Tokyo, Japan Oct. 01 Sun 5:29PM
Tokyo's Otaku Paradise
Akihabara is famous around the world for being something of a paradise for otaku culture.
Along Chuo-dori (Main/Center Street) are over 250 electronics stores, as well as a plethora of stores devoted to anime, manga, figurines and collectables, cosplay, and idol music. When it comes to otaku goods and these stores, the shop managers and employees often work at these places because they have those interests, too, and they are really knowledgeable and can answer all kinds of questions from customers. There has also been an influx of manga cafes, internet cafes, and maid cafes, where waitresses dress up and act like maids that attend to customers personally.
When it comes to electronics,
Hundreds of electronics shops, ranging from tiny one man stalls specializing in a particular electronic component to large electronics retailers, line the main Chuo Dori street and the crowded side streets around Akihabara. They offer everything from the newest computers, cameras, televisions, mobile phones, electronics parts and home appliances to second-hand goods and electronic junk.
A few chain stores such as Sofmap and Laox each operate multiple specialized branches along the main roads, while small independent shops can be found in the side streets. The only mega sized store is the Yodobashi Camera complex on the east side of the station.
Note that some of the electronics on sale are only intended for use in Japan due to voltage and other technical differences, Japanese language documentation and limited warranties. However, several stores also feature a selection of international models intended for overseas use, and most also offer tax free shopping to foreign tourists on purchases of over 10,000 yen (passport required).
The name Akihabara is now world famous. More than 250 electrical appliance and electronic shops of all sizes are located in a small area centered around Chuo-dori Street, to the west of Akihabara Station. In the past several years, the main trend has been a shift away from general home electrical appliances towards the new world of computers and the Internet. Emerging animation-related shops have also been attracting much attention. The shop assistants have a wealth of knowledge and are able to answer all sorts of questions. Many of them speak English, Chinese or Korean.
This town began as an area specializing in electrical equipment in the latter half of the 1940s, when people's primary source of information was radio. In the beginning, a gathering of many shops dealing in radio parts sprang up under the elevated JR railroad structures. Later, these shops began dealing in home electrical appliances, with the area ultimately developing into the world's largest electrical equipment marketplace. Over the last few decades, Akihabara has emerged as a central place for otaku, anime, manga, and cosplay culture. There are stores that sell all of these things in addition to figurines, card games, collectables, and everything else imagineable.
Along with actual merchandise, maid cafes, manga cafes, and even an AKB48 cafe are also part of the appeal of Akihabara.
For anyone interested in all things electronics, otaku, or technology, Akihabara is the place to go!