Akihabara, Tokyo

Saturday 27 Sep 2008 12:57
Tokyo Travels

My first day in Tokyo and after checking into the hotel we immediately went to Akihabara as D forgot his laptop charger. Akihabara (or Electric Town) is the geeky tech area of Tokyo filled with electronic stalls, video arcades, comic book and anime stores. Getting around Tokyo is easy and cheap. A central circle line gives subway access to most places with joining lines taking you further out. Travel is cheap, for example from the hotel to Akihabara in one direction is just 80p. Harajuku in the opposite direction is about the same. Its about 10p per minute of travel.

We immediately got the charger sorted for the laptop, finding one down an alley full of electronic component stalls. We then spent the next few hours checking out the street-life and shops.

Akihabara as we entered

Akihabara (famous view)

Alley of electronics stalls

Outside one store a actress (likely a voice over artist for an anime show) was signing autographs for fans. Across the same road a girl in uniform was singing, dancing and promoting one of the stores. She was more than happy to pose for photos.

In our few hours we barely touched Akihabara but still saw so much. We entered multi-storey shops, each floor full of comic books, dvds, posters, figurines, models and all sorts of anime merchandise. Its worth noting that each floor is often a different shop to the one below even though its not obvious. Also there were rooms full of capsule vending machines for various items, usually figurines or toys.

Idol signing autographs

Girl promos shop

Room full of
capsule machines

Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna

We also entered several video arcades housing the most awesome games. Many featured multi-player games with sets of machines linked. One seemed to be like an MMORPG. Some used trading cards to activate by laying the cards down to play. Perhaps most impressive Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna (Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield) with P.O.D. (Panoramic Optical Display) where up to 16 players sit in separate pods with panoramic screens and fight out battles in mech warrior robots. A central display shows outsiders a video of the action.