Akihabara is the Anime Capital of the world! With all the anime, manga, and rare figures you could want, plus loads of maid cafe’s and cosplayers, this is truly an Otaku’s dream land!
Quick Video Tour of Akihabara
Above is a quick intro video showing some of the sights to behold in Akihabara.
5. Go Figure Hunting
There are some very massive, multistory figure shops in the center of Akiharaba. It’s very hard to miss some of these shops because they are massive and just right outside the train station.
There is a very good chance that you will find your favorite anime character.
Some shops, you can literally go through 5 or more stories of displays like this! I had to make multiple runs though the stores just to find a few characters I was looking for.
How to shop at figure stores
It may seem like a surprise, but there is actually a process to shopping at these types of shops.
A lot of the people working at these stores usually won’t be of any help in finding your character. It seems like the workers here are neither interested nor actually know how the displays are actually organized! You will have to go through these shops, find the figure you want and note the # of the display case, as well as the # on the figure itself.
The first thing you should do when entering these shops is to head to the front counter and grab a form from the shop. This form has places for you to take note of the shelf number and item number. It’s similar to shopping at Ikea except everything you can buy is right in front of you, there is not hidden back storage!
By the way, I have been able to snatch some figures for a pretty good deal here compared to online prices!
4. Visit a Cafe
Whether it’s a Maid Cafe or an Owl Cafe, there’s lots of different themed cafes in Akihabara (Mostly maid related).
As you walk the streets of Akihabara, you will see many girls in different themed outfits standing around trying to lure you into their cafe. Rain or shine, they are going to be on duty to try to reel you in and spend money on overpriced tea and biscuits.
Tip: If you can’t speak Japanese, the Maid (or girly themed cafes) will probably be a totally awkward experience! However, there are other Cafe’s such as Owl and Cat themed cafe’s where you can relax and play with exotic animals while drinking a cup of tea or coffee.
3. Buy Exclusive Anime Merch
Where else in the world can you buy cookies with anime characters on them? I’ve been throughout other regions of Japan but only in Akihabara have I seen food like this!
Other than figures, anime, and manga, there is still plenty of merch and swag to get your hands on. Don’t be distracted by the sheer number of figure stores in Akihabara, or you might miss some hidden gems like these tasty anime snacks!
Of course, some of these items you could get anywhere else, but the sheer selection here can’t be matched anywhere else! I don’t know anywhere else that gives you an entire wall dedicated to Umaru posters alone.
But you can eat anywhere?
Eat and enjoy the food you wished your waifu would cook for you!
1. Play Crane Games / Arcade Games
This is my number 1 favorite thing to do, pretty much anywhere in Japan!
Shopping for anime figures is fun, but how about winning them? These “Rubber Band” crane games are my top pick for the easiest ones to win. Of course, you will need to have good control over the crane and you should also exercise extreme patience.
It is better to allow someone else to waste their money inching the prize closer to the hole than for you to do it. My advice for winning these games is to let others do the work for you until they get frustrated and give up nearly 2 or 3 plays from winning the prize and then swoop in for the win!
Generally, people get very uncomfortable when being watched, especially when embarrassingly loosing in a crane game so they usually will walk away from the machine if you idle by while they play.
What? You think my strategy is cruel? Welcome to the world of crane games!
Follow this simple advice: be patient; be skilled; and let others do most of the work for you; and you will be able to return home with suitcases filled with prizes you won for a fraction of their retail value!
I also advise that you avoid these balancing games as they are not impossible to win, but it’s very difficult to understand the weight distribution on these boxes when they aren’t balancing on a rubber band!
One last piece of advice when playing crane games (or claw machines) in Akihabara is to avoid the SEGA crane game shops. Immediately upon exiting the Akihabara station, there is a large, red looking building with “SEGA” plastered on the sides. It may look very inviting and clean, but these places are total scams when it comes to their machines and the staff could care less whether you win or not!
Other than that, I hope you totally enjoy your trip to Japan and I wish you the best of luck with your journeys!