Akihabara Shopping – Part 1: Enjoying Otaku Paradise

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Maid cafes, video game arcades, and streets packed with great deals and tasty eats – Akihabara is fun for casual nerds and serious otakus alike.

A Day of Akihabara Entertainment



Tokyo's Akihabara area is a favorite destination for otakus, nerds, and geeks of all stripes. Although the neighborhood first started drawing crowds as a station-side market in the late 1800s, the market wares grew more diverse after World War II, when it slowly started attracting electronics fans, and eventually drew in the mix of shoppers, gamers, hobbyists of all kinds, and sightseers we find today. And with all the otakus arriving in the area, entertainment has followed, giving visitors some pretty fun way to wile away the hours. Here are just a few ways of the best ways to hang out in Akihabara!

➡ Enjoy Tea Time at the Maid Cafe



To put it simply, a maid cafe is an establishment staffed by young women dressed in maid costumes. While visiting, customers can expect to order some particularly cutesy food (think omurice with extra hearts or pink pastel sweets) and see the maids do things like "add extra love with a heart beam" when serving food, or pose for polaroid photos as souvenirs. Some cafes even have their staff perform choreographed songs and dances on a little stage. It's all sugary sweet enough to make your teeth ache, and of course, it all comes with a hefty price tag. Some people walk away feeling a little overwhelmed, but many maid cafe guests will tell you it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There's nothing like immersing yourself in this magical world of cute maids, frilly costumes, and finger hearts, especially when you're basically in the sacred land of maid cafes! For first-timers, Akiba Zettai Ryoiki and @home cafe are particularly popular spots, and a few chain maid cafes also have locations in the neighborhood. If you've been there, done that, then it might be time to check out one of the uniquely themed maid cafes, where the maids are in Japanese-style costumes or unusual animal ears. Of course, for those who aren't quite ready to dive right in, Akihabara also has cat cafes, owl cafes, and a number of anime-themed cafes too!

➡ Get Gaming at the Arcade



For many nerdy travelers who want to dip a toe into Akihabara culture, there's nowhere better than one of the area's enormous arcades. While one of the most iconic Sega arcades in the area (particularly known for its architecture) unfortunately closed its doors back in autumn 2020, there are still four Sega arcades in Akihabara, along with quite a few arcades from other companies. Akihabara is by no means lacking in places to play video games, with all the towering, multi-floor buildings dedicated to arcade games of every kind, from fighting games that have long been a part of the international gaming scene, to rhythm games controlled in increasingly complex ways, and some surprising games you'll probably never see outside of Japan. It's easy to go through hundreds of yen going from floor to floor and trying out games of every genre, but you can also join the crowds that sometimes gather around to watch other particularly impressive players, and even visitors who are less into video games can often enjoy a game of darts, or a trip to the purikura photo booths that stretch your face into doll-like proportions and let you draw all over the pictures.

➡ Eat Like You’re in an Anime



Anyone who's ever watched with envy as Naruto slurped up another bowl of glistening noodles, or drooled over the cooking scene in Studio Ghibli's Ponyo, will know that mouth-watering food can be the cherry on top of a good anime, and ramen is an old standby. What better way to enjoy your time in Akihabara than going otaku-gourmet and indulging in some rich ramen to relive your favorite anime scenes? The Akihabara food scene has been expanding in recent years, slowly attracting an increasing stream of food lovers with restaurants that are cheap, plentiful, and delicious. Among those are quite a few popular ramen spots, like the cramped local haunt Aoshima Ramen, which serves classic ramen complete with naruto-maki fish cakes, or century-old favorite Hyakunen Honpo, alongside a handful of ramen chains with their own dedicated fanbases, like the tonkotsu ramen specialists Hakata Furyu.



(If you want the ultimate Akihabara dining experience, you can always combine your maid cafe and ramen experiences by ordering the pretty "Moe Moe Pink Ramen" at Akiba Zettai Ryoiki, which you'll find to be a surprisingly well-prepared bowl of tonkotsu ramen, colored pink naturally with beets.)

Or Recreate the Experience at Home!



There's nothing quite like visiting Akihabara and feeling the atmosphere for yourself, but for travelers who won't be heading to the area any time soon and still want to experience a little Akihabara, the magic of online shopping might be able to help you out. Set the mood at home with decorations featuring Hatsune Miku, the vocaloid icon, or merchandise from Akihabara's famous girl group AKB48 (we're actually fans of their Fukuoka sister group HKT48). Then recreate the super-kawaii maid cafe experience with pink Japanese udon, cute teapots, and even cuter cat-shaped sugar cubes. If you're ready to go overboard with it all, you can even order the cutest bottles of mineral water in the world, with rhinestones and cute anime girls or entirely covered in a tower of fake macarons. Gamers might have a little more trouble recreating a multi-floor arcade in their living room, but at least Japanese retailers are ready to offer up gaming gear galore and plenty of unusual Japanese video games, to add a little Japanese style to your home gaming experience. Finally, when it comes to ramen, you don't have to settle for styrofoam cups of instant noodles at home. Lots of Japanese food manufacturers (and even some popular ramen shops) offer ramen kits to make proper ramen at home, with fresh noodles that maintain their bounce, rich soup bases, and toppings like decadent chashu pork. You can even plate it all in an elegant Japanese ceramic bowl for that extra touch of restaurant class. Whether you're seeing it for real, or recreating the experience at home, Akihabara offers a pretty fantastic otaku experience!

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⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon!
🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중
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⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon! 🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중 💃18歲以上才能入場的歌舞秀,和你想的不一樣!拿好優惠券去看看~ #tokyo #shinjuku #samurairestaurant #robotrestaurant #tokyotrip #도쿄여행 #신주쿠 #사무라이레스토랑 #이색체험 #할인이벤트 #歌舞伎町 #東京景點 #武士餐廳 #日本表演 #日本文化體驗 #japankuru #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta

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Japanese appliance & electronics shopping with our KOJIMA x BicCamera coupon! 用JAPANKURU的KOJIMA x BicCamera優惠券買這些正好❤️ 코지마 x 빅 카메라 쿠폰으로 일본 가전 제품 쇼핑하기 #pr #japankuru #japanshopping #kojima #biccamera #japaneseskincare #yaman #dji #osmopocket3 #skincaredevice #日本購物 #美容儀 #相機 #雅萌 #日本家電 #일본여행 #면세 #여행꿀팁 #일본쇼핑리스트 #쿠폰 #일본쇼핑 #일본브랜드 #할인 #코지마 #빅카메라 #japankurucoupon

Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~
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Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment! #ueno #nikigolf #golfshopping #golfgear #🏌️ #golflife #golf #golftips #golfjapan #jpangolf #golfclub #honma #ameyoko #二木ゴルフ #二木ゴルフアメ横本店 #nikigolfameyoko #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyoshopping #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta #japankuru #pr

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items!
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Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items! #pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄

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      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

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    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

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      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.

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      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.

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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!

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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.

    • KAGOSHIMA

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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.

    • OKINAWA

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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.

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