Akihabara – Japandaman’s Otaku Guide to Japan

Let’s take a look at the awesomeness that is Akihabara, or Akiba for short, and the amazing stuff you can track down here! Items are in no order at all and have been added as I come across them.

  • Don Quijote – A great store with a little bit of everything spread out like a multi-level department store. There’s literally loads to see and buy and there’s heaps of cosplay goods! Also home to the J-Pop girl supergroup, AKB48! The top floor houses their studio and merchandise store. You can get a ticket to see them perform but it’s done via lottery and can be quite hard to get one as demand is so high.
  • Pasela Akihabara – A really cool karaoke bar where the different rooms are anime themed and many cosplayers congregate to bust out tunes…in cosplay! Only in Akihabara 🙂
  • Maid Cafes – Ok, maid cafes are amazing have have to be experienced at least once in Japan. From being treated like a master and escorted to your seat, to watching the maids do a show or one of your song requests to watching them drawn characters on your food with sauce and then going through a “power up” process. Maidreamin’ is one of the biggest and best, @Home is also a great one to visit. One of the older maid cafes is Cure Maid Cafe which gives great variety to the maid cafe scene.
  • Gundam Cafe – For those of you obsessed with anything and everything Gundam then this is the place for you. The amazing menu, the immersive and atmospheric interior decorations to the goods sold there. Prepare your wallets!
  • Super Potato – The absolute last name in retro and hard to find gaming treasures. Some people have yet to discover this gem which can be hard to find sometimes and even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll find it hard not to be impressed at the amazing, immaculate condition that everything second hand is in. There’s an even an arcade on the top floor but be warned if you’re not a smoker as like a lot of places in Japan, smoking is still allowed and it can be quite smoky in there.
  • Animate – An amazing store for the anime, manga, figure lover and more. There are loads of treasures to find in this multi-level store. It isn’t a store that you can walk in and out of in 30 minutes. Be prepared to send some serious time, and coin, in there.
  • Good Smile Cafe – GSC have teamed up with Animate to make a unique cafe experience. Come for the coffee and snacks but stay for the ever changing exhibitions that adorn the inside of the cafe. It’s always in extreme high demand so if you plan to go there, it’ll be a great idea to make a booking beforehand but it’s worth it.
  • Kotobukiya – Collectors of figures will have heard of Kotobukiya before, they produce and sell some of the best looking figures you’ll cast your eyes on. It’s a multi-level layout store with unique and highly impressive figures on each floor broken up into different sections. There’s even a small section on one floor dedicated to Studio Ghibli with some really kawaii items and souvenirs to bring back home.
  • Mandarake – Another amazing place to check out if you’re into figures would have to be Mandarake. Not only does it have your usual figmas, nendoroids plus more but it also has from time to time, older more retro figures. Almost like a Super Potato for figures, that alone is worth a visit.
  • Akihabara Gamers – Located literally right next to the JR Akihabara train station is Akihabara Gamers. This store id dedicated to anime, voice actors and every in between. There’s loads of bishoujo, or beautiful girl merchandise as well as CD’s, DVD’s with heaps of other character goods. This is the store to pay a visit to if you want to see what buzzing in the anime scene in Japan.
  • Akihabara Bay Hotel – Capsule hotels are something else unique to Japan. Used by salarymen who have missed the last train home or tourists who have gotten themselves lost or just want to try a different experience. The Akihabara Bay Hotel takes the capsule hotel model and offers something different by offering it to females only however. And that’s not all, the capsules themselves are adorned with 2D male idols on the walls from King Of Prism. All the better to help you fall asleep with. *Thanks to Silhouette d’Amour for this tip!*
  • Game Bar A-Button – I really love this bar, It’s very small but there’s an amazing feeling of nostalgia the minute you walk in. There are hundreds of console controllers both old and new, but mainly older ones, literally stuck the walls all around the bar. As far as tunes, there’s an internet radio pumping out out anime and video game tracks which gives the bar a really cool and unique atmosphere. It’s a very warm and inviting bar with attendees normally having a drink while playing their handheld, normally a 3DS. Well worth a visit purely just for the aesthetic value.
  • Tokyo Anime Centre – Located in the UDX building just off the main street (Chuo Dori), the TAC is worth a visit as they have exhibits that rotate on a regular basis and they also have a pretty cool store with some nice souvenirs.
  • K-Books – Comics, novels, art books, illustrations, cosplay books, idol books and…I could be here all night! Needless to say, if you’re after a book from the otaku genre, look no further. If K-Books doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.
  • Club Sega – Walk a little ways out of JR Akihabara station, get to the main street (Chuo Dori) and you’ll see Club Sega right across the road. Arcade games, UFO catchers to test your skills and other machines to quickly blow some money on and definitely worth a visit to this iconic building.
  • Cospa Gee Store – Cospa is a brand known for supplying high quality and next level cosplay merch and while you’re in Akiba, head down the main street and do some serious damage to your wallet!
  • Gachapon Kaikan – Gachapon or capsule toys can be found in machines all over Japan but in Akihabara, there’s a dedicated space where there are over 430 machines all lined up ready and waiting for your Â¥100 coins! Bring plenty of change!!