MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Geek Town Akihabara for Manga, Anime, Toys and Electronics

Akihabara was our destination of choice for me to geek out a little as if I hadn't yet seen enough toys, manga and other visual "stimuli". More historically known for electronics it seems, as soon as we left Akihabara station, we still wandered straight into a toy store selling all manner of figurines, accessories, soft toys and other merchandise.

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Although Akihabara has a few of these stores, their entrances were not always so obvious for us. The landscape of buildings we encountered, simply displayed lots of Japanese signs (which we can't read of course), but not necessarily lots of Japanese manga characters (which I was expecting).

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Tall, thin buildings

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Typically for Japanese retail spaces - as we were discovering - store footprints tend to be quite small, but shopping space is compensated for by building up. Hence, whenever we visited any larger stores, we would initially think that they were quite small until we would reach the lifts and see the directories for eight floors! If we were still interested, we take the lift to the top and make our way down. How could we not be with lift interiors plastered with anime adverts?!

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Alternatively, we found that multileveled buildings could also be made up of a complex of small shops rather than one massive store.

Collectible toy stores

So as we wandered into our first Akihabara toy store, it turned out to be the latter, where we walked through to the back and entered a network of alleys and stairs that took us up several floors allowing us to explore all the various toy and electric businesses that lived there. They all basically sold the same kind of mechandise - blind boxed toys, customisable dolls, premium movie license figures and model kits, but with each business specialising in something in one way or another.

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I'd liked to have taken photos of some great product displays but for a culture so enthusiastic about taking photos, this was discouraged.

Not as much geek as we thought

Exploring Akihabara seemed to reveal much less than we were expecting. We did visit lots of geek shops, but I guess when the rest of Tokyo has a decent splattering of these anyway (such as with the Animate chain), we were expecting to see a massive concentration of them here. Still, since the surge in anime and manga stores happened more recently, its understandable, and you could still spend a day poring over all the collectibles.

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Akihabara Electric Town

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As for electronic appliances and parts, there were plenty of shops selling these, and they were mostly concentrated in the aptly named Akihabara Electric Town which is a series of streets West of the JR Akihabara station. Great if you're an electrics buff. Not so great for us. Our multi-region power adapter is enough challenge for us.

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For more photos of Akihabara, check our Flickr set


This entry posted in : Culture. Japan. Shopping.

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13/01/11  at  10:24 AM
hi there, I need collect some AKiba's road picture and I found your site. this is awesome. well, if you mind, may I take some pictures here? thanks before and nice to meet you smile
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15/01/11  at  12:46 AM
Hi Suzu,

That's ok, but please credit this site if you use the photos anywhere.

Thanks,

Mark
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14/03/11  at  12:17 PM
Hey dude! I need gather some toys and some electronics device and i found your site. This is amazing. Thanks smile
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21/03/11  at  01:38 PM
yes, of course I will. thankyou very much! :D
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