last update: December 01, 2020
Akihabara, by some nicknamed "Electric Town", by others affectionately called Akiba, is one of the most famous Tokyo neighborhoods in the world. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the area with the highest concentration on the planet of stores selling electronics, computers, adult toys, video games, anime, manga, doujinshi, action figures and anything else related to these things in any way. One of the must-see parts of the city.
Things to do and things to see in Akihabara
Akihabara is a commercial district, and as such its main attraction are the hundreds of shops on its streets. On the one hand there are many large multi-storey stores of new products with huge illuminated signs, on the other there are also a myriad of small shops in the most hidden streets that also sell a lot of second-hand stuff. Even for those who are not big fans of this kind of thing, a walk in this neighborhood is still one of the most interesting experiences to do during your stay in Tokyo.
the main street of Akihabara, Chuo Dori
List of the biggest and most famous stores in Akihabara
Here is a list of the stores that most of all are worth a visit in Akihabara:
- Yodobashi Akiba (opening hours 9:30-22:00): one of the biggest stores selling electronics goods and computers in the world (although there are also other kinds of things), nine floors. The store is tax free;
- Animate (opening hours 10-21): one of the largest "Animate" stores (another very big store is located in Ikebukuro), 8 floors full of merchandise about anime, manga, videogames and also a good doujinshi section;
- Comic Toranoana (opening hours 10-21): the best store in Akihabara for doujinshi. You can find more than one branch of this chain in Akihabara, the biggest one is pointed out in the map at the bottom;
- Mandarake (opening hours 12-20): chain of shops specializing in manga and various merchandise, including many second hand items. There are various shops in Tokyo, and a very large one is located right in Akihabara;
- Super Potato (opening hours 11-20): a great 5-story shop specializing in retrogames (supernintendo, nintendo64, sega megadrive, saturn, dreamcast, ps1, ps2, etc). On the top floor there is also a sort of "museum", a 80's game room. You can recognize it easily because the legendary Super Mario and Pacman are drawn on its facade; Another Super Potato store is located in Ikebukuro, but the largest branch is located in Osaka;
- Pop Life Department M'S (opening hours 10-23): an incredible sexy store, very large, a lot of floors. If you have a walk within this shop you'll see items for sale that you wouldn't have ever imagined, no matter how perverse you are. If you buy some piece of lingerie and allow staff to take a picture of you wearing that new lingerie, you will get a special 30% discount (only for women). Do not go around the shop making videos or photos, if they notice it you will be kicked out.
Which is the real best shop in Akihabara
Actually, especially for stores of anime and manga merchandise, we believe that those stores we mentioned above are not the best ones where to buy something. They're often expensive and they sell mainly stuff related to the popular series in Japan at that moment (most of which, excluding immortal series such as Dragonball
, One Piece
, are often unknown to most of foreigners).
We sincerely believe that the best thing to do is to close this page and stop looking for lists of recommended stores on google. Simply go to Akihabara and walk at random, visiting every small shops. In this way you can find very interesting things at cheaper prices, especially for used stuff.
inside Super Potato
People on the street
The streets of Akihabara are also famous because it is not uncommon to find people dressed in costumes depicting anime or video game characters walking or making small performances, especially on weekends when the main road is closed to car traffic. In addition, there are often several girls with the most bizarre costumes around who work as promoters for shops, karaoke and cafes in the area. Don't be intrusive and avoid photographing people on the street, especially promoters who are often annoyed by that. Ask for permission first.
girls promoting a karaoke in Akihabara
Rent a Go-Kart and drive around Akihabara and Tokyo
If you have never been to Tokyo before maybe you don't know that, so let us inform you that it is getting increasingly popular in central Tokyo to run into people driving a go-kart
in the streets and wearing unique costumes (for example Super Mario
costumes). At first sight you might think they're crazy local people doing some weird stuff, but in most cases they're just tourists who rented those carts in a specialized shop located right in Akihabara. And you can do the same
if you want!
All you need is an International Driving Permit
(or a Japanese drivers licence/Japanese SOFA licence).
You can rent your kart up to 5 hours, you can choose to just rent it and go around by yourself or to book an english-speaking guide too.
The guide will ride another kart and he will bring you around Akihabara and then around other famous areas of Tokyo. In this case all you have to do is to drive and follow him. The guide is highly recommended if you have never driven in Tokyo before.
Rent your Go-Kart in Tokyo
Rent your Go-Kart in Tokyo
Staying in Akihabara, recommended hotels
Pros and cons
The Akihabara area is great for staying. From Akihabara station, you can reach most of the interesting areas of the city within 15-20 minutes. However, there aren't many hotels in the area, and the rates are on average quite expensive. Ueno
, just 10 minutes' walk from Akihabara, offers many more alternatives at more affordable prices.
Our favorite hotels in Akihabara are the Dormy Inn Akihabara
and the Akihabara Washington hotel
, usually the prices are high but if you find some offer that fits your budget, take advantage of it.
Among the cheapest accommodations we recommend the First Cabin Akihabara
, a cross between a normal hotel and a capsule hotel, with mini-rooms at lower prices than a normal hotel.
Crazy cafes in Akihabara
Akihabara is full of very special and sometimes weird cafes, here below a list of the most curious ones.
(opening hours 10-22:30)
Official Gundam Cafè (opened by Bandai itself), located near Akihabara station, under the railroad tracks. The interior looks like a "command center", with large screens projecting clips of the animes. All dishes and drinks are themed, and you can either have lunch or dinner. Do not forget to visit the restroom, you'll be amazed. Another Gundam Cafè can be found in Odaiba
(opening hours 11-22)
Official cafè of that very popular musical group of idols called AKB48, it is located right next to the Gundam Cafe. The menu includes some favourite dishes and desserts of group members. In addition to the cafe, there are also a counter for take-away and an official store.
Cure Maid Cafè
(opening hours 11-20)
Another famous maid cafe in the neighborhood, not an ordinary one but the first maid cafe ever opened, in 2001.
Neko JaLaLa Cat cafè
(opening hours 11-20)
Neko cafes are not a peculiarity of Akihabara, you can find them in many other areas. The Neko JaLaLa is the most popular one around Akihabara.
Little TGV Railroad Bar
(opening hours 18-23)
Another one of those places that may seem very bizarre to the eyes of a foreigner. A sort of "train themed" izakaya, the decor includes many items belonging to the railway world. The waitresses wear cute train conductor uniforms, and all food and drinks on the menu are presented in a special way to remember the world of the railways.
Online reservation for the Little TGV Railroad Bar
How to get to Akihabara
The main station is Akihabara station
, a JR train station served by the Yamanote Line
(two stops from Ueno, two stops from Tokyo station), by the Chuo-Sobu line
(less than 20 minutes from Shinjuku) and by the Keihin-Tōhoku line
is also the terminal station of the Tsukuba Express
, a suburban railway line that is very useful to go to Asakusa in just 5 minutes.
Infine, the area is served by the Hibiya line
of the subway (without changes to Ginza and Roppongi).
Getting to Akihabara on foot
Akihabara can be easily reached on foot from the Ueno area in 10-15 minutes, walking always straight and following the elevated railroad tracks. In the same way, you can get here from Tokyo Station in about 20 minutes, passing through the interesting area of Kanda.
Map of Akihabara, Tokyo
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin
How to use Govoyagin
Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.
Take a look at Govoyagin
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