Just earlier in 2014, The Akihabara Radio Store, one of the pioneering electronics malls for the area closed permanently after being open 64 years (since 1949). Right near the Gamers, I wandered through this maze of small shops full of electronics, obscure devices, and individual electronics components a few times before it closed.
|View from outside JR Akihabara Station Electric Town Exit (the classic view with Radio Kaikan on the left, and Gamers on the right.)|
These days, most tourists hit Akihabara for the otaku atmosphere and shopping. The district is like any other Tokyo district near a train station - busy and full of people. Most of the anime related shops are clustered on the west side of the Akihabara Train Station (easily reached on theYamanote Line). I'm only going to talk about a few of the hotspots for anime related shopping or events in this post. Plenty of guides have covered maid cafes along with buying doujinshi and computer games in the area before, so I'm not going to repeat the coverage.
Game buying guide at Kotaku.
Seeking arcades article at Eurogamer.
New Akihabara Radio Kaikan
The new Radio Kaikan building had its grand opening on July 20th, 2014. The classic building was the heart of Akihabara anime shopping, but it was torn down for a number of reasons, including the fact it wasn't a modern structure built to take earthquakes. This new 10 floor building in the same place has new tenants and some of the old tenants have now moved back in. It looks like a pretty nice place, but the almost flea market-like atmosphere of the old place probably isn't going to be there as it looks more upscale now.
|Old Radio Kaikan at night.|
Some of the tenants include K-Books, Yellow Submarine, Volks, Kaiyodo Hobby Lobby, and much more. There are even more event spaces and a few pubs and a convenience store in the building now.
Akihabara Radio Kaikan
Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1-15-16.
Akiba Culture Zone
This building is another major hub, with six floors of anime related shopping, that is relatively new. It started out with a bang, but the composition of stores has changed over time. There are some big consignment goods stores here where you can buy items out of display boxes that people have rented. Of note, there is the Good Smile x Animate cafe on the 5th floor. You can browse the latest Goodsmile anime figures and order food. Sometimes there are special exhibits or events going on here.
|Corner of Akiba Culture Zone|
|Consignment sales of anime goods.|
Akiba Culture ZoneSotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1-chome, 7-6
View Akihabara Highlights Map / Akihabara Guide in a larger map
Some Other Shops
- Gamers - right outside the west "Electric Town" exit from Akihabara Station across from the Radio Kaikan. Anime, manga, character goods and more.
- Kotobukiya Store - just south of Akiba Zone on a back street, more character goods and toys.
- Animate - on Chuo Dori, a big store to stop in for all your anime needs. This and Gamers are the two big chain stores operating in the area.
- Robot Kingdom - real robots!
- Toranoana - main store is here for manga and doujin (self-published manga).
- Mandarake - for all your used collectible shopping needs. Eight floors of second hand treasure.
- Don Quixote - on Chuo Dori, north of the Animate on the same side of the street. Great for cosplay shopping and the AKB48 Stage.
- Yodobashi Camera - on the east side of the rail tracks - separate from all the other stuff. This is a big electronics store, but it has an entire floor for gashapon machines, model kits, and toys. Do check it out and they have hundreds of gashapon machines.
These are not maid cafes like @Home, Mai Dreaming, or Cure Maid Cafe. These cafes run with a particular concept and often have special promotional events going on. The maid cafes also do similar things on occasion.
- Gundam Cafe / AKB48 Cafe. On the west side of Akihabara Station under the north south train tracks. Just east of the Crossfield UDX Center where the Tokyo Anime Center is. Hit the link for my blog post on it.
- Goodsmile x Animate Cafe - in Akiba Culture Zone. Covered above already.
- Pasela Honey Toast Cafe. This is an interesting cafe as it also runs anime themed tie-in events with custom menus. It is part of the Pasela Resorts chain of karaoke establishments that also does the Dragon Quest bar in Roppongi. See the links below for some of the tie-in events. Some of the food looks really good too!
There are also anime themed karaoke rooms at this other Pasela in the area. Not to be mixed up with the one above. http://www.pasela.co.jp/shop/akihabara/info/index.html
- Tokyo Anime Center. The gift shop is located on the second floor of the Crossfield UDX building just north of the west side of the Akihabara train station. The display / exhibit space is on the 4th floor of the building. You never know if something good is on when you visit. There are 3 floors of restaurants and a food court in the building too!
- Artisans in Akihabara
- Instant Noodle Bar
- Canned Oden Machines (Japanese stew). Right across the street from Akiba Zone to the north. Examine the machines around the corner. Used to be a big thing to have a hot can of stew while waiting in line in the cooler months.
|Visual directions to canned oden machines in Akihabara|
- Gashapon Hall, Cospa, Cure Maid Cafe. When it is open, you'll see hundreds of gashapon machines inside the cramped space at street level. Look for it on the map above and the maid cafe and Cospa store above it. The video below was shot there.
|Visual directions to the Gashapon Hall going down Chuo Dori. Check the map above too for the location.|
- Themed Coin Lockers. These were made pretty famous when they had the Evangelion wrapping. The wraps have changed since then, but you never know if something nice pops up again.
|Location of the coin lockers that had the Evangelion picture wraps.|
More Japanese Pop Culture
Japanese Souvenirs For An Otaku Or Others
Anime and Games Set In Akihabara
Kanda Myojin, the Love Live shrine in Akihabara
Where to Find Giant Robot Statues in Japan
Tokyo's Theme Cafes
Artnia The New Square Enix Cafe and Store
Gundam Cafe and AKB48 Cafe in Akihabara
Gundam Front Mini-Theme Park in Odaiba (with another Gundam Cafe)
Shonen Jump Theme Park (J-World) with Naruto, One Piece, Dragonball, and more
The First Evangelion Store in Harajuku
Pokemon Store in Hamamatsucho
Giant Robot Toys - Macross, Godzilla, Gundam
Gundam Video Games in the Arcade and Home (Gundam Pods)
Evangelion's Rei and Asuka Figures Homage
Nifty Japanese Cat and Train Coin Banks
Canned Bread and Other Nifty Japanese Souvenirs
UFO Catchers and How to Win at Them
Gashapon / Gachapon Capsule Toys in Japan