The Otaku Allure of Akihabara

August 18, 2014   by  |  Japan

Akikahara View, Tokyo, JapanAkihabara is an intriguing place for any visitors traveling to Japan, it is a name that’s even becoming famous in the west. Say “Akihabara” and one thing comes to mind: Otaku (translated as geek). The district first developed into an ‘Electric Town” when shops carrying electronics components and electric appliances popped up after World War II. Later, with the boom of the “Otaku subculture” the focus changed and more shops appeared targeting those new enthusiast of anime, manga, visual novel, retro video games, figurines, card games and other collectibles.

Located to the west of Akihabara Station on the Yamanote Line are block after block of stores, from eight-story department stores to tiny arcade shops barely big enough for the owner to stand in. There are all sorts of colorful shop fronts and advertisement with anime characters and girls dressed in maid outfit giving out leaflet on the street. There are game centers and many more activities to be seen and experienced. Akihabara is surely a fun area. Be careful tough, Akiba can also be your wallets worst nightmare especially if you are into anime, saying from experience you wont realise until the end of the day where you are seen carrying multiple bags wondering how you are going to bring it back home. The unpredictability of how much you are going to spend is simply something we will never understand but that is what makes Akiba special, it is not called the Otaku Paradise for nothing!

GAMERS AkihabaraAnime StairsAugust Visual Novel Dakimakura at GAMERS AkihabaraAugust Visual Novel Goods at GAMERS AkihabaraAugust Visual Novel Goods at GAMERS AkihabaraLove Live! Cardboard Cut-out in AkihabaraEcchi Dakimakura in AkihabaraEvangelion Life Size Figure in AkihabaraThere are shops like Softmap, Toranoana, Animate and Akiba Culture Zone that sells pure otaku goodness. From Anime Blu-ray, DVDs and manga to character goods, figures and games, the variety of merchandise on offer is mind-bogglingly vast and will make fans wish they were made of money. At Yodobashi, one of the best places for electronics, you will find a wide range of anything to be honest, cameras, computers and all sorts, its where I got the latest lens for my Sony a7 camera just make sure you bring your passport for a 10 percent discount! For some entertainment there is SEGA where you can have a break and play in that arcade that is filled with different sorts. Test yourself against one of the best folks in town which you will be left impressed at how much you need to improve. Visit a Maid Cafe such as Mai lish or schatzkiste cafe where you are treated like a master, I found these two cafes more genuine where the maids are more friendlier and talkative compared to the more popular @Home Cafe. Last but not least, visit a Sex Shop such as the m’s tower, theres no taboo about it and it will definitely leave you with some stories for back home!

Akikahara View, Tokyo, JapanAkikahara Signs, Tokyo, JapanMaid in AkihabaraAkihabara ShopkeeperComic Zin Shop in AkihabaraAkikahara Signs, Tokyo, JapanSo what exactly does it mean to be an otaku? At the general level, an otaku is a person displaying an obsessive interest. In reference to Akihabara however, an otaku is someone (generally male, but not always) who devotes considerable time and energy to watching anime, reading manga (Japanese comics) and playing video games.

While admission of geekdom once carried a strongly negative connotation, the otaku movement is currently enjoying a global renaissance. One prominent example is the former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, who proudly admitted his love of manga to journalists, and included the promotion of this culture on his foreign policy agenda (Firestone, 2010: link).

Akikahara Signs, Tokyo, JapanBakemonogatari Coin Locker for bags in AkihabaraRetro Games at AkihabaraLamantra Shop in AkihabaraD-Frag Carboard in ToranoaAkihabara Shops with D-Frag TapestryIdolmaster Itachari or Itasha Bicycle in AkihabaraAkihabara Adverts for Visual Novel GamesLove Live! Sign in AkihabaraLove Live! Cut-out Cardboard of Maki in AkihabaraMaid in AkihabaraAdvertising in AkihabaraAkikahara Softmap, Tokyo, JapanAnime Advertising in AkihabaraAkikahara Signs, Tokyo, JapanPop Life department M'S AkihabaraPop Life department M'S AkihabaraPanties at Pop Life department M'S AkihabaraYodobashi AkibaGundam at Shops in AkihabaraOcculus in Yodobashi AkibaNendoroids at Yodobashi AkibaFigures at Yodobashi AkibaAKB48 Cafe AkihabaraCosplay Kyubey AkihabaraAkihabara View

SEGA Arcade AkihabaraSEGA Arcade Fighting Climax in AkihabaraHatsune Miku Sign in Akihabara

Conclusion: Akihabara is very much a required taste and it definitely isn’t for everyone but if you are interested in seeing the more unique and quirky side of the modern Japanese culture, you must give this place a visit. Weekends are best because they close down the main street to allow visitors to walk freely and pose for pictures. I went there about 3-4 times given the Otaku in me for anime and never came home empty handed!

http://akiba.or.jp/english/

Akihabara

 


23 Comments


  1. Awesome! Akihabara must be so damn awesome!
    So cool how the anime characters are on big advertisement boards Mashiroiro Symphony (>?<).

    Someday I must take a visit, but I think I would go nuts there, because it looks so cool haha and maids everywhere *drool*

    • They regularly change the huge adverts, its so nice and sureal!
      I think anyone will go nuts and probably go on a impulse spending spree XD

  2. For someone like me who hasn’t been there, it’s really a surreal place with all the anime advertising. Love the cafe, haha. That AKB48 band stuff is crazy but I’m sure the cafe is nice.

    • AKB48 is so big its ridiculous to be honest, they love it!
      For first timers you literally want to stay there for ever since its so fun, well even if its second/third forth!

      There is so many things to do!

  3. I have to say that I will need to make the Gundam Cafe a destination IF I ever get to Japan :D

  4. Gundam Cafe, I am so going there when I get to Tokyo, also Akiba! Hey did you go to any Maid Cafe’s there?

    • I did I went to @Home Cafe (Maid Cafe) which was pretty expensive but they cater for english speaking so ye.

      I wanted to go to Gundam but I wanted to do so many other things that i couldnt go :(
      It looks fun inside!

  5. I live within walking distance of Akiba (towards Asakusa, but near enough). Jealous? :D I’m not a computer geek or a manga fan, but I love sitting in a coffee shop and watching the crowds.

    I also wanted to know whether you went to a maid’s cafe, but you’ve already answered that question. So, next is butler’s cafe? ;)

    • Yes and no, because I would be broke and wouldnt know how to cope with life haha
      But im sure you managed to learn how to control yourself right?

      Na didnt go on Butler cafe… not my type of thing XD me like maids..

  6. Akihabara, one of the places I’ll visit while in Japan someday. After I saw all these pictures, I became more excited to get more money. In order for my desire to go to Akihabara can be achieved.

    Thanks, Fab :shakehand

  7. Ten bucks says he had his omelette rice written “I love you, Master!” by one of the maids.

    Anyways, it’s nice to see you having fun in the fabled Electric City.

    • Im not sure, ill have to see through my receipt XD but not surprised, It is expensive in general Maid Cafes.
      Thanks is sure was wondeful :3

  8. Looks so damn chaotic. I wonder if I would be able to survive in that urban jungle…( I lived all life in a 50K people city so never really saw that much crowd…:D)

  9. Yep… as you said it.
    It’s a place for throw out your money! xD

    At least I would do it.

  10. Holy crap, Akihabara is seriously awesome. I’m more than sure I will spend my entire money on anime realated stuff. Next year im going to go Japan and this is the first place to visit on the list!

    • Make sure to hide a bite of money in your suitcase of something because if you bring everything in Akihabara, be careful! XD
      Its a place that will make you spend! … a LOT! XD

  11. Last time I went to Akihabara was 2 years ago. Even though I’m not a big shopper, it’s always great to spend time walk around browsing through stuff you like, or even stuff that you’re not familiar with because it’s not easy for them to come by anywhere else!

    The Gundam Cafe is always so crowded with very long queue! Only got the chance to buy a Gunpla-yaki ^^;

    Gotta find myself to go there on a Sunday! I still haven’t experienced Hokousha Tengoku of it :o

  12. I’d collect around 10k USD or something before I come to this town. It looks awesome and I can’t wait to visit it one day :D

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