With endless things to do in Akihabara, this eclectic district in the heart of Tokyo is a must for any traveler visiting Japan. With its maze of electronics stores, manga shops, and arcades, Akihabara has become one of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo, especially for anime fans and technology aficionados.
Explore the Tokyo Anime Center to discover the latest releases or browse ten floors of toys and collectibles inside Radio Kaikan. Take a trip down memory lane with some retro video games at the popular Sweet Potato arcade. When you’re down with shopping for modern consumer goods, dig into its cultural sites, including Kanda Myojin Shrine, one of the area’s few shrines.
Not sure where to go in Akihabara? Begin scouting out what to do on your vacation with this guide to the top Akihabara attractions!
Must-see places to visit in Akihabara
Shield your eyes from the bright neon lights in Electric Town
The top tourist attractions in Akihabara include the massive department stores and electronic shops in the Electric Town area. Located just steps from Akihabara Station, this part of the district is densely packed with towering skyscrapers and buildings hiding a variety of electronics stores and other boutique shops.
Radio Kaikan and Mandarake are two of the most popular stores in Electric Town. Radio Kaikan is a massive red and yellow building with multiple floors of toys and collectibles. Mandarake is a retail chain with even more manga and anime to browse.
Just down the street from Mandarake, you’ll come across Super Potato. This retro arcade is full of old video games from the late 1970s and early 1980s and is one of the coolest places to go in Akihabara if you’re looking for a dash of nostalgia.
At night, Electric Town becomes the center of the district’s nightlife scene, with the neon lights helping to illuminate the many clubs. If you visit on the weekend, you’ll likely find crowds of clubgoers dressed in cosplay outfits and listening to anime music.
Immerse yourself in anime culture with a stroll down Chuo Dori Street
When you first exit Akihabara Station, one of the first Akihabara points of interest that you’ll encounter is Chuo Dori Street. It’s the district’s main street and is home to loads of anime and manga shops.
Walking down Chuo Dori Street, you’ll pass one department store after another. The main street is also lit up with billboards promoting all the latest anime and manga titles.
Don’t skip the side streets around Chuo Dori, either. Wander off the main drag to find smaller shops with interesting products catering to niche manga categories.
Along with anime and manga, the area around Chuo Dori includes shops selling all the latest technologies. Check out the newest tablets, video games, televisions, computers, cameras, and other electronic goods at the electronics stores peppering the neighborhood.
Receive exceptional customer service at a Maid Cafe
As Akihabara is the mecca of otaku culture, you’ll find a wide variety of attractions related to anime and manga, including maid cafes. These themed cafes are famed for employing waitresses dressed as maids or waiters dressed as butlers. While this strange concept has now spread to other parts of Japan, Akihabara is the birthplace of the maid cafe.
For an authentic experience, visit Cure Maid Café, considered the first of its kind. The cafe is open every day of the week, from about 11 am to 7 or 8 pm.
Located in the Isuzu Building, Mononopu is another popular cafe in the area. The cafe shows off a traditional theme and serves alcoholic beverages.
Play classic video games at one of the many SEGA arcade buildings
Along with anime and maid cafes, some of the most popular places to visit in Akihabara include its arcades. SEGA owns quite a few arcades in the district, including one right on Chuo Dori Street.
The popular game center includes classic SEGA titles. Play all your old SEGA favorites on arcade machines or consoles with HD TVs. Most of the SEGA arcades also sell snacks and beverages, so you can fill up on junk food and soda as you play classic videos games like Streets of Rage or Sonic the Hedgehog.
The arcades hold various special events, including appearances from anime actors & actresses and popular Japanese idols. You may even win a prize after playing a game!
Step back in time at Kanda Myojin Shrine
If you want to get your cultural fix while in Akihabara, pay a visit to Kanda Myojin Shrine. Built in the 10th century, the shrine is one of the oldest buildings in the area and one of the neighborhood’s must-see destinations.
Also called Kanda Shrine, the cultural site provides a peaceful retreat from the crowded streets of Akihabara. As you pass the electronic shops in the area, you’ll eventually see the bluish-green two-story Torii gates marking the entrance to the shrine. Enter to explore the pavilion and marvel at the interesting roof designs and the large Daikokuten statue.
The shrine is not the area’s biggest tourist attraction, but locals frequent the spot. Kanda Myojin Shrine is open every day of the week, and admission is free.
Collect souvenirs from the vending machines at Gachapon Kaikan
Gachapon is a type of vending machine found in metro areas throughout Tokyo. During your Akihabara sightseeing tour, you’ll likely pass quite a few Gachapon machines.
Instead of dispensing food or beverages, the machines dispense various small toys. As you may imagine, the toys mostly relate to anime and manga culture. Even if you don’t intend to keep the price, inserting a few yen and watching the prize pop out of the machine is a must-do activity while in Akihabara.
Gachapon Kaikan is the most popular place to collect these small prizes. Each month, the store introduces 50 new prizes.
Get a unique view of Akihabara via Go-Kart
Inspired by Mario Kart, go-kart rentals have become a common activity when seeking out a little fun while exploring Akihabara. As you zip around the streets in the miniature vehicle, you’ll pass many of the top points of interest in Akihabara. To make the ride even more entertaining, you can even wear a costume with one of your favorite characters!
Several companies offer go-kart rentals and tours in the area. Most of the rentals include a guided tour and access to fun costumes. (You can also choose to wear your street clothes and drive around by yourself.)
Keep in mind that you need an international driver’s license and have to be over the age of 18. The go-karts must comply with the local road safety laws and regulations.
Recommended hotels in Akihabara for sightseeing
Staying at one of the best hotels in Akihabara is a great way to spice up your sightseeing experience. The area is home to loads of fantastic hotels and offers excellent value for central Tokyo. Here are a few popular places to stay in Akihabara to start your accommodations search…
- ICI Hotel Asakusabashi by RELIEF: Located off of the main streets of Akihabara, this budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms in a location well-placed to take on the top points of interest in Akihabara.
- Akihabara Washington Hotel: A quick walk to the center of Akihabara at Chuo-dori, this hotel features simple, cozy rooms that are a tad roomier than most of its Akihabara counterparts.
- Super Hotel Premier Akihabara: A recently built hotel with delightful modern furnishings set conveniently among the electronics shops and restaurants of Akihabara.