Nerds, geeks, electronics buffs, kids, gamers, computer technicians and teenagers flock from all over Tokyo to the Electric Town that is Akihabara; or 'Akiba' as the locals refer to it.
As soon as you step out of Akihabara Station at the 'Electric Town Exit' you’ll feel something different. The atmosphere is lacking a certain seriousness and weight which is found present in most other districts. It is known as the ‘fun town’ of Tokyo, and rightly so, as all you’ll find has to do with entertainment.
A relatively small area, Akihabara is sandwiched between Chuo-dori (dori means street). and Shouwa-dori.
Akihabara is best known for its:
Known for as being Tokyo's premier electronics quarter Akiba, doesn't let down. There are dozens of stores, many of them duty free, meaning you won't have to pay any fees at customs. You’ll find laptops, cameras, TV's, MP3 players, etc., etc. In addition to electronics super stores and smaller mom & pop establishments, there are many components stores, selling raw cable, circuits, wire and components, right on the street (catering to the electronics enthusiast).
Right off the Central Gate Exit you'll find the mammoth Yodobashi Akiba electronics mega store, nine floors of electronic goods; just aisle after aisle. From telescopes and vacuum tubes to video game consoles and sub woofers, it literally has everything. There are even entire aisles of camera lenses. Prices for computers are actually more expensive than in the US, so don't get your hopes up on finding any bargains. Additionally most computers are Japanese, so your choices are few for computers with English operating systems.
At the front entrance there is a charming bakery called the Vie de France Cafe. If you're hungry, pop in for an éclair or a Japanese Croissant (a croissant with a hot dog in the middle)
Situated near the Chuo and Kandamyoujin intersection, the UDX building is right in the middle of Akiba. The UDX building is best known for its surprisingly small Tokyo Anime Center where otaku's from all over Tokyo come to see the latest releases and merchandise.
If at all possible you must make it to the UDX building during a weekend. Normally empty, the entire ground floor becomes a vast exhibition/market. But if you can't, fear not, it is still one of the key points to see in Akiba, weekend or not.
There is only one thing that Akihabara has more than Anime/Manga shops, and that is electronics stores, but it’s a close second. Compared to America, Manga comics are terribly cheap in Tokyo, averaging about $3.00 USD for one manga, opposed to about $10.00 USD for one in America. But these stores have more than just Anime and Manga, oh yes. The list continues with: action figures, ecchi figuya (small action figures of busty girls in provocative attire), toys, candy, anime body pillows, dakimakura (Dutch wife) and the list goes on.
One of Akihabara’s most interesting and unique features is its Made Cafés. Little girls in French Maid costumes pepper the main streets and intersections (Chuo-dori, Shouwa-dori) Passing out flyers and hoping to close passersby on their services. Read more…
Six hundred meters west of JR Akihabara Station is the Kanda Myojin Shrine. At the entrance stands an unmistakable green copper Torii. This Shrine goes back over 1,200 years. But as you will see it looks terribly knew in some parts, this is due to the rebuilding required over the years.
Take note of these Ema (Ema are wishes the parishioners write down on small wooden plaques, in hopes that the Gods will fulfill them), its as if everyone one who wrote one is a professional artist! Read More...
Right in front of the Kanda Myojin Shrine stands the lesser known but equally fantastic Yushima Seido Temple. This temple is very well kept, clean and spacious. The green copper roofs immediately grab your attention. The main hall's jet black contrasting with the light green copper roof create a very unique image, setting this temple apart from others.
Green Tea doughnuts. They’re part of the Tokyo Experience so you must try one. There is a Mr. Donut on Chuo street, just past the Sumitomo Fudosan Akihabara Building. For the most part you'll find the selection of confectionaries quite standard. Find the one with green icing, this is 'macha' (green tea). The sweetness of the icing offsets the earthiness of the green tea. Give it a go!
Whatever you do, don’t go to Mos Burger, because if you do you’ll be come an addict and gain 89lbs. Their cheese burgers are terribly delicious and rival American burger joints with ease. A standard Mos Burger cheese burger has a gravy type onion sauce and a thick slice of mozzarella. You can find the Mos Burger at the south corner of Chuo and Kuramaebashi.
JR Yamanote Line, Akihabara station, Electric Town Exit.
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