With endless things to do in Akihabara, any traveller can easily get lost in the maze of electronics stores. Visiting the eclectic Akihabara district has become one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo, especially for manga fans and technology aficionados.
The Akihabara area has been undergoing a revitalization as well over the years, including a renovation and expansion of Akihabara Station. There’s now a business complex dedicated to promoting the area as a centre of global electronics.
You can explore the Tokyo Anime Center to discover the latest releases or browse 10 floors of toys and collectibles inside Radio Kaikan. While Akihabara is mostly known for modern consumer goods, it also has cultural sites, including a variety of shrines.
Not sure where to go in Akihabara? Begin scouting out what to do in Akihabara with this guide to the best Akihabara attractions…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Akihabara: Top attractions and best places to visit
- Shield your eyes from the bright neon lights in Electric Town
- Immerse yourself in anime culture with a stroll down Chuo Dori Street
- Receive exceptional customer service at a Maid Cafe
- Play classic video games at one of the many SEGA arcade buildings
- Step back in time at Kanda Myojin Shrine
- Collect souvenirs from the vending machines at Gachapon Kaikan
- Get a unique view of Akihabara via Go-Kart
- Best hotels in Akihabara: Where to stay for sightseeing
What to do in Akihabara: Top attractions and best places to visit
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 area. This part of the district is densely packed with towering skyscrapers and buildings.
Radio Kaikan and Mandarake are two of the most popular stores in Electric Town. Radio Kaikan is a massive red and yellow buildings 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 in Akihabara, you’ll come across Super Potato. It’s a retro arcade full of old video games from the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one of the best things to do in Akihabara.
At night, Electric Town becomes the centre of the nightlife scene in the district.
The neon lights help 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 find is Chuo Dori Street. It’s the main street and home to many anime and manga shops.
The main street includes billboards for the latest anime and manga titles. As you walk down the street, you’ll pass one department store after another.
Don’t skip the side streets. You’ll find smaller shops with interesting products catering to niche manga categories.
Along with anime and manga, the area includes all the latest technologies. Check out the newest tablets, video games, televisions, computers, cameras, and other electronic goods.
Receive exceptional customer service at a Maid Cafe
As Akihabara is the mecca of otaku culture, you’ll find a wide variety of Akihabara attractions related to anime and manga, including Maid Cafes.
The themed cafes include waitresses dressed as maids or waiters dressed as butlers. While the concept has eventually spread to other parts of Japan, Akihabara is the birthplace of the strange Maid Cafes.
For an authentic experience, visit Cure Maid Café. It’s considered the first of its kind. The cafe is open every day of the week, from about 11am to 7 or 8pm.
Located in the Isuzu Building, Mononopu is another popular cafe and one of the more interesting things to see in Akihabara. The cafe has 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 best places to visit in Akihabara include the arcades. SEGA owns quite a few arcades in the district, including one right on Chuo Dori Street.
The game centre includes classic SEGA titles. You can play 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 Streets of Rage or Sonic the Hedgehog.
The arcades hold various special events, including appearances from anime actors and 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 know where to go in Akihabara to get your cultural fix, visit Kanda Myojin Shrine. Built in the 10th century, the shrine is one of the oldest buildings in the area.
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-storey Torii gates marking the entrance to the shrine.
It’s not the biggest tourist attraction but locals frequent the spot. The shrine is open every day of the week and admission is free. You can explore the pavilion, the interesting roof designs, and the large Daikokuten statue.
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 are mostly related to anime and manga culture.
Inserting a few yen and watching the prize pop out of the machine is one of the top things to do & see in Akihabara even if you don’t intend on keeping the prize.
Gachapon Kaikan is the most popular place to collect the 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 choice when you want to know what to do in Akihabara for fun.
As you zip around the streets in the miniature vehicle, you’ll pass some of the top points of interest in Akihabara. To make the ride even more entertaining, consider wearing a costume.
Several companies offer go-kart rentals and tours. Most of the rentals include a guided tour and access to fun costumes. However, you can always 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.
Best hotels in Akihabara: Where to stay for sightseeing
Staying at one of the best hotels in Akihabara is the best way to spike your Akihabara sightseeing experience. Here are a few of the best places to stay in Akihabara to start your 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 centre 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 & restaurants of Akihabara.