For fans of Japanese animation such as anime and manga, Akihabara in Tokyo has become a kind of sacred place. This is the area where you can get thousands of titles and a wide variety of collectible figures. There are also many other types of objects made for the general ‘otaku’, the Japanese version of ‘nerds’. What can you expect when you visit this exciting area?
Most of the streets of Akihabara have small corners that spread the music of Japanese style idols. An idol is a girl of approximately 11 to 20 years who tends to have a childish or innocent style, with a very high-pitched voice and mostly motivational lyrics. Large groups like AKB48 have their own cafe in Akihabara, and there, fans can enjoy eating in an environment totally dedicated to their idols. Unfortunately, the AKB48 cafe closed in 2019, but there are other similar cafes.
Continuing with the theme of idols, Akihabara is very famous for the ‘Maid Cafes’. Those cafes/bars have the particularity that customers are served by young girls dressed as French maids in the ‘kawaii’ style. Kawaii is a very important word in the nowadays Japanese lexicon, it can mean cute, pretty, childish, and even in some cases, sexy.
But not there are not only French-style maid cafes, because of their high popularity, but there are also all kinds of themed cafes. Some examples of what you might want to try; ninja, samurai, military, girls dressed as male idols, or train-themed cafes.
Anime and Games
Stores like Animate and Sega are selling the whole collection of the most recent animes on DVDs or Blu-ray, original soundtracks of the series, key chains, figures, folders, badges, among many other things related to anime, manga and game characters. The Akihabara area also has a variety of karaoke rooms that, being in this special place, have direct collaborations with anime companies or video game companies. Complete rooms with designs and objects from those series, such as for the example the legendary anime Evangelion or the renowned video game Final Fantasy were created.
Stores like Super Potato specialize in taking customers on a journey back in time when Japanese video games began their reign, the 80s. It is also normal to see cars with designs of anime characters stationed in the streets, the so-called ‘itasha‘. It is also one of the best places to buy typical souvenirs from Japan. There are plenty of shops specializing in clothes, souvenirs, fans, chopsticks, hats, etc., with multiple representations of the Japanese style.
Origins of Akihabara
Originally, Akihabara was known for its large number of computer-related technology stores. Today, despite the fact that the anime stores outnumber that type of store, there are still many stores dedicated to selling pieces of computers, cables, and other computer paraphernalia. It is very common to see stores selling used computers or laptops at affordable prices.
Offering different plans and services, there are also multiple cell phone sales locations. Akihabara is a place where people from all over the world come to see the new subcultures of Japan. It is a must-see area if you are traveling to Tokyo because of its social and cultural impact in present-day Japan.
If you want to experience Akihabara to the fullest and get more background information about Japanese subcultures, discovering this area with a private guide would be a great idea.
Akiba Cultures Zone
In Akihabara, the heart of anime, manga, videogames, and computer stores. There is an amazing building that combines almost all areas of Akihabara in a single space. The name of this place is Akiba Cultures Zone. This building consists of 5 floors dedicated to Japanese pop culture. Here is a guide to what you can find:
Collections of anime figures, comics, and iconic films. Prices are affordable compared to other places. It is truly a paradise for figure collectors.
DVDs or Blu-ray of Japanese animation series, along with the CDs with soundtracks. You can get good CDs from around 200 yen. Here you can also buy folders or portfolios with the cover of your favorite anime.
For fans of card games, there is a section dedicated to the exchange and sale of collectible cards on this floor. The same fans are selling more figures collections here.
Akiba Cultures Zone Upper Floors
A whole section dedicated to the world of male idols and female idols that make up a large part of Japan’s music industry. Here you can buy collectible posters, fans, shirts, CDs, photo albums and much more. On the same floor there are shops of rare and funny toys that you will want to try.
A whole floor dedicated to the hobby of cosplay (cosplay is the art of dressing like an anime character). Here you can get all the costumes of the most famous characters in the world of anime. There is a vast collection of realistic wigs and contact lenses for all those who want to become true cosplayers.
Akiba Cultures Zone collects a lot of what Akihabara offers, giving the visitor the opportunity to go directly to what they are looking for. You can also simply to take an exciting tour through all the different facets of Japanese subcultures. If you are a fan of Japanese anime and pop culture or simply want to learn more about it, do not forget to take a walk through Akiba Cultures Zone!
Hours: 11 am to 9.30 pm