After the brilliant go-kart tour we were in Akihabara and ready to explore, knowing that there was a lot here to get around there was no time to waste deciding where to eat, so McDonalds being the nearest place won. Something quick was ideal in this scenario, plus they had WiFi so we could bring up maps and get an idea of the area.
Fuelled on food we were set and ready, having worked out a fairly efficient way around the area to maximize as much as possible! It was only just before 2pm, but we’d learnt our lesson at Nakano, and didn’t want to be having to sprint around trying to beat shop shutters again.
Heading out we hit the first few stores, they had a range of anime goods and electronics, but nothing special had jumped out so far. Moving on we headed into the smaller streets around the station area, a colourful area packed with people and full of posters, screens and signs everywhere.
This is where you realise the scale of Akihabara, we entered one tiny looking anime store and started to think that actually there’d be plenty of time to get around. Then discovered the tiny store had an escalator going up, then discovered it had 9 floors full of various other anime, manga and game stores!
We decided on the system of head to the top floor and work down clearing the place floor by floor. Inside the range of anime models and merchandise was crazy, so far the prices were more than those in Nakano, but the choice much larger. I suspect prices in Akihabara are inflated a little more than Nakano as it’s a slightly more known area with a lot more people around.
After clearing the first building we continued exploring the side streets on the station side of Akihabara, so many more shops with open fronts and display cases filled with various anime figures, a real collectors paradise! We’d for now decided to hold off on the arcades as it had become clear we likely wouldn’t get around everything.
More wandering around and admiring the amazing anime posters on buildings eventually led to the larger stores on the other side of the street, this is where things really go interesting. There were loads of video game stores, again with infinite ranges of modern and retro titles, and also large stores with hundreds of display cases packed with preowned anime goods at cheap prices.
Being relatively pressed for time any thoughts of taking photos actually went out of the window here as searching for cool anime goods took priority! The best single place was a large 5 floor building that was home to several different anime shops, on one of the upper floors there was a very large store with more display cases that I’d seen in my life! To buy things here you had to write the cabinet, shelf and item number down so you & the staff could find it again!
We both ended up with bags of anime goods, having each found cool things we wanted, though I do now wish I’d brought more! And predictably we were there till the stores closed! Just over 6 hours of shopping! (Really didn’t feel that long!) I’ve never spent that long shopping in my life! By this time the sun had long since vanished and Akihabara transformed into bright lights with lots of nightlife and bars.
This area also house the Square Enix Café, Gundam Café and AKB48 Café, though at this point we opted for just a quiet coffee shop to relax in while we tried to process all the events of the day, as ever since setting off in the go-karts at the start of the day we hadn’t really stopped. Akihabara really is an amazing place! And the shops with so many cool and rare anime models are just the best!
This was sadly my last night in Tokyo for this trip, but what a great last day an evening it had been! Below is my desk filled with my haul from Nakano and Akihabara, something I’ll no doubt expand on the next time I return there!
The next morning I had to head out at 5am to Narita airport for my flight back to the UK, via Seoul. I took the subway then the express Skyliner to the airport, only train I know with drink vending machines on it, then it was time for me to bid farewell to Japan once more, not going to lie I was actually a bit teary and had a little cry to myself, really not wanting to leave 😦
I’d been hoping I might see Mt Fuji from the plane as a last sight from Japan, but the flight went a lot further north than I was anticipating it would. On the plus side the transfer in Seoul this time didn’t involve a chaotic run across the airport, I had time to stop by Starbucks where they were actually still selling sakura lattes, but not realising the price it cost me over £7! Seoul airport is crazy expensive!
I was then asleep for pretty much the whole 12 hours back to the UK. After being back in the country for about an hour I was already hating it again. I’m actually going to beg here, if you have a company in Japan and can issue me a Certificate of Eligibility to get a work visa then please do!