The Electric Town

 By Michael Kaplan   Jun 24, 2012

Akihabara (秋葉原) is the premiere shopping area for electronics, anime, computer and otaku goods in Japan. Are you looking for a unique gift to bring home, how about a cell phone-controlled robot dog? If the technology can be dreamed of, it is likely that you will find it here in Akihabara.

It is also one of the few places in Tokyo or Japan where you will find a variety of languages spoken and announcements made. Many of the larger duty free shops will have English, Chinese, Korean but also in some you can find Spanish, Russian, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese. You can check out the official shop list to see what languages are offered.

Akihabara is the Mecca of electronics in the world. It is here that you can find shops that sell anything from specialized electronic components to appliances in large-scale department stores. Many of the shops can be found lining Akihabara's main Chuo Dori street and its surrounding side streets. Be careful while you're shopping, some of the electronics sold in this area are designed to work only in Japan due to technical and voltage differences.

For anime and manga lovers, Akihabara is home to the Tokyo Anime Center, which holds numerous anime-related exhibitions and events, and the Mandarake, the self-described largest anime and manga shop in the world. In recent years, this area has gained much popularity both in Japan and internationally for being the heart of anime culture.

Costumed coffee shops, known as maid cafes, can also be found tucked in-between the electronic shops. These unique establishments frequently feature wait staff dressed as French maids who serve not only food, but they also engage their customers in games and conversation. These maid cafes can only be found in Japan, and they are extremely popular with both women and men. To find English-speaking maids, visit the @Home cafe, which caters primarily to foreigners.

There is too much to see and enjoy in Akihabara in an hour, so it is best to devote at least a day to explore the area.

How to Get There: The Akihabara district is serviced by its own station that sits on the main train line of Tokyo the JR Yamanote Line JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Yamanote Line, the Tsukuba Express, the Hibiya Subway Line and the JR Sobu Line.

The Suehirocho Station also serves the Akihabara district on the Ginza Subway Line. The Suehirocho Station can be found on the northern end of the district.

Try not to get lost for these stations can be chaotic to navigate during rush hour. Happy shopping!

Written by Michael Kaplan
Japan Travel Member

Join the discussion

Kathryn Spoor 4 years ago
Akihabara was a lot of fun but I wish I would have read something like this before I visited because as was mentioned in the article you need a good amount of time set aside to truly enjoy your time. Nevertheless I had a great time shopping and enjoying the sites and sounds.