Japan has a world-renowned reputation when it comes to technology. For many years it has been seen as a leader in the development of everything from video games, apps and devices, to electronic components and other areas of the electrical industry. Within central Tokyo lies Akihabara, a district that has become known as the capital’s premier district for all things tech, with the nickname of ‘Electric Town’. Bright lights, hundreds of electronic shops and manga/anima stores make this a vibrant area.
Head to Yodobashi Electronics
The Yodabashi Camera complex is possibly the largest electronics shop in the world. It opened its gigantic Akihabara branch in 2005 on the east side of the station, which is the opposite side to where most other electronic shops are based, so it can be easy to miss despite its size. This is a discount electronic store which has everything from computers and video games to cameras, watches and specific electronic components all under one roof. Plus, you can find tax free and international models.
Visit the Independent Sellers
If you’re after something in particular or just want a more traditional experience, head down one of the many side streets in Akihabara. This is where you’ll find one-man stalls that specialise in particular electronic parts. It’s also a good bet to stumble across a bargain second-hand device, video game or part, and there can be some great jewels in amongst all the junk.
Play the Arcades
Gaming culture is a big thing in Japan, so of course there’s plenty to see, buy and play in Akihabara Electric Town. SEGA has a large arcade that’s not far from the station and easy to spot given the big red building with its logo plastered on the side. TAITO’s Hey is home to many retro arcade machines and open until midnight daily. While if you’re new to gaming then Tokyo Leisure Land may be best, as it has lots of games with instruments which are often easier for beginners.
Take a Trip to Akihabara Crossfield
In order to further its claim to be the world capital for electronics and technology, the Akihabara Crossfield complex opened its doors. Consisting of two big buildings, with shops and restaurants below, the upper floors are full of offices, conference space and showrooms. The information centre is open from 11am to 5.30pm every day except Monday and offers something for the more business minded traveller.
There’s lots more to explore in Akihabara but for a tech fanatic these few places will make a good start.