Living in Japan

Insiders Guide to Visiting Akihabara

If you are or decide to visit Tokyo, going to the hugely famous district of Akihabara is a must. Do not miss it!

If anime and manga and electronic shopping are your thing, Akihabara is definitely the perfect place for you. There you will find a lot of multi-storey buildings full of arcades and claw cranes where you can spend a few yen and have a fun time trying to win a prize. Here we provide you with a guide to the places you have to visit in Akihabara and what to do in this impressive district.

Electronics stores

Akihabara was known initially and until the late 1990s as a place to buy electronic goods, until it diversified and drifted into the world of otaku and cosplay. If you want to buy electronics in Japan, Akihabara is the best place to go in Tokyo. Strolling through its streets you can find many small shops full of electronics, as well as large Japanese chains, such as Bic Camera or Yodobashi Camera.

The Akihabara Radio Center area stands out. It was the first place created for the sale of electronic components in 1949. It is located under the tracks of the elevated train that passes through the neighborhood. It is spread over two floors of labyrinthine and small streets full of tiny electronics stores. It is the heart of Akihabara.

Visiting a maid café

Maid cafes are cafeterias where the waitresses are dressed in maid outfits. They usually wear frilly aprons, caps and cat ears, among other things, in the purest Victorian and kawaii (cute) style.

The most normal thing when you walk through Akihabara is to find one of those maids advertising a maid cafe. They do not usually want to be photographed, so if you want to do it you should ask them first.

The three most popular maid cafes in Akihabara are Honey Honey Akihabara, Maid Cafe Maidreamin Akihabara idol-dori Store, and Cure Maid Cafe. Apart from maid cafes, there are three types of themed cafes you can also find in Akihabara: Neko Cafe & Owl Cafe (for a coffee with cats) and AKB48 Café and Shop (a popular restaurant focused on Japanese idol girl group AKB48).

Video games, manga and anime shops

Shops specializing in manga, anime and video games are scattered throughout Akihabara. You will find hundreds of them, such as the Mandarake chain, the most important in the world specializing in manga and anime. There you will find hundreds of figures of any character, millions of manga and any anime you are looking for.

If you want to try pachinko (arcade machine), then you should definitely go to Big Apple. It is a large building where it is easy to get lost among sophisticated slot machines of all kinds. Super Potato is the paradise of retro game consoles, discontinued video games and other oddities. You will find anything related to the world of video games.

Visiting Kanda Myojin Shinto Shrine

Kanda Myojin Shrine is just a 5-minute walk from Akihabara. For this reason, many people who decide to get to know Akihabara end their visit in this beautiful sanctuary with more than 1,270 years of history. You can go there and pray to improve in business, couple and family relationships.

The shrine is dedicated to three great figures or gods associated with Tokyo: Masakado, Daikoku, and Ebisu.

One of the great festivals of Tokyo is the one that takes place precisely in this sanctuary. It is called Kanda Matsuri and has more than 400 years of history. It is performed on alternate odd years taking turns with the famous Sanno Matsuri festival also in Tokyo. It usually coincides with the weekend closest to May 15.

Renting a Kart

Another of the things to see in Akihabara (or rather “do”) is to rent a kart through the streets of the district dressed as Super Mario Bros. Yes, it may seem like a very weird activity, but it is also very fun, especially to do it in family or with friends.

You can choose from several types of costumes to drive the Kart.

How to get to Akihabara

The JR Yamanote line passes through Akihabara, but also the JR Keihin-Tohoku or JR Sobu lines. You can also get to Akihabara with the Tsukuba Express and the Hibiya Subway Line.
For example, from Tokyo station you can take the JR Yamanote or the JR Keihin-Tohoku and you will be in Akihabara in less than 5 minutes. From Shinjuku, you will need to take JR Chuo to Ochanomizu and change to JR Sobu to Akihabara.

Going to Akihabara is like entering a completely different world from what you usually know. Do not miss the opportunity to visit Akihabara, one of the most emblematic districts of Tokyo.

I was born in Malaga (Spain), and after spending a season in Paris and London, my great passion for comics and manga led me to move to Kyoto as a doctoral student in 2018. In my spare time I write short stories and, I am the author of the book Touching the Stars.

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