The Most Amazing Things to Do in Akihabara, Tokyo
The Tokyo metropolitan region is the world’s most populous urban area, with more than 30 million residents. What you don’t realize until you visit Tokyo is that unlike, say, London or New York, Tokyo isn’t highly centralized. Instead, you can think of Tokyo as a confederation of smaller (but still huge) districts and wards, with notable ones like Ginza, Harajuku and Shinjuku usually among the first that come to mind.
Akihabara isn’t as well-known among outside as the aforementioned parts of Tokyo, but is one of its most dynamic and enjoyable areas without a doubt. Continue reading to see the most amazing things to do in Akihabara, which is known as “Electric Town” both because of the type of goods sold there, as well as due to its general atmosphere.
Experience Otaku Culture
When it comes to things to do in Akihabara, it’s not an exaggeration to say that most are related to anime and manga. Collectively known as Otaku, this popular segment of Japanese culture not only underlies a lot of the country’s character in pop culture, but specific character, most conspicuously Pokemon.
Dine at a Maid Café
Characters in Akihabara exist not only within manga books and inside arcade games (more on those in just a second), but in flesh and blood right before your eyes. It’s not difficult to imagine waitresses at the dozens of maid cafés in Akihabara on the pages of a Japanese comic book or on an animated TV show.
Play Real-Life Mario Kart
If you’ve paid attention to your social media newsfeed recently, you’ve almost certainly seen photos and videos of people driving the streets of Tokyo dressed as characters from Mario Kart. It would be inaccurate to state that you can only do this in Akihabara, but it somehow seems more appropriate here than, say, in Asakusa, given the centrality of video game culture to the district’s identity.
Geek Out at an Incredible Arcade
Of course, you needn’t venture outside the world to enjoy the full power of Japanese gaming in Akihabara. After all, this is in some ways the historical ground-zero of arcade culture. Popular Akihabara arcades include Hirose Entertainment Yard and several Sega arcades where you can enjoy your favorite vintage games. It’s sad that Sonic the Hedgehog can no longer win in the world of Playstation and Xbox, but he’s never a loser in Akihabara!
Step Back in Time at a 10th-Century Shrine
Most of the things to do in Akihabara thus far have had a focus on the futuristic or at least the modern, so it might seem counter-intuitive to take a proverbial step back in time. However, visiting the Kanda Myojin Shrine (which dates back to the 10th century) is the perfect addition to a day in Akihabara.
Shop for Electronics and Accessories
It might be tempting, given the ubiquity of “Electric Town” as Akihabara’s nickname, to assume that this is the Japanese-to-English translation of its name. In fact, Akihabara means “autumn leaf field” when translated into English, which is about as far from the city as you can get in any aspect.
Practice Your Night Photography Skills
Accessories such as remotes and tripods are essential if you want to properly photograph Akibahara at its most photogenic time—after nightfall, of course. When else would you expect Tokyo’s “Electric Town” to truly shine?