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Akihabara Neighborhood | Colorful Otaku Culture in Tokyo

Akihabara is a frenetic Tokyo neighborhood where Japanese art, Otaku culture and electronics collide in a melange of sight and sound.

Break Time in the Akihabara neighborhood in Tokyo Japan
Break Time

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 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.

Colorful Building near the Akihabara Train Station in Tokyo Japan
Colorful Building near Akihabara Train Station
Colorful Akihabara Street Art in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Colorful Akihabara Street Art
Colorful Akihabara Street Mural in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
More Colorful Akihabara Street Art
Akihabara People Watching in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
You never know what you see when you walk on the Akihabara streets.

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.

Akihabara Street Scene in Tokyo Japan
Akihabara Street Scene

Otaku Culture

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.

Kitsch for Sale in Tokyo Japan
Kitsch for Sale
3D Manga for Sale in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
3D Manga for Sale
Collectibles for Sale in Tokyo Japan- Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Akihabara Collectibles
Godzillas in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Blast from the Past in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Blast from the Past in Akihabara
Heads for Sale in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Wigs for Sale in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture

Maid Cafes

Maids Hiding their Faces in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Maids Hiding their Faces

The neighborhood is known for the maid cafes where you can get some entertainment with your snack. We have mixed views about the maids.

Maid Caught in the Action in Tokyo Japan - Akihabara and Otaku Culture
Maid Caught in the Action

Are they cute and fun OR sexualized and creepy? You decide. Either way, the maids certainly add character to the neighborhood.

Recommended Hotel in Akihabara

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.

Hoel Dormy Inn Akihabara in Tokyo Japan
Hotel Dormy Inn Akihabara

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.

Rooftop Onsen at the Hotel Dormy Akihabara in Tokyo Japan
Wonderful Rooftop Onsen at the Hotel Dormy Inn

Click here to find a great rate for Dormy Inn Akihabara.

Click here to research the best rates for additional hotels in Tokyo.

Or, if you want access to a kitchen, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan in Tokyo Japan
Mindi is all smiles as she shops at 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan in the Akihabara neighborhood.

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.

Stay Connected in Tokyo

You’ll want WiFi on the go for mapping, translating menus and posting Instagram stories. Click here to arrange a pocket WiFi unit that you can pick up at the airport.

The pocket WiFi is a great option if your mobile phone is locked and you want to stay connected. Click here to arrange a SIM card if your phone is unlocked.

Hungry for Ramen in Tokyo?

Check out our article about Tokyo’s Ramen Street.

Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

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 and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.


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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Great blog , interesting,inquisitive, informative. As a Japanese I’m glad you like the stay.

One thing you did it wrong is that “Godzilla “ is actually “Red King” imaginative creature from Tsburaya production that created Godzilla incidentally.

I hope you will be back to Japan after this chaotic and crazy COVID-19 mayhem end. Arigatou!


Thursday 3rd of August 2017

The picture labeled 3D manga the thing pictured there is mouse pad with a wrist pillow being the love pillows.

Kisa Johnson

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

I'm so jealous of people who have managed to make it to Japan! I've been wanting to go for 19 years and still haven't... Someday though, I'll go!