Monday, October 29, 2012

Tokyo Trip - Akihabara 秋葉原

This is a series of the places I have visited in Tokyo when Kless and I were there in October.

Akihabara 秋葉原, also known as Akiba after a former local shrine is a district in central Tokyo, that is famous for its many electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district.

How to get there
Akihabara Station is served by the JR Yamanote Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Sobu Line, the Tsukuba Express and the Hibiya Subway Line.

From Tokyo Station, Akihabara is two stops north by JR Yamanote or Keihin-Tohoku Line. The trip is about 3mins and costs ¥130.

From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Chou Line (orange colour rapid service) to Ochanomizu Station (abt 10mins) and make a quick transfer to the JR Sobu Line (yellow colour local service) for one more station to Akihabara (abt 2mins). The fare is ¥160.


Coming out from the east of Akihabara Station, you will be greeted by the multitudes rushing to find their products in the huge shopping mall (Yodobashi-Akiba) that offers a one-stop shopping experience for computers, games, watches and cameras.


A view from a distance away to let you see the hugeness of the mall. As compared, Singapore’s Sim Lim is like a dwarf.


Saw this group of kids hanging around the mall making calls to probably friends to inform them of the goods they have found. I just love the hats Japanese students wear, kawaii!


Another huge multi-storey mall you will see when you come out from the station is the LABI store. It specialized in personal computers, PC accessories and household electronics. I reckon you will need at least 1-2 hours to slowly walked through the entire mall.


And since you are over at this mall, remember to pop by the nearby Gundam Cafe. Most of my guy friends will go crazy if they were there. Operating hours are 10am – 11pm (weekdays) and 830am – 11pm (weekends). The cafe serves Gundam themed dishes and is decorated with art and themes from the series.


A super cool “Mobile Suit”.


If you are looking for electronic components, security monitors, radios and computer parts, then Radio Market is the must go place for you. Radio Market is a former black market zone that specialized in selling radio and electronic parts after WWII.



For gamers, there is an entire street that sells a wide range of anime and manga related goods including movies, video games, CDs, stationary, software and character goods.




Adult DVDs are also readily available along the many streets. Heard from a friend there is even a 5-storey high mall that sells all sorts of sex-related items.


Akihabara is the home to the famous Maid Cafes. These are cosplay themed restaurants where guests are served by waitresses that are typically dressed as French maids. In addition to serving food, the maids engage in conversation and games with the customers and treat them with care and respectful language due to the master of the house.



A few photos of the maids on the streets trying to promote their cafe’s business. They are all quite shy and would shun away from taking photos. So got to take from a distance or while they are talking to potential customers.





Not everything in Akihabara is about electronics or otaku culture. Just a few streets away from the main attractions, is an old-fashioned stores area (on the bottom left corner on the map).


It would be a nice break from the busy streets and have a leisure walk around the neighbourhood. Probably try some of the local ramen and sake.



The nostalgic atmosphere of railway road, storehouses and old wooden house.




Tokyo is a city with many cyclists. My guess is that they are really a bunch of environmentalists doing a small part for the society.




But there are always a few that prefers to just enjoy their moment of smoking.


Overall, Akihabara is an interesting place. If you are looking to buy some electronic products, you will probably spend a whole day here. But if you are like me, just soaking in the culture and hope to take some photos, half a day is good enough.

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