Akihabara (often abbreviated as Akiba) might be one of the most famous places to a foreigner coming to Tokyo. As you probably already know, it is THE place to go for all kinds of geekery, with a high concentration of electronics shops and the most manga, anime goods, and maid cafes you can find in one place anywhere on earth (not even an exaggeration). Best visited on Sunday because of hokosha tengoku (literally ‘pedestrian heaven’), when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic. If your attention span can manage for less than 10 minutes, check out our mini video guide below:
Pro tip: For an inside look at Akihabara, consider a guided tour. It’s geared towards geeks and gamers, and includes a visit to a maid cafe.
Where to eat and drink in Akihabara
The one everyone’s probably thinking about are the maid cafes, but we also know some other tasty options, though unfortunately they won’t wait on you hand and foot. If you still need some otaku in your dining experience, there’s the Gundam Cafe. Otherwise, you can find pretty standard (but delicious!) chain cafes and restaurants dotted all around with good price points.
What to do in Akihabara
You’ve probably heard it all before: shop for electronics or manga etc. etc. etc. The true fans of all things otaku should skip the mainstream spots and check out Akihabara’s hidden gems instead. Even if anime stuff isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy this area for free (anime lovers can too, of course).
And if you don’t want to hang around too long, try our 1-day tour that covers Akihabara and some nearby hot spots. But seriously, it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else, so it’s worth taking the plunge into this side of Tokyo.
Note: Akihabara’s iconic Sega Akihabara Building 2 arcade will close on August 2020.
Where to stay in Akihabara
There are actually a good number of cheap places to stay. For the record, a lot of these are capsule hotels (yes, those rumored capsule hotels!). There’s the pretty modern First Cabin, which is close to the station as an added bonus. Another option is Akihabara Bay Hotel, a women-only option, perfect if you want an extra sense of safety.
But if you want to have your fill of geek in the sheets, too…don’t get any weird ideas and stay at a manga cafe. Believe it or not, they’re a good place to turn to if you need a roof over your head. Side note: these establishments aren’t Akiba-exclusive, you can find them elsewhere in Tokyo, so don’t panic if you ever miss the last train.
For even more info, download our ebook “A Cheapo’s Guide To Akihabara”.