's modern pop culture, catering to the needs of anime, manga and idol culture enthusiasts, usually referred to as "otaku".
We have gathered all the information about the various kinds of shops and services you can find in Akihabara. This complete guide to Akiba will be updated as new articles appear on MATCHA, so please bookmark this page if you would like to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information on Japan's center of Otaku culture.
Overview of Akihabara
Reaching Akihabara from the airport and other major stations can be rather tricky if you aren't comfortable with Japan's train systems. In this article, we give the best routes and prices to reach Akihabara from four major stations in Tokyo.
Learn the history of Akihabara's association with electronics and how to find your way through the city from the station to this oddly historical spot.
In Akiba but not sure where to start? Let MATCHA be your guide! Here are our 4 top picks to get you started on your visit through this bustling, bright city.
Not only is Akihabara a popular shopping area, it's also a busy hub station. Navigating through the station to Electric Town and beyond can be a bit tricky, so here you will find a step-by-step guide to making your way through the station.
Follow along with Ginny as she wanders through Akihabara and visits some of the most exciting and interesting shops that the area has to offer.
The seven best stores to find souvenirs that are representative of Akihabara's electronics and anime culture; if you are looking for something in particular, then these are the places for you. From mainstream goods to truly unique items, these shops should definitely be on your list when you head to Akihabara.
If you are shopping on a budget but don't want to feel that you are, Don Quijote Akihabara is the best place to head. A bit different from other locations, Akiba's Donki has plenty of anime, gaming and idol goods to choose from, as well as a cosplay floor and in-store duty free service.
If you are looking more for anime/idols specific goods, then in this article you will find more targeted shops for you! With stores selling anime and manga as well as anime related items, these shops are perfect for beginners to Akiba and those who have a specific item in mind.
The Thanko Rare-mono Shop sells truly rare electronic and souvenir goods. If you are in need of some USB devices or goods that can only be found in Japan, this is the place for you.
Game Centers, Arcades and Retro Fun
If you are a fan of video games, then you are in luck! There are many different game centers or arcades to visit in Akiba; each with its own specialty. For everyone from beginners, crane-game enthusiasts, people looking for the latest games, retro gamers and serious players, these seven game centers are sure to satisfy.
Laser tag and paintball are two popular ways to wage battle with your friends, but have you ever tried it with an airsoft gun? At ASOBIBA you can take part in multiple player survival games. Are you ready for the challenge?
Retro gaming fans, this is the place for you. At Super Potato you can find old gaming systems, video games and goods for games dating from the 80's and 90's - sometimes even from the late 70's. If you have fond memories of playing Pong or any of the original arcade standbys, then please head to Super Potato.
If you want to experience traditional Japanese culture but are desperate to get online fast, look no further than Nagomi Style.Cafe - a must visit net cafe in Akihabara that combines Kyoto-style with modern Japanese culture.
Electronics - The Original Akihabara Staple
YODOBASHI AKIBA sells thousands of Japanese brand name electronics, and offers plenty of tourist-friendly services, but more than that, you can take part in video game battles and try some great sweets here too.
For those with a passion for computers, LABI Akihabara PC store is perhaps the best shop to visit in Akihabara. A 1 minute walk from the Electric Town Exit, this conveniently located shop has everything you could want.
Buying electronics in another country can be dangerous: the voltage used in each country is different and goods that work perfectly in Japan might not even fit the plugs in your home overseas. To avoid wasting money, head to AKKY which specializes in overseas-compatible electronics.
Anime, Games and Cosplay Supplies Shops
No trip to Akihabara would be complete without visiting at least one of these incredible anime shops! Die-hard fans and newcomers alike will love these shops and their wide selection of anime, manga and related goods.
No matter if you are a professional cosplayer or just getting started on your very first costume, making a stop at ACOS Akihabara is a must. From foundation to false ears, contacts and costumes and more, this shop has everything you need to change into your favorite anime characters.
Everyone remembers begging their parents for change to play with the candy dispensers outside movie theaters, grocery stores and shopping malls. Gachapon machines work on the same principle, but dispense tiny toys and figurines instead.
Collectors and die-hard fans will love the Mandarake Complex; here you can find items from yesteryear, old video game systems and other collectibles that you might have been searching for. If you have a very specific item in mind, try checking here first.
Each of the four Sofmap stores in Akihabara specializes in different items and in this article we explain them all.
If you like anime and voice actors, check out Akihabara Gamers store for the very latest in Japanese anime news and goods. You might even find the next big thing amid the shelves here.
Would you like to completely change your appearance but don't know where to start? Why not give cosplaying at a professional studio a try? The pros here will get you ready as the character of your choice and you can
The latest news about all things otaku is broadcast from this screen right over the crowds of Akihabara, so if you'd like the latest scoop, head here first!
Maid Cafes - At Your Service
One of the biggest and certainly one of the most popular, @Home Cafe is the top maid cafe in all of Akihabara. With several floors and menus in many languages, you are sure to have a great time in this cafe.
For a maid cafe with a twist, check out Akihabara NEWTYPE which features a cast of cross-dressing maids and lots of sweet services that men and women are sure to love.
Would you like to go sightseeing in Akihabara but don't want to join a regular tour? Why not take a tour with a maid as your guide? You'll see all the best shops, spots and even try some great foods along the way.
If you want to gain a better understanding of just what a maid cafe is, please check out this introduction to the popular Akihabara-original spots.
Follow our updates on Akihabara and make the best of your visit to the Electric Town!