By John Carter
Otome Road is an otaku girl’s heaven! It translates as Maiden Road and has become a hub of female manga and anime fans all over Tokyo. Though it may not be as big as Akihabara, this road has plenty to offer. Personally, I found Akihabara to be a little crude with girls dressed as maids and sexy anime adverts plastered in the streets. Otome Road, however, takes a much more sophisticated approach to manga. The road is home to Animate (an eight story giant of cosplay and related goods), K-Books, Lashinban, a butler café and a Mandarake store, all aimed at a female audience.
If you are looking for girly manga, this is the place to go! With hundreds of novels, doujinshi, DVDs and cosplay outfits, Otome Road is a treasure trove for otaku. Not only does this area appeal to girls, but I saw several young guys perusing the book shelves at Mandarake. If you’re yet to delve into the world of Japanese animation, and want a calmer introduction than Akihabara offers, I recommend trying Otome Road. The staff members at all stores are attentive and kind, with most having several beginner mangas to recommend. If you’re well versed in the world of anime and manga, rest assured you will love this road. There are corners in the shops for exclusive collector’s items, posters of your favourite characters and shelves of brand new releases. Mandarake has the most extensive collection, ranging from The Prince of Tennis to some more obscure doujinshi with worrying names such as Rape Me. There are four K-Books stores, so look out, one specialises in cosplay gear, whilst the other two offer a wide range of comics and games.
Though Otome Road is specialised for reading material and cosplay, there is a butler café in the basement of K-Books comics. This road has been designed to fit your every girlish fantasy. At Swallowtail Café you are waited on hand and foot by handsome Japanese men dressed as butlers. So if your feet are aching from hours of wandering through bookshelves in awe, make a reservation and stroll down. You can read your freshly purchased manga and chat to the butlers in their elegant café.
Otome Road is a little difficult to find, but it is well worth the trip! Leaving Ikebukuro Station take the Sunshine City exit, and follow the signs to the big attraction. When you reach the Sunshine City complex, walk past and cross underneath the overpass. You should then turn right, walk past the Toyota Amlux building, and continue until you see the big blue Animate building sign. Continuing to walk this road you will find the K-books, Lashinban, and Mandrake stores.
The stores are vibrant and buzzing with cases of hot pink novels and Japanese women of all ages searching for their ultimate animated crush. So whether you want to find the perfect wig, a little dark reading material or visit the handsome butlers at Swallowtail Café, Otome Road is perfect for a little retail therapy – female otaku style.
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Hi, I'm a University student from England. I like art, quiet coffee shops and of course travelling. I hope some of my finds can inspire you to explore Japan, and introduce some of the wonderful experiences and cultural heritage the country offers.