Welcome back, my fellow weaboos. Today, through compiling information, youtube vlogs and my actual experience, I bring you the definitive guide to enjoying Akihabara while conserving energy! *Insert Oreki Houtaro here*
Okay, not really definitive. Just my two cents.
It’s pretty easy to get lost physically and mentally in Akihabara, so I thought I’d create a guide. The best way for me to enjoy Akiba is to head there alone, or if you’re with friends, make sure they’re really, really, really ready for what y’all may stumble upon on, and have similar tastes as you, and never with family.
As much as possible, I’d split these into categories based on what they sell, so that you could make your own guide.
Akihabara (秋葉原) is an area in Tokyo in which they sell different products that cater to Otakus, or anime fans in general. But it wasn’t always that way. Back then, after the World War, the area became famous for selling electronic goods such as radios, computer parts and the like.
You could get to Akihabara by taking the JR Line, or even the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, and you can get off at either the actual Akihabara Station, or at Suehirocho Station. Take the Electric Town exit for the former, and Exit 2 for the latter.
But first of all, the busiest time/day is Sunday, where the roads are closed and people roam the wide streets. It’s your choice on what day to go on. Finally, when you exit from Electric Town and head to your right, what you’ll see is this.
Plastic Model Kits:
When exiting from the Electric Town Exit, you’ll be able to see it immediately with the Yellow Sign. Radio Kaikan, or a.k.a. Yellow Submarine, is a 7-Floor Building filled with General Anime Goods, Figurines, Gashapons, Plastic Model Kits and Tools.
Another shop right next to Radio Kaikan that specializes in the same things, albeit on a smaller scale with 4 Floors, if I remember correctly.
From Volks, turn right and cross the street, and head into the first street behind the main street, and you’ll be able to spot a Green Sign that says Kotobukiya, a brand that produces Plastic Model Kits of Mecha Girls, Zoids and Other Mecha Series’ as well.
TamTam Hobby Shop
Okay, now you might want to put pit-stops before heading here, since it is a long way, I advice you to head over to the next section which is the Anime/Manga Goods. If you’re back from that, here are the directions. TamTam mostly carries Plastic Model kits and a moderate amount of Gunpla, but keep in mind that this store is mostly tailored for the former.
Anime Goods, Manga or Doujinshi:
Melonbooks (1st Store)
Opposite of Kotobukiya is a store that sells Doujinshi, or self-published manga and official Manga. They’re sometimes R-18, but not all the time. These usually cater to men, but of course, there are also products for fujoshis. I haven’t been in these stores personally, so I’d like to go back and check them out. For the first and bigger store, head towards the main street, to the store front and take an escalator down, under the Hey sign.
AKIBA Culture Zone (animate, Lashinbang, KBOOKS, Good Smile Cafe)
Right up north from Kotobukiya is another large store composed of different companies, but they mostly do sell recently released Anime, CDs, Manga and 18+ Doujinshi. This is also where some idol groups perform on the top-most floor, but I think you need to have some sort of privilege card or something.
Literally cross the road from CulZone and head to the Lawson/Black Building. Arguably my favorite store from Akihabara, Mandarake is a second-hand store which has 7 floors, and each one is separated by product type. They have, of course, a larger selection of goods than the last store, but they’re also more retro, so it’s hard to find newer releases here.
Sofmap Amusement Store + Akiba☆Sofmap 1st Store
The amusement store one is in front of the general goods store, and the latter sofmap specializes in Otaku Goods (CD, Magazines, Softwares) and is placed on the north side of the intersection, in front of Mandarake. This is a great time to head to TamTam.
This is when you’ve gone to TamTam, and crossed the road back to the other side. But you can still go here, although it’s a long walk. This store sells anime PVCs, and nothing much else.
Sofmap 2nd Store
I’m saying Sofmap 2nd Store because there are literally 5 branches in 1 street alone! Each has their own specialty, and this one is particularly located beside TSUKOMO EX, along the side of Don Quijote. They also offer Gunpla and Tools.
This is more catered towards the General Mainstream Anime, with the goods and all, and I think the top-most floor are for fujoshi/women.
Another store similar to Melonbooks is Toranoana. Doujinshi’s, doujinshi’s everywhere. They’re located exactly beside animate. The main store carries the ones for men, and at the side carries the ones for girls.
Arcades and/or Video Games:
SEGA, Game Taito and GAMERS!
These are the main arcades in Akihabara and they offer all the pretty basic stuff. Fighting Games, Crane Games, Rhythm Love Live, etc.
- Super Potato
- Retro Game Camp
- Mandarake Complex
I haven’t personally been into the shops because I learned of these stores after the Japan Trip, so… sadreacts. BUT! What I do know that these shops are basically a haven for retro gamers like me. They sell really old stuff like Family Computer Games, Atari and what really caught my eye and made me regret not going was the amount of Game Boy Advanced Games! I have to say, the GBA is my favorite gadget of all time. I spent numerous hours and money for that, and it is what introduced me to gaming, although I have fallen off track.
Nevertheless, I will definitely visit these shops in the future and spend half of my money to hoard all the GBA games! The other half would be used for Gunpla and Hentai, if you’re very curious. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I don’t have much to say here, but they’re just general home goods such as electronics, accessories, books, snacks and the like.
- Sofmap Main Store
- Yodobashi Akiba Camera
Actually, I think you should visit this building last. It’s going to take a lot of time for you to actually explore everything in this building, as I think it’s a small epitome of Akihabara, which are electronic goods (Camera, appliances, etc.) and anime goods.
- LABI Akihabara PC Store
- Don Quijote
- @home cafe
- Cure Maid Cafe
- The Granvania
- AKB48 Cafe
- Gundam Cafe
Just a warning though, never stray away from these cafes. Some places offer a much more ‘unique’ concept, such as tsundere cafes, and I tell you, even though I skipped maid cafes, to never go in the ‘unique’ ones. The most normal one for me was the Gundam Cafe, and it’s price was just about right in between cheap and expensive, considering the theme of the place and all.
- M’s Pop Life Department Store
When exiting from the Electric Town Exit, go straight ahead till the corner, and there will be a tall, green building on your right.
- K-BOOKS Radio Kaikan
- Melonbooks 1st and 2nd Store
Like I said before, both stores carry adult goods. The video is from the first store, the second store is more hidden, so I’ll include a map.
- Lashinbang AKIBA Culture Zone
- Mandarake Complex
When you go to Akihabara, I hope my guide helps you, and if I have written mistakes, please don’t hesitate to comment down below to correct me.
As for the food, we didn’t really get to explore that because I was so absorbed in the Akihabara Culture that we only ate Udon that was outside the main street and took a break at the Gundam Cafe.
So there you have it! I became lazy on the final parts, but I did want to publish this post today.