- BEST SHOPPING IN AND AROUND TOKYO
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Whenever I need to search for electronics, Akihabara which the youth nicknamed “Akiba” immediately comes to mind. This district in central Tokyo is named after a local shrine and is famous for its numerous electronic shops. They offer everything from the latest cameras, computers, home appliances, accessories, televisions and audio equipment.
Where to Buy your Electronics in Akihabara
My girlfriend tells me that she likes this area because of the maid cafes and cosplay that you sometimes see on the streets. I was mainly here for the gadgets, cameras and mobile accessories. Hundreds of electronic shops line the main streets of Chuo Dori ranging from small specialized stores to big chain stores. Take your time here as it definitely pays to shop around. If you love anime and manga there are tons of places to checkout as Akihabara has rapidly gained recognition as an otaku nation.
A Short Guide of Electronic Stores in Akihabara
Listed below are our top 5 places
Of all the Sofmap stores in Akihabara, we decided to shop at the main store, which is the largest. Each of the chain stores hosts an assortment of electronics, niche merchandise, PC software, video games and anime products. They offer a great selection of mostly digital electronics and appliances so make sure you choose to visit the right store for your buying needs. Several of these stores also sell new and used cameras with a great selection. If you have time, check out their Amusement Store which sells anime goods, Japan idols merchandise and video games.
This shop is easy to find and located just 1 minute away from JR Akihabara Station, in front of the Electric Town Exit. Labi store, a subsidiary of Yamada Denki, is categorized as one of the largest electronics retail store chains in Japan. Labi has a wide array of digital cameras, PC equipment, printers, audio players and software. Travelers will love this place for it’s close proximity to the station, foreign speaking staff and the Duty Free shopping offered throughout. My girlfriend liked the fact that each floor had a color theme, as you can also see from the outside building escalators.
Looking for unusual gadgets and rare fun items? Then Thanko’s Rare-Mono “Rare things” store should be at the top of your list. Couples will love this relatively small 2 storey shop for it’s incredible gizmos and quirky merchandise. We scratched our heads and had a great laugh at some of the products that were offered but still had a fabulous time. Prices here are certainly fair and there’s also a bargains section at the back of the shop filled with last seasons gadgets. Perfect place for souvenir shopping.
This is another large duty-free store which offers consumer electronics, cameras, electrical beauty supply, audio accessories and home appliances to overseas customers. Laox has 8 stores in Akihabara which covers several levels. They always have multilingual staff on hand, that cater to Japanese and foreigners alike. The best thing here was that you can pay by credit card and there were English instruction catalogues and manuals for many products, which were very helpful.
5. Radio Kaikan
This famous landmark in Akihabara was once closed for renovations and reopened 3 years later as a much bigger and improved, 10 storey building. Distinguishable by its vibrant multi-colors and the giant yellow background at the top building entrance. The establishment features over 30 stores selling electronics, anime, books, toys and wireless components. If you’re tired from all the walking, Ginza Lion beer hall restaurant is on the lower first floor, where you can relax and have some food and beer. Nowadays the otaku culture has taken over, as you can see from the countless stores that sell manga, anime and figurines. Either way, this iconic building is not to be missed if you’re in the area.
Originally, Akihabara was a mecca for mainly electronics but as times have changed, it’s also a popular hang out spot for gamers and anime enthusiasts. With that in mind, we thoroughly enjoyed our tech and otaku experience here. Akiba is where I bought my first electronic dictionary which I always put to use while in Tokyo.