Akihabara is a frenetic Tokyo neighborhood where Japanese art, Otaku culture and electronics collide in a melange of sight and sound.
We interrupt our culinary tour of Tokyo for a brief break – an intermezzo if you will. By now, you’ve digested the first two courses of our Japanese epicurean odyssey. So, we want to give you a brief break from the food photos so that you didn’t get too full too quickly.
When eating so much great food while traveling, it is highly beneficial to let some of that awesome Japanese food digest while taking in the sights and sounds. Plus, you can see so much while on foot, both at eye level and by looking up.
Tokyo’s Akihabara District
A great place to walk around and absorb the sights and sounds is Tokyo’s Akihabara district. Just two stops from Tokyo Station, Akihabara is a neighborhood known for its electronic superstores. There’s a reason that it’s known as Electric Town, but the neighborhood is so much more.
You could say that Akihabara is the world capital of geek boy culture. The neighborhood provides a one-stop shopping experience where a teenage boy could buy a whole bunch of anime videos and manga comic books along with the audio-visual system to watch them on while fantasizing about the scantily clad maids who inhabit the streetscape.
The Otaku culture which encompasses those forms breathes Akihabara with life. There is kitsch everywhere from the multi-story stores like the Mandarake Complex to the storefronts with touts hawking their wares.
The neighborhood is known for the maid cafes where you can get some entertainment with your snack. We have mixed views about the maids.
Are they cute and fun OR sexualized and creepy? You decide. Either way, the maids certainly add character to the neighborhood.
Akihabara Hotel Recommendation
Akihabara is a great neighborhood if you’re wondering where to stay in Tokyo. Beyond its shopping and entertainment options, the neighborhood has lots of restaurants and is accessible to multiple metro and train lines.
We stayed at the Dormy Inn Akihabara during our first visit to Japan. This hotel was a perfect spot for us – conveniently located, modern room and a wonderful rooftop onsen with indoor and outdoor hot springs and saunas available all day and night.
As an added bonus, this hotel is less than a block away from 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan, a fun shopping area under the JR train tracks. It’s a great place to shop for locally made crafts and also to buy earrings.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: April 26, 2013