Akihabara unveiled: Nihonpot

Whenever we ask people about their favorite places in Japan, there is at least one in the group that instantly replies: AKIHABARA! This lovely area in Tokyo gathers otaku/geek culture, Japanese history and even delicious food in one single place. Akihabara has such a lovely and charming atmosphere to the point we consider it a no brainer in any tour. Would you like to know more about what to see and how to make the most of your visit? Keep reeding!



About Akihabara’s History

Similarly to how it happened with Samurai, Ninja and Geisha, Akihabara’s history traces all the way back to the Edo Period. Although currently you will find figurines, anime, manga and even electronics around, Akihabara was originally a place to purchase weapons. This is due to the fact it is relatively close to the Japanese Imperial Castle.

Back in year 1869 AC, current Tokyo area faced a massive fire that brought colateral damage, including the integrity of most of the weapon shops in Akihabara. During its reconstruction in 1870, Japanese feudal government built a Shrine dedicated to Kagutsuchi (the Shinto Divinity of Fire). Despite of this, many people spread the rumor that such temple was dedicated to Akiba instead (the Shinto God that protects people from fires). For this reason, locals started calling this area 秋葉の原 (Akihba no Hara), which translates to “Akiba’s land”. This is the reason why some people still call this region 秋葉 (Akiba).

After some changes and erroneous transcriptions of the original place’s name, “Akiba No Hara” became simply “Akihabara” in common Japanese. However, it was in year 1890 that the local train station was built and named Akihabara when the name became official. Due to the construction of the local train station, merchants from Edo (nowadays Tokyo) began to gather here. From then, Akihabara began to develop as one of Japan’s most important commerce centers. Although currently you cannot find weapons as you could back in 1869, today you will find there all you need from the Otaku/Geek world. It is undoubtedly a place you cannot miss on you perfect journey to Japan!

Akihabara's past is amazing, but its present is simply captivating. Do not miss this destination on your trip!
Akihabara’s past is amazing, but its present is simply captivating. Do not miss this destination on your trip!

How to get to Akihabara?

If you are in Tokyo, getting to Akihabara could not get easier. Get on any 山手 (やまのて / Yamanote) line’s station and head up to Akihabara station. As Akihabara is a heavily visited region in Tokyo, many bus routes lead there too. Do not panic! We are talking about an entire district, so there is no welcome signs out there. However, you will realize you made it there as you start to see lights, cute maids and merchandise shops. You can also head to the Akihabara Train Station, which we show you on a map below:

Now you have enough information on how to make it there, you should know that many people know the main street of Akihabara, but only few actually get lost in its nooks and crannies. That is why we suggest you to give Akihabara’s surrounding areas a shot and to discover what you will see in the following section of this article!

Already in Japan? Check out this other entry for more lovely places out there!

You won’t regret it! It has out NihonPot® seal of quality



What to see?

As you already know, we are talking about an entire district. This is the main reason why we suggest a good planning so you get to make the most out of your visit to Akihabara. We share with you some categories of places you might like as much as we do:


This is the main attraction to visitors looking for getting their hands on the latest merch of their beloved Japanese series. Whether you want videogames, tech, anime, manga… you name it, Akihabara probably has a shop for it. Thus, we share the places’ categories we believe you will love:

  • Yodobashi Camera: Toys, electronics and much more (check the map)
    • This is one of our personal favorites. Yodobashi Camera is a department store that has shops all around Japan, but Akihabara’s building has something that seduces every compulsive buyer out there. Feel free to take a look at their clearances and do not forget to check in at the TAX FREE booth.
  • Mandarake: Toys, merch (check the map)
    • This is the place to go if you are looking for collectibles. It is a little bit on the expensive side of shops, but their products are usually pristine. If you like figures (or any kind of Japanese toys) you cannot miss this shop.
  • Sofmap: Second hand goods (check the map)
    • This one is another of our favorites. Here you will find any sort of used goodies. But don’t be fooled by the word “used”. Japanese people are famous for keeping their belongings in perfect conditions, so anything you buy here will work flawlessly.
  • Radio Center: Figurines, manga, anime, multimedia (check the map)
    • This shop keeps the 80-90’s Japanese vibe that a lot of people loves. The best part is that, if you are into anime and manga, this place is just for you! Radio Center rents small spaces where people can display their gems to sell them. There are usually rare pieces from private collections, so you will most likely find something new anytime here. If you are also into electronics, this was the original place to buy them around Tokyo in the late 70s!
  • Gachapon Kaikan: Gachapon (check the map)
    • If you like collecting, then gachapon are just for you. They are small plastic balls you buy for anywhere between $1 to $10 USD. They usually contain an item from an entire collection of small figures, games or even mini versions of bigger products. If you like the concept, you must not miss the Gachapon Kaikan as they have all the hot collections waiting for you to get ’em all.


Whenever someone says they do not want to go to Akihabara, we invite them to give the Arcades a shot. These centers of entertainment usually gather different types of arcade machines that go from Claw Cranes to Virtual Reality Simulators. Check out the following video about what you can expect from an average Arcade in Akihabara.

This is the former SEGA Arcade building. However, you can find similar atmospheres at any given Arcade Building around Akihabara.

Throughout Akiba streets you will encounter plenty of Arcade Buildings. Our suggestion is for you to give some of them a shot, as they are usually very similar between themselves. It is a lot of fun, but be aware that some past travelers spend a lot of money and time here trying to get that sneaky Aloha Edition Kirby!


Similarly to the Arcade section, Akiba gathers plenty of Restaurants that vary in style and price. From luxurious sushi restaurants to passionate Maid Cafes, you can find any variety of food you feel like when being in Akihabara. To avoid spending a fortune or eating something you could find anywhere else in the world, we give you some categories you may want to try:

  • Thematic
    • If you are into unique one-of-a-kind experiences, you must go to any thematic restaurants in Akiba. This category contains
      • Maid Cafes: These offer a unique service related to interacting indirectly with lovely girls willing to accomplish all your otaku drams (more or less). They usually sing, perform and even cook for you depending on the food set you pay. Be warned that Maid Cafes do not offer “special services”, so please avoid further personal interaction with the staff (or you might get kicked out).
      • Animal Cafes: These are also lovely, but in a different way. Buy a coffee and relax as you interact with free cats, dogs and even hedgehogs. This restaurants arose as a solution for people willing to have a mascot but not having enough space. Nowadays they are kept as an attraction for both locals and foreigners looking for novel experiences. Please be kind to the animals you interact with!
      • Anime/Manga restaurants: Many anime and manga series set their very own thematic restaurants. Some are permanent, but be aware that some others are temporary. Please check you favorite franchise’s restaurant to ensure you will find it on service!
  • Street food: Do you want a more native experience. Street food is just for you. This type of restaurants usually are what local salary man and women consume day to day. They are usually small businesses with not very appealing entrances, but they offer some amazing traditional food. We suggest you to try local gyōza ramen, which is an specialty from Akihabara!

Hotels and Hotspots

Last (but not least) is the accommodation section. As simple as it might sound, there are plenty of affordable options around that even have hotspots for you to relax at the end of an emotive day. Some other even have spa, manga reading areas and free drinks!

Bonus: A hidden shrine in Akihabara

Akihabara is a lively culture and commerce center, but only few travelers know that at its very heart lays an actual hidden Shrine dedicated to the Shinto God of Food. We are talking about 英稲荷神社 (はなぶさいなりじんじゃ / Hanabusa Inari Jinja), which was erected back in Edo Period and reconstructed on its current location after WWII. Back in the day it was a centric religious spot, but nowadays it is buried amongst skyscrapers. For you not to miss it, please follow this link to guide yourself towards this amazing historical spot.

NihonPot Score: Akihabara

As usual, we rate Akihabara for you to consider it as you next destination in Japan:


It doesn’t get much easier than reaching Akihabara.


Being here has no cost, but you sure will find something to eat, drink or even buy. Be careful when spending here!


Experience is amazing. Geeks, otakus and tech lovers are going to have such a great time around Akihabara!


You cannot miss Akihabara. It is a no brainer in any Japan trip you plan!

Suggestion: Plan you visits and to-do’s beforehand. We suggest at least one day here!

Japanese language is not mandatory, buy we suggest to know the essentials to avoid issues while communicating.



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By Rodrigo Curiel

I am passionate about Japan. I have been there several times, lived there and fallen in love recursively with Japan's culture, people and food.

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