5 Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Akihabara, Japan’s Most Famous Otaku Culture Area
Akihabara has long been known as one of Japan's leading areas for electronics and appliances, but now it is also known worldwide as a mecca for otaku (fans of Japanese subculture). Here are some standard places to check out while you're sightseeing there.
1. Akihabara Information Center (Akiba Guide)
When you get to Akihabara, the first place you should stop is the information center. You can find convenient maps pointing out all the popular spots for free (English available). Also, you can pay for a tour guided by female staff in maid outfits around Akihabara. Sometimes they set up special information booths in various places around Akihabara for limited time periods.
*Photo is of Akihabara
2. Tokyo Anime Center
You can find the latest information about Japanese anime here. They hold events such as exhibitions of original art or designs from different anime or set up temporary merchandise shops. This is a spot that calls anime fans of all sorts, from those who enjoy the most popular shows to fans of small, relatively unknown works. It's often filled with foreign tourists.
3. AKB48 Cafe and Shop
Akihabara's icon is AKB48, a group that was formed in Akihabara itself. They have their own special theater in Akihabara as well, and you can fully immerse yourself in the world of AKB48, a group hugely popular both within and outside of Japan, at this shop. The group's concert footage and music videos play throughout the shop, and there's a cafe space where you can try sweets and dishes associated with the members. There's also an area where you can buy original merchandise. They hold various events and campaigns as well as offer branch-limited goods, so this is a must-see place for fans.
4. Gundam Cafe Akihabara Branch
Mobile Suit Gundam is a series that has released countless works since it began airing in 1979. It's well-received both within Japan and internationally, and this shop is based around that popular anime. There's a cafe area offering food, desserts, and drinks based on the series, as well as a shop where you can buy plenty of original goods that are perfect as souvenirs. It's definitely a place that fans won't be able to resist. The cafe has a 90 minute time limit, so please be aware.
5. Akihabara Radio Kaikan
This facility is right by the Denkigai (Electric Town) exit of JR Akihabara Station. It first opened in 1950 as a shop that offered machines like appliances and audio-based electronics and was known as the "face of Akihabara," but it was reconstructed many times and even closed once. It had a grand re-opening in July 2014, and is now considered a new Akihabara landmark. It is full of shops offering not just appliances and audio machines, but also books, video games, and anime-related merchandise as well as restaurants.
Akihabara is like a theme park for anime, idols, figurines, cosplay, and other such entertainment so it's fun just to walk around. This is the best place if you want to learn about Japanese subculture or if you just want to shop around for home appliances!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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