Where’s the best place in Tokyo to get my otaku on? Ask anyone and you can be sure to get one, unified answer: Akihabara, the electric city. What was considered a black market in years gone by has now transformed into the heart of otaku culture in Japan. Strolling around Akihabara, you’ll be awed by huge anime posters, echoing anime and J-Pop music, and stores where you can let your inner (or flamingly proud) otaku loose. With a myriad of choices, it’s hard to really keep in mind what you can get from Akiba. Here’s a list of things you should not miss in Japan’s electric and otaku mecca.
Who says toys are just for children? Akihabara is home to various stores selling anime figurines, ranging from ultra rare to common ones. Been looking for that coveted Gunpla? Scouring for retro anime toys? You won’t have a hard time finding those here. Recommended shops are Radio Kaikan, Mandarake and Liberty 8.
While technology has advanced gaming to great heights, there are still some who prefer going back to the good old pixelated days of yore. It is obvious from the get-go that there are a generous number of shops in Akihabara selling used retro games and consoles in pristine condition, but one would be surprised to find some unused or unopened merchandise! You can find limited game releases and games that your grandparents used to enjoy. Famed shops include Super Potato, Trader and FRIENDS.
Akihabara isn’t called the electric city for nothing! You can find every, and we mean every, electronic or gadget you need. There are stores with multiple floors filled to the brim with laptops, cell phones, games, cameras and more. Yodobashi is the giant in Akihabara for electronics, but stores like Sofmap and Llaox are great alternatives.
Cosplay may only be seen on special events in other countries but here in Japan, cosplaying is just another way to pass your Saturday afternoon. If you’re a cosplayer yourself, you’ll find things here that you either have to order online or do-it-yourself back home. Cospatio is a highly recommended store for all your cosplay needs. Wigs? Check. Exact replica costumes? Check. Man and woman chest vests? Um, check!
Ready your spare ¥100, because you’ll most definitely need them here! Gachapons are capsule vending machines that contain tiny, well-made knick-knacks such as toys, keychains and more. They are modeled after famous anime and characters, but can even feature seemingly mundane everyday things (such as mini folding chairs that are quite popular). There’s nothing more satisfying than turning the gachapon’s knob, and anticipating what you may get inside. Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan is filled wall to wall with gachapon!
It’s easy to lose yourself in Akihabara! Remember to have a list of stores you want to visit first, as we advise against aimlessly wandering around. Compare prices from various stores, as Akihabara is filled with many choices that can make you feel overwhelmed. In spite of this, it is never to be missed!