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Capsule Hotel photo
Capsule Hotel

Capsule Hotels go upscale in Akihabara

This is so worth the claustrophobia!
Jul 11
// Soul Tsukino
A new hotel in the trendy area of Akihabara is taking the idea of the capsule hotel to an all new level of luxury. While capsule hotels are known as low priced, cramped, one night layovers for drunks and tired salarymen. That image may change with the opening of the Anshin Oyado Luxury Capsule Hotel.
BlazBlue photo

Girl Fight: Akiba holds ladies-only BlazBlue tournament

Sorry boys!
Feb 15
// Amber Hunt
On February 10th, there was a tournament for the game BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma in e-Sports Square Akihabara. However, this contest was different from a normal one. The BlazBlue tournament was all girls. That's right, n...
Akihabara photo

Akiba's Radio Market to shut down tomorrow

Truly and end of an era
Nov 29
// Hiroko Yamamura
Long before Moe infected the alleys of Akihabara, it was known best for one thing, Electronics. Not many places captured the spirit of Akiba quite like the Radio Market. I'm sure most who have made the pilgrimage, are familia...
Akiba's Trip 2 photo
Akiba's Trip 2

More Akiba's Trip 2 than you ever knew you wanted

Or 'wanted', period.
Nov 11
// Josh Tolentino
Seriously, there is a ridiculous amount of footage here courtesy of Japanese Youtuber GameEmpireHD, captured for your benefit (and presumably his ad revenue). These more than 75 minutes of collected play from Acquire's ... photo
Lots of giggling girls
The fun loving group of was kind enough to sit down with me and chat about some of the things that they like. I will warn you right now, the audio does peak when these girls get going. So if you have your speak...

Daily Japan Photo photo
Daily Japan Photo

Kristina's Summer Vacation: #18 - Akiba

Roaming the streets
Aug 18
// Kristina Pino
Today, I spent a few hours wandering about Akihabara. Since it's Sunday, the main electric district area is closed to vehicle traffic from 1-6 p.m., so everyone is free to roam safely up and down the street. A friend tells me...
Father's Day x Yotsuba photo
Father's Day x Yotsuba

Celebrate Father's Day with Pants Man!

Yotsuba's greatest superhero celebrates fatherhood
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! And if you (or your dad, for that matter) happens to be a fan of father-and-daughter manga Yotsuba&!, Kotobukiya has a treat in store at their Akihabara branch. Anyone picking...

Get a feel for the BD/DVD release of Senran Kagura

Ads with boobs sell
Jan 31
// Josh Totman
There is only one way that the Senran Kagura series could be advertised in Akihabara for the BD/DVD release and that is with oppai standees. Three of the main girls of the series, Ikaruga, Asuka, and Hibari got the 3D op...

Char's hot curry brings all the space girls to the yard

Mar 20
// Kristina Pino
Blond space loli magnet Char Aznable lives on in Gundam Cafe's spicy red hot curry. With curry that is advertised as being as antagonizing as Char is as a villain, and called Char Zaku Curry to even match the color of his ste...

Visit Nene, Manaka or Rinko at 7-Elevens in Akihabara

Feb 08
// Kristina Pino
If you happen to be around Akihabara from Valentine's day (Feb.14) through Feb. 29 this year, you're in luck! Now you could take your Love Plus girlfriend on a date from your device to 7-Eleven via their download service 7-sp...

Idols x Instant Ramen x Akihabara

Jan 24
// Chris Walden
I imagine there are a few of you out there that, for one reason or another, put up with the monotonous and wearisome preparation required for making instant ramen. Pouring hot water, only to have to wait patiently for three m...

JapanaTour: Akihabara part two

Jan 05 // Chris Walden
Where better to start than the firm favourite of newtypes from across the globe? The Gundam Café certainly isn't going to be a place you'll walk past without realising! The exterior looks like it could be a part of the White Base, while the interior contains flat-screen TV's, Gundam statues and a good amount of themed merchandise. Haro takes pride of place on the bar, where they serve a surprisingly large list of cocktails. I went for the Ramba Ral myself! The whole café is kitted out with neon lights too, so it really feels like you've been whisked away from Akihabara. To get a seat, you have to wait outside and be shown to a table when one becomes available. You should notice the queues when you arrive, as it's very rarely a quiet place to stop!  Professional Tip #1 A little peckish, near the Gundam Café and don't fancy eating inside? No problem! To the right of the doors to the adjacent Gundam shop, there is a small window in which you can purchase Gundam shaped taiyaki! The machine to the right of that window is where you will pay and receive a voucher to hand in and claim your food. Fillings include ham and cheese, custard and red bean paste, plus the machine is labelled in English. Delicious! You will be looking at spending between ¥800 and ¥1500 for the food alone if you want to eat here, and while the food itself isn't spectacular, the experience sure is. I picked the 'Char-Zaku Curry Rice', because it was red, and boy was it hot. It had a warning on the menu, and even the lady at the till pointed it out just in case I hadn't seen it, but you've got to go all out at times like this! Perhaps I was channelling the spirit of Char himself, or it could be because I'm a fan of hot food, but spice aside, it was a really nice curry! There are of course some less flammable choices on the menu, but just bear in mind that the portions shown in the pictures are exactly what you'll be getting. If you are absolutely starving, I'd avoid coming here as a first choice. Oh, be sure to check out the bathroom while you are here! You'll be in for a treat! Here's a very recent addition to the already plentiful Akihabara cafés, and it gets absolutely no complaints from me! This didn't exist when I last visited Japan, though I did venture out to the middle of nowhere to visit the original Good Smile Café. If you aren't already aware, the café regularly changes its theme every few months, giving people like us more of a reason to make a return visit. It was a Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica theme back in July, but I believe the current theme for the Akihabara café is Type-Moon. You'll have to look up the theme before you go, which you can do by checking their website. This café can be found hidden up on the fifth floor of the Akiba Culture Zone building, which looks like this.  Professional Tip #2 Don't feel like you are obliged to eat a full meal! A lot of people will come to these cafés to buy a drink and/or a dessert, so if you don't fancy it, just go for a snack! Sure, you could go elsewhere for a cheaper price, but where's the fun in that? With the menus changing frequently, it's hard to really recommend any food in particular. However, chances are you can find a meal shaped like a character (see the header image if you somehow missed it) and start to do creative things to it. I was told to never play with my food, but I figured this was as good a time as any to rebel. It is worth pointing out that it isn't just the food that changes with the themes, as the entire café will be plastered in relevant merchandise. The Madoka café in particular had early sketches, cut outs and figurines that really spruced the place up. Oh, and that one witch.  There is also the very recent AKB48 café, which has opened up literally next door to the Gundam Café. This place also didn't exist when I last visited, so I can't really speak for its menu, but I imagine they've really pushed the boat out for it. Perhaps the members that aren't doing so well end up here... Moving on. If you want to really fill yourself up for a good price, then I can't recommend Go!Go!Curry! enough. The queues can be fairly long as it's a very popular place to eat, but it's completely worth it for the huge portions of curry and large selections of meats to go inside it. Of course, if you can't seem to adapt to the Japanese cuisine, there is also a KFC somewhere. Try to be adventurous though! Now, I can't really touch on food without mentioning the infamous maid cafés! There are a frightening number of the places in Akihabara, and you only have to look around the streets to see girls handing out fliers for their respective workplaces. They aren't my cup to tea unfortunately, but I will tell you about the three I find most interesting! The very first of its kind, 'Cure Maid Café' started the phenomenon and is still going strong. The maids here are very much the traditional style maids, so you won't be seeing any short skirts! 'Cos-cha' is the second on my list, which features their maids in a huge variety of different costumes. I hear they are also famous for their 'school swimsuit' days, and offer a 'spoon feeding' service for a mere ¥500! The final café is 'Nagomi', which focuses on 'little sister' maids. Apparently they can be really nice, but some will act tsundere and cry when you try and leave. I'm sure this will appeal to someone reading this!  Professional Tip #3 'Popopure' gets an honourable mention, as they have a few English-speaking maids. If you don't think you can handle the real deal, you may want to check this place out! There are a lot of stalls and shops where you can get snacks if you aren't feeling up to a full meal, besides those I've mentioned before. Mister Donut sells plenty of dough-based goodies that'll surely satisfy your sweet tooth, and there are a few crepe stands too. Failing all of that, you could always pop into a convenience store and pick up some onigiri! That brings us to a close, so I hope you enjoyed this second look into the world of Akihabara and it's fabulous foodstuffs. If you want to write about your own experiences, have any further questions or even have some tips of your own, leave them in the comments below! 

Welcome back to JapanaTour, the series of articles that are created by mashing my fingers on a keyboard until something half legible appears. Raising the bar, folks!  It's time for a second trip into the otaku wonderland...

JapanaTour: Akihabara part one

Nov 24 // Chris Walden
It seems that Japan just can't catch a break, with early Akihabara not being an exception. Way back in 1869, the area which would later become the famous electric town was engulfed in a blaze, absolutely decimating everything in the surrounding area. It wouldn't be until 1936 that Akihabara would become renown for it's electrical supplies. It seems that being an electric town isn't all plain sailing, as Akihabara was constantly competing with Nipponbashi in Osaka to be recognised as the best place for electrical goods. Strange considering the distance between the two, but it only made the places improve quicker. Skip forward to the 90's, where the video game boom started to take over Akihabara, introducing these strange creatures known as otaku. The games helped usher in anime goods and other related merchandise, such as manga, dojinshi and cosplay. That is the extremely concise, otaku-biased overview of the history of Akihabara! Fun fact time! Did you know that Akihabara literally means 'field of Autumn leaves'? A little ironic really! Remember in last weeks post I said that travel was simple? Well, so is getting to Akihabara! While there are many lines that pass through Akihabara, you will be able to reach it via the Yamanote line regardless of if you are in Shinjuku or Tokyo Station. Tokyo gets the better end of the bargain being so close! From JR Shinjuku Station (approximately 18 minutes via the Yamanote line) From JR Tōkyō Station (approximately 3 minutes via the Yamanote line) When you arrive, you will want to look for the 'Akihabara Electric Town' exit. It might be worth writing that one down, in case you forget or something. You'll know you are going the right way when you start bumping into anime and video game posters everywhere! When you emerge from the station, you'll be greeted with a view similar to this: Aside from the huge variety of different otaku-centric shops, it is worth checking out the Tokyo Anime Centre while you are in the area. You'll find it tucked away on the fourth floor of the UDX building, which you may or may not find with the following shoddy directions! As you head out of Akihabara station towards the electric town exit, take the right exit. Now stop and take a look into the distance, you'll see some modern looking skyscrapers. You want to head towards the one that is the second closest to you. Ignore the closest one! The Tokyo Animation Centre has a lot of information, showings and exhibits for both Japanese and Western visitors alike, but best of all you can sometimes witness some recording sessions! Did I mention it was free? They also sell souvenirs and other merchandise if you feel guilty for not paying!   If, for some bizarre reason, you only have one day to visit Akihabara, be sure to aim for a Sunday! Every Sunday, the roads that travel through the electric town are closed off, so cosplayers, street performers and who knows what else descend! It's certainly a spectacle, plus the bonus of not having to watch out for passing cars while skipping gleefully down the pavements with bags full of nendoroids also has its benefits. Remember to bring your camera, but be considerate!  Fun fact time! Did you know that even though I'm not focusing on them, there are indeed a huge amount of electrical goods shops? They're not all otaku related, but if you love building computers or fancy having one built for you, this is a good place to go! Akihabara is full of what you could call 'general' stores. They sell a little bit of everything, but of course I'm limiting the products to otaku goods, so I'm not about to start listing why Lawson is awesome. There are two major shops that fall into this category, and those are Animate and Gamers. Anime, manga, video games, merchandise. If you're after something that has just recently come out, these are the places to check out. They have about 7 or so different floors, which may sound rather spacious, but you'll be sharing the space with a lot of other customers. It may sound silly, but if you have a fear of crowds, being cramped or anything like that, it's worth assessing the situation a little first!  K-Books are also a good store to check out. While you could take a guess as to what they sell by their name, they also sell dojinshi that you may not necessarily find elsewhere. They sell the usual merchandise as well, on a lesser scale, but also carry a lot more adult themed items. Just remember that before you end up with more than you bargained for! This is where you'll be able to pick up your Gundam hugging pillows though.  (Disclaimer: K-Books, Akihabara and Japan may not have Gundam hugging pillows) For the duelists amongst us, there is a haven known as Yellow Submarine. Other than having a damn awesome name, they sell a lot of different types of trading cards. Of course, this may not be appealing to you if you don't want to spend the time to work out the rules via google translate, but you can in some instances find English language games. The popular card game Weiss Schwarz even released a Disgaea themed English language deck, so that is a start if you fancy getting into that game! I picked a set up myself for about ¥500. Bargain! However, this isn't all that there is to this place. I mentioned them back in the Nakano article, but Yellow Submarine has a few floors dedicated to housing glass cabinets that people can rent and sell their anime related goods. These are great for finding some rarities, as well as the occasional bargain. It's always worth shopping around though, you will usually find things like arcade-exclusive figures cheaper elsewhere. There is also the massive 8-storey Mandarake to invade! DVDs, video games, figurines, gachapon, cosplay. Mandarake sell the lot! Just remember it's all second hand, and while it's not usually a problem, you may find boxes a little scuffed and potentially pieces missing from sets. Be sure to check the box covers for additional stickers, as while you may not understand what is missing, you will know that something is missing and you can continue to shop around. This is only the case with a few items, but it is worth keeping in mind! Fun fact time! Did you know that Akihabara is packed full of duty free shops? If you are worried about getting lynched by customs on the trip back, it could be worth checking these out when hunting for souvenirs!  "But Chris, I'm not that kind of otaku! I just love playing video games!" Well now, do I have something that'll give you an appetite! It's a Super Potato! Rather this one is a shop, not one of those newfangled vegetable things. If retro gaming is something you are interested in, then this is going to be heaven! Super Potato has about three floors dedicated to consoles dating further back than the Famicom and all the way up to the Playstation 1. They sell a ridiculous number of games, some extremely rare, but mostly at great prices. Hardware and software, they have got you covered! If you want some game related merchandise, this is also a good place to browse, though it does seem to be mostly Nintendo items. On the top floor is where things get interesting! There are loads of retro gaming cabinets, complete with a vending machine, a manga corner and of course, the throne made from famicom games. Sitting in that thing is a highlight in itself! Unfortunately on my last trip in August the throne was actually broken, but I don't doubt they will fix it up soon enough.  The last place that I'll be talking about in the first part of what seems to be an up-and-coming epic is the fantastic Gachapon Kaikan. On the ground floor you will be greeted by walls of gachapon machines, all of them tempting you to continually feed the change machine with your ¥1000 notes. They aren't all anime related though, with a lot of them to do with superhero shows, tv personalities and just plain odd things. They even have a dark corner at the back for... you know... more detailed gachapon. On the next few floors they sell a lot of anime related merchandise like t-shirts, figures and other things. At the very top is another glass cabinet sales area, in case Yellow Submarine wasn't enough for you!  That brings us to a close, so I hope you enjoyed this quick look into the world of Akihabara and its electric glory. If you want to write about your experiences, have any further questions or even have some tips of your own, leave them in the comments below! 

Welcome back to JapanaTour, the series of articles that makes me spend more time thinking of a witty opening line than actually writing meaningful words! This week, it seems I have the daunting task of describing Akihabara, t...


The choice of Steins Gate is for buildings to do cosplay

Oct 29
// Josh Tolentino
Others might tell you that the mysterious object that "crashed" into the Akihabara Radio Building was merely an elaborate promotion for conspiracy time-travel anime Steins;Gate. Others would tell you that the "promotion" invo...

Hmmmm: Akiba's stabbing rampage going filmic

Oct 18
// Josh Tolentino
In July of 2008, Tomohiro Kato ran a truck into the crowded streets of Akihabara on one of its "foot traffic only" days, killing three people and injuring two. He then exited the vehicle and proceeded to stab a dozen random p...

Senran Kagura gets new PR group, lots of details emerge

Jul 04
// Tyler Jones
Yesterday's press conference from Marvelous Entertainment brought much news to light on the upcoming 3DS bouncy ninja game Senran Kagura. The first is of the formation of a PR group made of five girls, who each represent a ch...

Acquire's underwear game is Akiba's Trip, a vampire game

Jan 23
// Josh Tolentino
Quirky Japanese dev Acquire, responsible for the likes of Way of the Samurai and the decent portions of Tenchu, has just revealed its newest PlayStation Portable game: Akiba's Trip. It had been teasing the game earlier with m...

Acquire wants you to guess what's up with these boxers

Jan 02
// Josh Tolentino
Because they're just lying right in the middle of Akihabara's main road (and in all kinds of other places), and Acquire took the trouble of photographing them and setting up a teaser site and twitter widget that allows you to...

Akihabara has pedestrian streets again after two years

Dec 16
// Bob Muir
Akihabara, the geek haven of Tokyo, used to close its streets on Sundays, keeping cars out so pedestrians could have free run of the place. There were plenty of shoppers, cosplayers, street vendors, and performers making it a...

Need another excuse to go to Akiba? Ok, duty-free items!

Nov 23
// Pedro Cortes
If there's one place anime fans need to go when visiting Tokyo, it's the Akihabara district. Even if you don't end up buying anything when you're there, the sheer audacity of the place is worth see. It's quite the spectacle, ...

Video: Nonsensical fun in Akibahara's Don Quijote

Sep 14
// Dale North
Crazy discount goods store Don Quijote (or Donki, as the kids here say) is a lot of fun to run around in and...well, laugh at. Tim and I did just that this weekend, and we brought a video camera so that the Japanese shoppers ...

Japanator TGS week update

Sep 13
// Tim Sheehy
We've been here in Japan for several days now, dying from the heat, but we haven't forgot about you. We've just been really busy running from one end of the city to the next. Now that TGS is only a few days away, we're really...

Boys Love bar in Akiba does 'this and that' for customers

Jun 03
// Dale North
A BL bar called "Miracle Jump" is now open in Akibahara. A press release from the joint says that your servers are boys that are "doing this and that to create delusions in front of customers." I don't kno...

Akihabara gets back to car-free Sundays again

May 25
// Dale North
Remember how Akihabara used to close its streets off to cars on Sundays, leaving them open for cosplayers and shoppers to freely stroll? Those were good times, and they provided ample opportunity for me to snap shots like the...

Twitter on the sh*tter gets man some toilet paper

May 17
// Dale North
Don't act like you don't check your Twitter feed on the toilet! I know you do. I was reading the other day that the mobile phone is the dirtiest thing in your home. That's probably why. One guy was doing his duty in one of my...

Nanami Madobe's Windows 7 CM gets you to build your PC

May 08
// Josh Tolentino
The time has come for you to build your very own Windows 7-powered PC!Why? Because an officially endorsed Microsoft moe mascot told you to, that's why. She will brook no dissent! Besides, it's super easy, according to "N...

Microsoft plans on hosting a gaming festival Akihabara

May 07
// Tim Sheehy
Despite being unable to outsell any of its competitors, Microsoft hasn't given up on the Japanese market just yet. Later this month, Microsoft plans on hosting a demo event to show off some of their upcoming releases. The eve...

Stride marketing stunt terrifies Akiba, summons the cops

May 06
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, so-called "guerrilla marketing" stunts. When they're good, you love 'em, and when they aren't, you curse 'em to the very depths of the underground. In worst case scenarios, even The Man can end up getting involv...

Akiba cafe gets its tech on; mecha designers welcome

May 03
// Tim Sheehy
I have to wonder how many of you have experience with electronics. I'm not talking about just owning them -- I can't even count how many devices I have cluttering my office -- but actually taking them apart and...

Akihabara's Gundam Cafe looks pretty f'n sweet

Apr 22
// Dale North
On this coming Saturday, Bandai's Gundam Cafe is supposed to open in Akihabara. I've gotta see this! Thankfully the folks at Akihabara News got in early to check it out. It turns out that it's pretty damned nice looking! It's...

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