Akihabara (Ht´), also called 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. On Sundays, Chuo Dori, the main street through the district, is closed to car traffic from 13:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from October through March).
Akihabara has been undergoing major redevelopment over the years, including the renovation and expansion of Akihabara Station and the construction of new buildings in its proximity. Among these newly opened buildings were a huge Yodobashi electronics store and the Akihabara Crossfield, a business complex with the aim of promoting Akihabara as a center for global electronics technology and trade.
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.
The character of Akihabara has constantly changed over the decades and continues to do so. In the last decade Akihabara has emerged as a center of Japanese otaku and anime culture, and dozens of stores specializing in anime, manga, retro video games, figurines, card games and other collectibles have filled the spaces between the electronics retailers.
In addition to shops, various other animation-related establishments have become popular in the area, particularly maid cafes where waitresses dress up and act like maids or anime characters, and manga cafes (manga kissa), a type of internet cafe where customers can read comics and watch DVDs in addition to having access to the internet.
Major Electronics Stores
Hours: 11:00 to 20:00 (some branches open from 10:00) Closed: No closing days
Sofmap operates five shops around Akihabara. Most of the shops are specialized in one type of product, such as mobile devices, computers, Mac products, used electronics and anime-related goods.
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 Closed: No closing days
The Laox Main Store in Akiba offers the largest number of tax free items of all the branches in Tokyo. Hobby and game related products are available in addition to electronics, souvenirs and lifestyle goods.
Hours: 9:00 to 20:00 Closed: No closing days
Akky specializes in tax free goods and operates three shops around Akihabara Station. Akky sells a variety of electronic equipment for overseas use, including cameras, computers, televisions, DVD players and software. Some branches carry used or refurbished items.
Hours: 9:30 to 22:00 (restaurants from 11:00) Closed: No closing days
The Shinjuku based discount electronic store giant Yodobashi Camera opened its huge Akihabara branch in September 2005. Unlike most other electronic shops, it is located on the east side of Akihabara Station. This branch offers one stop shopping for computers, games, watches and cameras, and sells tax free and international models.
Maid cafes 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 the care and respectful language due to the master of a house. Maid cafes are popular with both men and women, and some cafes, like the @Home Cafe, offer English speaking maids.
Hours: 10:00 to 5:00 Closed: No closing days
Don Quijote is a discount store chain that carries everything from groceries and toys to electronics and high end fashion goods. The Akihabara branch is home to the girl pop group AKB48, who perform daily shows at their theater on the 8th floor of the store (typically 2400 or 3400 yen). There is also a branch of the @Home Cafe maid cafe on the 5th floor of the store.
Hours: 10:00 to 20:00
Radio Kaikan is one of Akihabara's iconic landmarks, and features more than 30 stores selling electronics and other anime related goods. Some of the famous stores include K-Books, Kaiyodo and Volks which sell all kinds of manga, models, toys, trading cards, figurines and collectibles. The building was torn down in 2011, was rebuilt, and reopened its doors in 2014 as a taller, ten story building.
Hours: 11:00 to 20:00 (from 10:00 on weekends and national holidays) Closed: No closing days
Super Potato sells all types of video games and video game consoles, and specializes in retro systems and games. Here you can find practically every game system ever produced along with a huge selection of used game cartridges, discs and game accessories.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (upper floors 10:00 to 21:00) Closed: No closing days
Gamers sells a wide range of anime and manga related goods including movies, video games, CDs, stationery, software and character goods.
Hours: 12:00 to 20:00 Closed: No closing days
Mandarake, the self described "largest manga and anime shop in the world", operates a large branch in Akihabara. Specializing in pre-owned goods, it is a good place to find rare and collectible manga, figurines, dolls, posters, CDs, toys and other types of manga related goods.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:30 Closed: No closing days
The Gundam Cafe is themed after the extremely popular Mobile Suit Gundam anime series. The cafe serves gundam themed dishes and is decorated with art and themes from the series. A gift shop is attached and sells character goods and souvenirs.
Getting there and around
Akihabara Station is a busy station served by the JR Yamanote Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Sobu Line, the Tsukuba Express and the Hibiya Subway Line. Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Subway Line is located around the northern end of the district.
From Tokyo Station
Akihabara is two stations north of Tokyo Station by JR Yamanote or Keihin-Tohoku Line. The trip takes about three minutes and costs 140 yen. During weekday daytime, the Keihin-Tohoku Line skips the station between Tokyo and Akihabara, which shaves off a few more seconds from the travel time.
From Shinjuku Station
Take the JR Chuo Line (orange colored rapid service) from Shinjuku to Ochanomizu Station (10 minutes) and make a quick and easy transfer to the JR Sobu Line (yellow colored local service) for one more station to Akihabara (2 minutes). Alternatively, take a yellow colored train without transfer all the way from Shinjuku to Akihabara (17 minutes). The one way fare is 170 yen in either case.
Situated in Tokyo, 200 metres from Ichogaoka Hachiman Shrine, ICI HOTEL Asakusabashi features views of the city. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. The property is close to popular attractions like Izumi Park, Kusawakeinari Shrine and Jinnai Shrine. The units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. All rooms in ICI HOTEL Asakusabashi are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a hairdryer. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a ? la carte breakfast. You can play billiards and table tennis at ICI HOTEL Asakusabashi. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Hulic Hall and Hulic Conference, Kanaami Inari Shrine and Shishiki Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 16 km from ICI HOTEL Asakusabashi.
Located in Tokyo, THE TOURIST HOTEL & Cafe AKIHABARA provides accommodation with a restaurant, private parking, a bar and a shared lounge. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features luggage storage space and free WiFi. All units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At THE TOURIST HOTEL & Cafe AKIHABARA every room comes with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Selected rooms feature a private bathroom with a shower and bathtub, while other rooms come with a private shower. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Fujisoft Akiba Plaza, Izumi Park and Kanaami Inari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 27 km from THE TOURIST HOTEL & Cafe AKIHABARA.
Situated just a 3-minute walk away from Akihabara Train Station, Akihabara Bay Hotel is a female only accommodation offering a 24-hour front desk with free WiFi access throughout the entire property. Guests will find a convenient shared lounge installed with power and USB outlets to charge their phones. Akihabara electronics area is a short 3-minute walk away, while the Kanda Shrine is a 15-minute walk from the property. Shinjuku and Ikebukuro train stations are both 20-minutes away via train and walk. The Tsukuba Express can take guests to Asakusa Train Station in 13-minutes. There are drink vending machines on site, as well as a shared lounge with a microwave and an electric kettle. Laundry services are available at an additional charge. The property features centrally managed air conditioning, while shower booths and powder rooms are shared among guests. There is a designated smoking area on site. All capsule units come with a power and USB outlet. Showers are shared with other guests. Some units come equipped with a flat-screen TV. Guests will find nightwear and free toiletries provided in their personal lockers. There is no restaurant at the property, and no meals are served on site. There are several convenience stores and restaurants situated within a 5-minute walk from the property.
Offering air-conditioned rooms in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo, Super Hotel Premier Akihabara is 90 metres from Yanagimori Shrine. The property is set less than 1 km from Fujisoft Akiba Plaza, a 10-minute walk from Nikkei Hall and less than 1 km from Atre Akihabara 1. Offering free WiFi throughout the property, the allergy-free hotel features a hot spring bath. The units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. At Super Hotel Premier Akihabara all rooms are fitted with a desk, a TV and a private bathroom. Continental and buffet breakfast options are available every morning at the accommodation. Popular points of interest near Super Hotel Premier Akihabara include Akihabara Park, Akiba Tolim and Old Manseibashi Station. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 16 km from the hotel.
Offering air-conditioned rooms in the Taito district of Tokyo, Grids Tokyo Asakusabashi HotelHostel is a 14-minute walk from Edo Tokyo Museum. This 2-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and a shared lounge. At the hostel, rooms at Grids Tokyo Asakusabashi also have free WiFi. Private guest rooms in the accommodation are fitted with a TV, hairdryer, shower and toilet. Dormitory rooms have shared bathrooms. Towels and bath amenities are available for an additional fee. A Continental breakfast is served daily at the property. At Grids Tokyo Asakusabashi HotelHostel you will find a restaurant serving cuisine. Sensoji Temple is 2.2 km from the hostel.
Well situated in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo, Hotel Resol Akihabara is set a few steps from Yanagimori Shrine, 600 metres from Akihabara Park and 600 metres from Akiba Tolim. Featuring a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The japanese-style business hotel offers a buffet or Italian breakfast. Popular points of interest near Hotel Resol Akihabara include Old Manseibashi Station and Nikkei Hall. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 28 km from the accommodation.
Conveniently located a 1-minute walk from JR Akihabara station and a 9-minute drive from Tokyo Station, Akihabara Washington Hotel offers modern accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Air-conditioned guestrooms are fitted with a refrigerator, a work desk and a flat-screen TV. The en suite bathroom comes with toiletries and a bathtub. Services offered by the 24-hour front desk includes luggage storage, currency exchange and safety deposit facilities. Laundry services is available. Hotel Washington Akihabara is a 25-minute drive from Tokyo Disneyland. Haneda Airport is 19 km away.
Renovated in July 2015, Dormy Inn offers rooms with free internet, good transportation links and an open-air bath with sauna. The property is just a 5-minute walk from Akihabara Electric Town. Dormy Inn's air-conditioned rooms have a flat-screen TV, hairdryer and private shower room. Dormy Inn Akihabara's facilities include a restaurant, free internet access in the lobby and coin-operated laundry machines with free detergent. Tumble dryers are available at a fee. There are separate open-air baths for men and women available at the property. Breakfast is available at the on-site restaurant. Free Yonaki Soba ramen noodles are catered at night. It is less that a 5-minute walk from JR Akihabara Station and Suehirocho Station for the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.
Hotel Route-Inn Grand Asakusabashi is located in Tokyo, a 10-minute walk from Edo Tokyo Museum. The property is around 1.9 km from Sensoji Temple and 2.4 km from Tokyo Skytree. Guests can relax using the on-site public bath and enjoy the free WiFi. The hotel is located just a 2-minute walk from Asakusabashi Station exit A4 on Toei Asakusa line and a 4-minute walk from Asakusabashi station east exit on JR Sobu line. All guest rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, fridge and electric kettle. Featuring a private bathroom with a bidet and a hair dryer, toothbrushes and free toiletries. Each room features an air purifier. A buffet breakfast is available daily at Hotel Route-Inn Grand Asakusabashi. The restaurant serves Japanese and European cuisine. Complimentary coffee service is available. Staff at the reception can assist guests at any time of the day. Paid massage services are available at the hotel. Private parking is available on site for an additional fee. Coin launderette with tumble dryer is available. Rental items including trouser press and iron is available at the front desk. Marunouchi Building is 2.9 km from the accommodation. Tokyo Haneda International Airport is 16 km from the property.
Boasting a spacious public bath, sauna and on-site cafe, Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Akihabara offers capsule rooms for male guests. It is a 3-minute walk from JR Akihabara Station. Free WiFi is offered in all areas. All capsules are available for male only, and come with a flat-screen TV with video-on-demand channels. Power sockets and a headphone are also provided in the capsule room. The Anshin Oyado Akihabara features internet PCs and massage chairs. Snacks vending machines and complimentary drinks machines are available at the on-site cafe. Located in the lively Akihabara electric town, the property is a 5-minute train ride to Tokyo Dome. Asakusa area can be reached within a 7-minute subway ride.