Akihabara (秋葉原) is an assault on the sense. That is the best way I could describe this mad district in central Tokyo. It is by many called ‘electric town’. A home to endless electronic stores selling gadgets and enticing ‘spend all your Yen’ Game Centres. It is also the place to be for Otaku goods, as well as visiting the cat or famous maid cafes.
An Akihabara Guide for beginners
Game centres in Akihabara, are multi floored buildings full of every kind of arcade game you can imagine. From grabber/crane games to dance dance revolution (remember them from the early 00’s?). The saga centre is only a few minutes walk from JR Akihabara Station Electric Town Exit and has everything you could want in an arcade. We spent slightly more than we should on grabber games! Thanks Matt for trying to win me an anime character with purple hair. Spoiler alert we didn’t win. So bring change or top up your Suica card and spend away.
The Akihabara area has so many cafes. These range from maid cafes, which I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about them, they’re a bit of strange phenomenon. Waitresses dressed as French maids, often young pretty girls, they’re aimed at teenage boys that are geeky and older leering men. So not my cup of tea.
Now a cat cafe. That is something I can get on board with. So as part of my true Japanese experience, I dragged a mildly allergic Matt to a cafe. Lets say you don’t go for the food. You pay buy the minuet so keep an eye on the time or it gets expensive very quickly. But you get to hang out with a bunch of kitties. Can you tell I was excited?
Cat Cafe Cost
- 200¥+tax per 10min (Compulsory)
- 350¥+tax for a drink (Compulsory)
- 500¥+tax for cat treats (Optional)
The drink was compulsory and you got a ticket on entry that was electronically barcoded. It was explained to us that you had to watch the time carefully and it started as soon as you paid. You had to change into and out of the supplied slippers and get your drink in this time. So all in all out of our 20min we spent around 15 with the cats. So for 2 people we paid £15.
Otaku “young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills.”. This from the stores I walked around seemed very true. The stores were jam packed with every kind of anime you could think of. Even down to the 18+ Hentai sections which was an experience to say the least.
You could buy everything from comic books to actual figurines of your favourite character. I knew it was a culture but I was surprised and intrigued to how intense it was. There was also a huge sections for card games, think Pokemon and the likes. You could spend 1000s on collectables form this genre.
There are lots of food options in Akihabara, from cheap ramen places to meat on a stick that comes in bag. So clearly beef on a stick cooked fresh in front of you on a hot griddle is the way to go for a snack. I wish I was hungry enough to try more food as that is one of my only regrets in Tokyo. More food please.