Akihabara- 9 Things You Must Do

My blog is slowly becoming a lot more Japanese related and I love it. This post is about one of the greatest areas in Tokyo…. Akihabara! If you want to learn more about another great area in Tokyo (Shibuya), then I have a great post for that too! Anyway, there are many reasons why I love Akihabara, the Otaku playground, the electric lights, the modern Japan feel. There is plenty to do there and in this post I am sharing 9 things that you must do in Akihabara and all about this special district.

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History

Akihabara is a district in Central Tokyo, Japan. Akihabara got the nickname ‘Electric Town’ shortly after World War 2 as it developed into a huge shopping district for electronic goods, radio and household objects, it developed a Black Market. Before Akihabara developed it’s Black Market, it was known as something else, Aioi. Akihabara was called Aioi during the Edo Period and lower-class samurai lived in this area. It was a rough place to live as it was known brawls and fires happened regularly. I love the history behind Akihabara, I love how it has developed from a dark post war area to an electric neon area.

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Location

Travel is something you do not need to worry about. As Akihabara is in Central Tokyo, it is very easy to get to, especially if you have a JR Pass. You can take the JR Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Sobu Line or Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line. It is never normally too far away!

  • From Haneda Airport: 50 minutes on the Limousine Bus, or 45 minutes by train.
  • Narita Airport: Two hours by Limousine Bus, or about an hour and a half by train.
  • Shinjuku Station: 18 minutes on the JR Sobu Line to Akihabara Station.
  •  Tokyo Station: Four minutes on the JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station.

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Things to do in Akihabara

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1. Visit a Maid Café 

Maid Cafes originated in Akihabara, so it is only right that you visit one whilst you’re there. They are themed cafes that are very popular within the Otaku and Kawaii subculture and tourists. You are greeted by waitresses dressed up as maids and they serve you and perform dances/songs on stage (at a cost). The food is very cute and Kawaii. There is a lot of controversy regarding Maid Cafes, a problematic feature is that the maids appear very submissive, if you would like to read more then click here. However, it is a brilliant experience that I recommend!

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2.  Try the Magikarp Taiyaki

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake that imitates the shape of the tai (red snapper) fish, which it is named after. You can purchase Taiyaki all over Tokyo, on market stalls and in shops. Their original filling was red bean paste but now they are made with custard, chocolate, cheese, and sweet potato fillings too. The outside is kind of like a waffle, but a lot nicer and the ones you buy from a stall are fresh and warm. In Akihabara, there is a special kind of Taiyaki. The Magikarp Taiyaki! You must know what Magikarp is right? I hoped to come across a stall that sold them and we did, I was so happy! I cannot remember how much it was, unfortunately, maybe around 250/300yen, but it was pretty good, but very sickly!

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3. Shop for Electronic Goods

Akihabara is known for many things, one of them being electronic goods, so we had to go into an Electronic Store. We went into a couple but the only name I can remember is Bic. Bic is a consumer electronics retailer chain in Japan, you won’t miss its big red sign. There were floors and floors of electronics and gadgets, some I had never ever seen before. I can remember seeing lots of VR things, amazing cameras and seeing some Kawai Hello Kitty camera and Rilakkuma Polaroid film that I really regret not buying ☹.

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4. Shop for Anime Goods

The other thing that Akihabara is well known for is its anime goods! There are so many different stores in Akihabara especially that sell anime goods but I (and I am sure many others) highly recommend going into an Animate. Animate is one of the most popular shops in Japan that sell anime merchandise and there is a very large store in Akihabara.  You could spend hours in this store if you are a massive anime fan. There are floors and floors of anime goods ranging from manga, books, music, dvds and more. We didn’t recognise a lot of the anime in there and it wasn’t until I got home, I learned that Animate stocks up whatever is new and popular, not the classic series. So that was why I couldn’t find a lot of the anime I watch! However, I did spend quite a bit of Yen in Animate hehe. Another great shop to check out in Akihabara is Mandarake.

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5. Visit the Kanda Myojin Shrine

The Kanda Myojin Shrine has a history of over 1300 years and it is known as the shrine that protects the city of Tokyo. The main hall of Kanda Myojin Shrine manged to survive the bombing of Tokyo in 1945 but has since undergone major repairs and reconstructions. It is a beautiful shrine to look at, big, red and gold. People visit to pray for new relationships, better business, recovery and more. From Akihabara Station we walked to this shrine, I think it was about a 20-minute walk. It was the first shrine we visited in Japan and it set a wonderful example, there are so many lovely aspects to it. As it was our first time, we didn’t pray but the atmosphere was peaceful and calm, a great alternative to the Akihabara streets. That is why it is worth a visit.

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6. Visit an Arcade

Of course, you have got to go into SEGA and play some video games. If I remember correctly there are a few in Akihabara that you can go into and each one is slightly different. I absolutely loved looking at the grabber machines. Me and Reece must have spent the equivalent to £10 trying to win this dumbo teddy, a man who worked there was even giving us tips and re positioning it for us. We had to give up in the end, but I was so sad! You need to visit an arcade in Japan to get the full ‘Japan Experience’, it is honestly like a scene from a film. I will never forget watching this one young teen absolutely smash the dance mat, I have never saw anyone move to fast, he was sweating, and everyone was watching him, it was amazing.

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7. Walk down some back streets

The first time we went to Akihabara we ended up walking down some back streets, away from the tall neon buildings and main streets (see images). I recommend doing this because when me and Reece did, we found so many cute things and hidden gems such as little cafes, amazing photo spots, but my absolute favourite thing we saw was a Retro Street Fighter arcade game. It was so vintage, so retro and we were there playing it for quite a while!

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8. Have a Photoshoot

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We all want photographs in front of buildings with neon signs, right?  Gotta get those pictures for the gram’. I feel like Akihabara is quieter than Shibuya and Shinjuku, so therefore easier to get good pictures. I definitely wish I had taken more, and that Reece had taken more of me, but I am still in love with the ones I have. Do spend some time taking photographs in Japan, especially of the buildings and of each other.

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9. Wait for it to get dark

You can easily spend a day in Akihabara, but if you are short on time then I recommend visiting during the evening. During the evening Akihabara is very lively place and full of many different people who are also out enjoying themselves. There is something about Tokyo Nightlife that is so interesting, you must witness it for yourself and Akihabara is a wonderful area to do so. The neon signs in the dark, the sounds of arcade machines,  cosplayers walking around,  people laughing and having fun, it is perfect.

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So, there you have 9 Things That You Must Do In Akihabara, I hope you enjoyed reading. If you are planning a trip to Japan I hope reading this got you excited! Let me know in the comments which aspect of Akihabara you are most interested in!

Thank you for reading!! x

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16 Comments

  1. February 9, 2020 / 10:56 pm

    I love that there is so much to do in Akihabara! I hope to go to Japan one of these days. It is so cool that there is even a Magikarp taiyaki!! Wow, you can’t go wrong with their merchandise!! I would probably spend way too much money, hehe.

    Glad you enjoyed your time out there!!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  2. February 13, 2020 / 5:34 pm

    When I was a little high school weeb, I first heard about Akihabara and thought it was nothing more than electronics and flashy signs. I’m so surprised and also happy to see what it’s really like! I had no idea about its history or the Magikarp taiyaki. Never thought I’d say it, based on my boring ideas of Akihabara from eight years ago, but I’m actually really excited to put this place on my bucket list now!

    x Envy
    verdwaaldinvertaling.blogspot.com

  3. February 13, 2020 / 9:26 pm

    The shelves of anime books made me do a double-take; my sister reads many of the books in the photo, from what I could read of some of the titles.
    Despite the controversy, I would visit a maid cafe just to check it out! Seeing cities at night is something I enjoy, from my stays in Los Angeles, Tucson, and Melbourne, Australia; it looks like a whole new place.
    I LOVE back streets. 🙂

  4. February 13, 2020 / 10:53 pm

    Gosh this makes me miss Japan so much! I’m gutted that I wasn’t allowed to take pics in the maid cafe… It really was an experience!

  5. February 16, 2020 / 9:41 am

    This place looks amazing! I’d love to go visit Japan, but I don’t think it will be happening for me anytime soon. I think I need to secure a job first to fund it 😅 that ice cream you got at the cafe looks so yummy! And the shrine looks really beautiful, as well. I’m so jealous! 🧡

    Beka | http://www.bekadaisies.com

  6. February 17, 2020 / 5:14 pm

    Back streets/side streets are always great for finding hidden gems!

  7. February 17, 2020 / 5:23 pm

    Akihabara is such a fun area in Tokyo! Great suggestions for how to make the most of the area. I’m a big fun of the photo booths (pirikura I think it’s called?) where you can do hilarious photoshopping on your pics.

  8. February 17, 2020 / 5:26 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and now reading this I want to go more. I’ve seen YouTube videos about all the different vending machines you can find in Japan and they all look so different and interesting. The arcade also sounds so fun! X

  9. February 17, 2020 / 5:27 pm

    This makes me miss Japan!! The Taiyaki is sooo cute!

  10. February 17, 2020 / 5:35 pm

    I mean, I think I want to go to Japan more and more every time I read one of your posts! Really interesting history to this place – definitely one on the worth a visit list! x

  11. February 17, 2020 / 6:15 pm

    This has really made me want to visit! I love that you included a bit about the history too. Such an informative post! I really appreciate that you covered a wife range of things to do as well, Maid cafes sound like a great experience and it looks absolutely beautiful at night x

    Sophie

  12. makeupmuddle
    March 27, 2020 / 11:56 pm

    Oh wow it looks like such an amazing place! I would love to visit one day, it’s on my bucket list for sure xo

    https://www.makeupmuddle.com

  13. May 27, 2020 / 1:17 pm

    Wow I love all the Pokemon everywhere!! I’d love to go explore here one day with my boyfriend! Such a fun culture

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