Akihabara, also commonly known as “Electric Town,” is the go-to district in Tokyo for electronics—and a popular spot to immerse in anime and manga culture. The area’s hundreds of stores sell everything from computer parts to home goods, and north of Akihabara Station, you’ll also find video games and popular manga-related items.
If you’re looking for electronics, head to the stores in Akihabara, which range in size from tiny stalls to sprawling, multi-level department stores. In addition to the electronics, the neighborhood is also a center of "otaku," or geek culture, and is a popular haunt for diehard anime and manga fans. This is a great place to people-watch and see fans dress up as their favorite characters from anime and manga.
Peeking into otaku culture can be tricky for foreign visitors, so opt for a tour of the neighborhood with a guide who can explain the various subcultures you’ll see as you visit gaming centers, manga cafes, and other popular spots.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most stores in Akihabara offer tax-free shopping to foreign tourists.
- Foreigners who make purchases over 10,000 yen (around $100 USD) may be required to show a passport.
- Before purchasing, check the voltage of items that you plan to use outside of Japan.
How to Get There
Akihabara Station is on the JR Keihin-Tohoku, Yamanote, Sobu Main, and Chuo-Sobu lines. It’s also on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya line. The journey takes just over 10 minutes from Tokyo Station.
When to Get There
Akihabara is lively at any time and on any day of the week, but it is especially busy on the weekends, when young people gather in large numbers. Visit after dark to enjoy the neighborhood’s glowing neon lights.
Just a 10-minute walk from Akihabara, the Ueno neighborhood showcases a completely different side of Tokyo. This more traditional area is known for its large park, its Shinto and Zen landmarks—such as the 17th-century Benzaiten Shrine—and for its many museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the National Museum for Western Art.