Hello, today we’re covering Akihabara, the electric town! Akihabara is famous for embracing the ‘otaku’ culture, and so anime, video games, idols, manga, etc. are all over the place! As are electrical goods, which is where the area gets it’s nickname!
We visited Akiba two or three times I think, I didn’t buy too much, but did walk away with a few things! Osaka also had it’s own electric town, which will be covered in about 17 months if I continue with these posts at the rate I’m doing thus far.
This is right outside Akihabara Station Electric Town Gate. Love Live is everywhere, I imagine now the Love Live spinoff anime is everywhere, as that just started! I never finished the Love Live anime, I liked it but didn’t ironically, didn’t love it.
I can’t remember what this store was called, but it was one of the best in Akiba! It’s hard to miss when it’s right next to the SEGA arcade outside of Akiba station.
I believe this was an advertisement for Pachinko, it’s some form of betting on machines that are often anime themed and it’s…I have no words. We went into a pachinko parlour, it was full of salarymen, smoke, and A LOT of noise. Like A LOT. The game seems impossible to understand, it’s never picked up in the west despite being massively popular in Japan.
But I love Evangelion, and this art is cool, so I had to take a picture!
This is what a Pachinko parlour looks like!
There were also advertisements for a Puella Magi Madoka Magica themed machine! PMMM is my favourite anime of all time, I recommend it to any and all!
Often second hand stores rent out ‘cubes’ to people to sell their own things in, this is an example of one! We found that the prices in cubes are quite erratic as they’re set by the individual seller, and often they are overpriced. Here’s a Bakemonogatari series one, with some other bits thrown in.
I used to own a lot of these Madoka figures, I think I still own one of the smaller Homura kyunchara figures on the right of the second row.
Please beware that you’re not supposed to take pictures in a lot of these stores, this was the first we ventured in and I didn’t realise that until I’d taken a lot of photos, but the staff did see me and didn’t say anything, in some places it’s perfectly ok.
I did take a picture of a figure I wanted in one store, which was no photo, as I explained which one I wanted and he didn’t get it…he still wasn’t happy that I took the photo though, and the figure wasn’t even for sale. A figure I used to look for almost daily, and only witnessed that one time in all the stores we visited. One day I will own that teeny Maka Albarn figure.
I’m a huge To Aru series fan, mainly To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, so I took a few pictures of these decorations, which are the art from a line of keyrings/straps, which look like the character is caught on your keys/bag! I’ve forgotten the name of the line, puchiko or something?
Akiba itself is very Tokyo, wide roads, large buildings, extremely clean, very busy.
I went into a Game Centre (arcade) just to use to the toilet and took a picture of this for Fae as she’s a big Cloud Strife fan!
Many male toilets in game centres have urinals which cheer you on as you pee and make it a game, so you get points for how ‘on target’ your pee stream was. Japan is living in the future. There’s nothing like someone shouting ‘GANBATTE’ (Keep going/You can do it) whilst you pee furiously on a target.
I still need to buy Pokken tournament for the Wii U! It was such a fun arcade game.
Again, Love Live is everywhere. My favourite characters were Eli and Umi.
Many doujinshi (fanmade comics) are lined like this. Be careful as doujin is often focused on ‘shipping’, and is often explicit. You can easily walk into a section full of hardcore porn and not know it, and be stared at by a bunch of Japanese dudes looking for their favourite game character getting railed by another character.
Maidreamin is one of Tokyo’s most famous maid cafes! We never actually went to one, having been to a pop up one in London, but it’s a fun concept. As a male foreigner, maids on the street promoting their cafe will target you, I think I was handed something like 8 flyers whilst walking between two shops.
Adores is a very big chain of game centres!
Book Off is one of the greatest second hand stores, there is one in New York, I think, I visited it back in 2009, I’m not sure if it’s still there, and up until recently there was one in Paris, that one was incredible! Japan is full of them! They mainly focus on books/DVDs/CDs rather than figures, and you can easily find some hidden gems within them.
Gacha machines are everywhere! In Akiba, I tried my luck on a Himouto! Umaru-chan machine, and got a badge of Umaru’s brother, and Sylphinford’s brother. Super lame.
See the giant Boo in the crane machine on the left? I ended up winning one on my first go in Odaiba. I didn’t expect to win. I then had to cart it around Japan for two weeks.
These Free! plush were VERY popular! They were sold out in a lot of second hand stores/cost a lot to buy!
Free! cafe! We actually visited it a while later, so you’ll see more at some point. It was really awesome, I had just finished Free! before going to Japan, so I was really happy to see it everywhere.
Haru is my favourite character, Sousuke is a close second.
It isn’t abnormal to see video game/anime billboards in Japan, but in Akiba they are practically rammed down your throat.
Sofmap is one of Japan’s largest electrical goods retailers.
Some fanmade gachas exist. Some I wish didn’t exist, like this one which has been modified so that you crank Miku Hatsune’s boob to get your prize.
This was one of my favourite purchases.
As a child I loved the Gameboy Advance game Kuru Kuru Kururin. I replayed it about a year ago and finished in one sitting, as it’s such a good game! I researched it, and it has a few Japan only sequels, including one on the GBA: Kururin Paradise! I made it my mission to find a copy, and in Akiba, I found it for 800 yen (about £5, but with Brexit, that’s probably £50 now).
I’m yet to play it, as I came straight back from Japan to uni, where I didn’t have my GBA, but now I’m home I need to play it!
One store had this giant To Love Ru statue, which I think is a larger version of an existing figure. I know nothing about To Love Ru except that it seems to be about scantily clad demon girls???
Animate is a retailer of anime character goods, including figures. The only thing with Animate is that you’ll pay full retail price, whereas a lot of other places have discounts.
Psycho-Pass is one of my favourite anime, and it was surprisingly popular in Japan! I thought it wasn’t, due to it’s lack of figures, but it has so much other merchandise! Psycho-Pass is a Gen Urobochi creation, like Madoka and Fate/Zero and I love it so much, it’s on Netflix, as well as the aforementioned two I believe, you should give it a watch!
This was Psycho-Pass coffee. My aesthetic.
I don’t think I missed a single Madoka advertisement in the whole of Japan.
I made it my mission to eat a lot of crepes in Japan, due to how popular they are! This was probably the worst I had, it was a great, but it didn’t have much filling beyond whipped cream. But it was also like 300 yen.
Many stores offer preorders for figures, shown on the posters! You can do this by filling in a card and leaving a deposit.
I would recommend www.amiami.com as a store to buy your figures from overseas, I used it for years and never had any trouble.
It took a lot of resistance for me to not drop 12,000 yen on this Saber Fate/Zero figure. I used to have the figma and the motorbike, but this scale figure blows that out of the water.
Pocari Sweat was one of my staple drinks in Japan. It’s glorious. A store near my flat in Liverpool used to import it, I wish I made more use of that now I’ve moved out.
Like in all areas of Tokyo, you can turn off of a very main road and suddenly be in a residential area.
I’d fully recommend Akihabara if you visit Tokyo, especially if you have an interest in things the area is famous for. We seemed to barely scratch the surface, but I have to admit, even I got bored of looking around second hand stores in the end! It is super fun and quirky, so even if you’re not into anime/games etc., you’ll have a great day!
Thanks for reading, here are the rest of my Japan posts so far: