Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara has gained a widespread reputation as Japan’s largest area for electronics. Taking advantage of the period of rapid economic growth, stores dealing in software and parts were established and Akihabara progressed into one of the leading electronics areas in the world. Furthermore, there has been a steady increase of stores selling game software which, by no surprise, has occurred simultaneously with the rise of anime and game ‘otaku’ (enthusiast) culture. Recently, there have been many Chinese and Korean tourists who specifically wish to purchase Japan-made rice cookers. There is no better place than Akihabara to go to when in search of ‘Made in Japan’ electrical appliances, which are sought after by visitors from abroad.
If you are looking to purchase electrical appliances, the best deals can be found at Sofmap, Laox and Yodobashi Camera. Both Laox and Yodobashi Camera are duty-free stores that tend to be the most visited chains amongst foreign travelers. These stores are known to employ eager staff that can tend to your inquiries in English. Visitors from abroad should take caution to not purchase products that are not compatible with the voltage in their home countries.
For all of your manga and anime merchandise, head to Akihabara
Many tourists who visit Japan are initially drawn to visiting the country due to their interest in Japanese animation. Recently, television stations in many countries have begun to broadcast shows such as Sailor Moon and Pokemon. Even translated manga books such as Naruto and One Piece are sold extensively in bookstores worldwide. Akihabara has become the hub of Japanese anime and cartoon otaku culture, and with the number of stores dedicated to selling anime-related merchandise, you will have no trouble finding your favorite anime books or goods. Radio Kaikan or Animate are the top recommendations for anime and manga related goods.
Maid cafes, Idols & Otaku Culture
If you are in need for a break in Akihabara, there are also many maid cafés throughout the area. A maid café is not any ordinary café; at maid cafes, customers are served by waitresses dressed as maids, idols or uniform-wearing students who in addition to serving food and drinks to you, will also treat like you like a king. This kind of distinct interaction can only be authentic and unique otaku culture that you would not be able to experience abroad.
Recently, many live houses solely dedicated to the all-female pop group AKB48, a musical phenomenon that has taken Japan by storm, have been developed in Akihabara alongside Don Quixote, a chain of discount goods stores. Devout, die-hard fans of anime, cartoons, and idol groups, are called otakus, and the distinctive otaku culture now known throughout the world originated from here. Otakus congregate and dress up as their favorite anime or cartoon character. Many feel comfortable to do so without judgement in a place like Akihabara, and in fact, they can get photographed like a celebrity. Akihabara is certainly a place where lovers of pop culture and anime join together en masse to freely enjoy their time in an open environment.
Akihabara should be on top of your sightseeing list if Japanese electrical appliances or insight into the otaku culture is of interest to you.