What we love…
- Shibuya and Harajuku are known for fashion and cool, but Akihabara—also known as Electric Town—has carved out its geek niche catering to everything electric, anime, manga, cosplay outfits, and of coarse, the infamous maid establishments such as cafés, bars, and message parlors.
- If you aren't from Tokyo, Akihabara, especially during the busy weekends, can feel like you're stepping into an alternate universe. Pop culture is constantly streamed into the neigbourhood via billboards and giant screens. There's often street performers or diehard anime fans decked out in costume wondering the streets. You'll find big box electronic shops like Laox, Sofmap, and Ishimaru that stock anything and everything electronic, as well as smaller places on the side streets hawking secondhand goods.
- Every second shop sells otaku merchandise (which means obsessive) like anime and manga comic books, figurines, games, and collectibles.Take a stroll down the back alleys and side streets to get the full experience and to get a glimpse of the otaku mindset.
- If you've never heard of a Maid Café you'll be surprised by the young girls dressed in French maid outfits handing out flyers on the street. These are cosplay theme restaurants where staff dress as maids and wait on patrons. Although the idea is that the girls treat the customers as ‘masters,’ usually they are just cordial as waitresses tend to be. You'll typically see men (sometimes women) drinking tea, eating snacks, and reading anime or manga inside these cafés. Although these types of places have popped up in other cities the very first one, Cure Maid Café, was born in Akihabara.
- Akihabara station will get you right into the heart of the neighbourhood. We think the best time to visit is on the weekends when the streets are packed with people for the true experience. Sunday afternoons the main street is even closed to traffic for maximum pedestrian fun.