TOKYO p.3 / Akihabara / Nakano Broadway
(Article updated to 2020)
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and is a must for every time you visit the Rising Sun. It is a megalopolis that boasts over 10 million inhabitants and is always in evolution: for this reason you never stop discovering it and every time you go back you always notice something different and new. This wonderful city is the hub of Japan because it encompasses all aspects of the whole country in its iconic neighborhoods. In Tokyo you must necessarily go back in time: explaining the emotions that this city manages to give is not possible, you have to live them. Only those who have been there can understand it. As a minimum stay, I recommend staying no less than a week: Tokyo should also be turned on foot, admired in its alleys and glimpses. You can't do a hit and run, it wouldn't make any sense, especially if it's your first time here.
Information before leaving, how to get there, how to move, where to stay here.
Akihabara, otherwise called "electric city" or more simply Akiba, is a very vast and singular district of Tokyo because it is probably the largest conglomerate in the world of stores dedicated to electronics, video games, manga and anime. Its name also derives from the fact that immediately after the Second World War in this area the black market of electronic objects developed, such as electric cables and light bulbs.
Over time, the area developed rapidly: the first refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines appeared here. In the 70s it became a real point of reference which was consolidated definitively in the 90s with the sale of watches, video games and computers. With the advent of the new millennium, accessories for cosplay and action figures have depopulated. Today it represents an essential destination. What makes this neighborhood even more interesting is that the oldest and most historic shops have remained unchanged. They are obviously accompanied by the most recent ones that offer the latest news for the otaku. Stroll through Chuo Dori and let yourself be fascinated by this extraordinary technological world, full of sound and visual stimuli.
WHAT TO SEE
YODOBASHI AKIBA It is one of the branches of Yodobashi Camera, a large Japanese electronics chain specializing in computers and cameras. This venue is the largest in Japan and truly offers everything from video games to household appliances, passing through the music sector (fans of stereo systems will be amazed). [opening 9:20 am - 10 pm, address: 1-1 Kanda Hanaoka-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo]
ANIMATE It is a large chain that opened its first store in Ikebukuro. Today there are more than 30 stores in Japan and all offer the latest news regarding anime and manga. It is therefore not a point of reference for fans of the great glories of the past, but only for those who want to be on the piece on the latest titles released on the market.[opening 10 am - 9 pm, address: 4 Chome-3-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021]
MANDARAKE This is my favorite chain of stores (the best-stocked stores, however, in my point of view, are Shibuya and Nakano Broadway) for what concerns collectibles and artbooks. Calling itself the largest anime and manga shop in the world, here in fact you will have a lot of time to devote to finding your favorite titles. Specifically, the Akiba shop is spread over five floors, each dedicated to a specific topic (manga, doujinshi, anime, video games, cosplay, yaoi). [opening 12 pm - 9 pm, address: 3 Chome-11-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021]
LIBERTY If you are looking for action figures and don't want to spend a madness, then this shop is for you. There are eight locations in Akiba, so as you walk from shop to shop, take a look around to grab some really convenient pieces.
SUPER POTATO My favorite shop for video games, especially those from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Entering Super Potato means passing through a space-time door: here you will find the video games and consoles that made you dream. You can buy titles for Play Station 1 or the Game Boy, this is the dream shop. On the top floor there is also a small museum of video games, where a real game room has been recreated where you can have fun with Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat or Super Mario. To say the least unmissable. [opening 11 am - 10 pm, address: 1 Chome-11-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021]
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
The Akihabara district is not known for restaurants, so this is not the right place if you are looking for something particularly refined. My advice is to treat yourself to a quick snack, after all if you are here it is because you are shopping. Obviously there is no lack of choice, but don't expect unexpected restaurants unless your choice falls on the maid cafes.
KASUGATEI AKIHABARA Ramen bar but not only. Here you can enjoy excellent abura soba but also a series of homemade dishes in a lunch set format. Perfect for a hearty and tasty meal in the heart of Akihabara. [opening 11 am - 11 pm, website, address: 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Sotokanda, 3 Chome − 1−12 大石 ビ ル 1F]
FUKUSHIYAMA AKIHABARA Modern and design supermarket offering a great variety of super fresh quality food. Here you can buy an excellent packed lunch to be eaten on site (there are tables and chairs both inside and outside). The choice is quite varied: sushi, sashimi, bento boxes but also fresh fruit smoothies and vegetable. [opening 10 am- 10 pm, website, address: 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Sotokanda, 4 Chome − 14−1 秋葉原 UDX1F]
MAID CAFE' The maid café is a bar where young girls dressed as very nice waitresses serve. In these places you can eat both salty and sweet products, all accompanied by a song sung by the girls. Over the years a real culture of this kind has been created, so once in a lifetime it is worth having this experience. In Akiba there are many and all more or less equal.
PABLO MINI Pablo is a chain that opened for the first time in Osaka and that has also landed in Tokyo. Specialized in sweet tartlets with cheese, this kiosk has opened in a "mini" version also in Akihabara, where it sells the famous cakes in reduced and walking version. Really excellent! [opening 11 am - 9 pm, address: 1 Chome-15-8 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021]
If you do not want to immerse yourself in the crowd of Akihabara but you do not want to give up shopping then you cannot miss the world of Nakano Broadway for any reason, a large building that houses many shops that sell material for really niche otaku. Here I did perhaps the best shopping for books and items related to cosplay. It is no coincidence that the largest Mandarake location is right here.
In my opinion it is one of the best sites ever for fans of the genre.
[opening 11 am - 8 pm, address: 5 Chome-52 Nakano, Nakano City, Tokyo 164-0001]