The beautiful photo of Akihabara above is courtesy of Tsutomu Kuriyama from the
Akihabara electric town. The largest single place
in the world to buy electronics. Let's just say that if you are into
technology, and new neat stuff that you can't get back home, or you just
want to see what all the fuss is about, it is definitely worth it to stop
at Akihabara Station. The only thing I found after waking and
searching every street in this "Electric Town" is that it
is not amazingly cheap. You can find good deals but not the best in
Tokyo by any means. What it does have is, literally, everything.
There are well over 600 different shops selling every range of product.
For the tourist, most stores sell the "world model" that will
work at home (same voltage rating as home) but the price goes up
significantly for these. I also saw many signs, in English,
advertising "duty free" goods. Personally I saw no need to
buy any of these, and I saw it as a marketing scheme to get travelers to
shop there, but that's just what I think. Another thing I should
note is that like everywhere else in Japan, stores are most likely NOT
willing to bargain, so don't expect to chip away at the price and get a
better deal. It could happen, but it's rare. There are no
other tourist destinations here (the city itself is a tourist destination)
and I don't know the historical relevance of the area, but it is a neat
place to be.
From Akihabara Station the Yamanote line runs north and south.The
Kehin Tohoku line runs north and south.
The Sobu line runs east and west.
The first time I went was to
look for a cellular phone-"keitai".
I searched for hours. I wanted the best phone for me, and the best
price. I almost went to every store in the area that sold cellular
phones to compare my options. Of course I got lost looking at all the
other neat gadgets along the way, but that's half the fun. The area
called Akihabara around the station consists of one main street running North-South
and a maze of smaller cross streets. Expect to find all of the bigger
department stores along the main drag and the smaller privately owned stores
on the smaller streets. Surprisingly in many of the bigger stores, a
salesman will speak English, and be able to help you with anything. They
are quite knowledgeable. Be warned also, that many smaller stores do not
like selling to foreigners that can't easily express what they want.
Speaking Japanese definitely helps here. I guess I should say
everywhere, but almost always you can get by well enough without Japanese I
guess. I just think from experience that generally people will show you
more respect and courtesy if you have the language ability. I'm sure you
would find it difficult and a little frustrating to try to communicate with
people who are not speaking your language in the country you live in on a
NOTE: This information is now out of date. Looking for
an internet cafe? Don't look too hard in Akihabara.
I couldn't find any and I looked on almost every street.
would think that there would be one there. Anyway, a good place
to go for internet service is "Kinko's Copy Center". They have
locations at JR Kanda, JR Yotsuya, and Subway Yotsuya-Sanchome stations, plus more that
I don't know off by hand.
I guess now is a good time to
recommend going to Akihabara at night. It is a beautiful display of neon
signs and flashing lights only rivaled by Shinjuku at night time for more
neon. The stores close rather early at around 7:00pm. So don't go
Copyright ©1999 3DeeArts. All photos property of 3DeeArts Tokyo Virtual Tour.
Copy or re-use in any way is prohibited.
Background photo by Tsutomu Kuriyama ©1999.
Main text by 3DeeArts ©1999/2000. Additional
text by Donald Richie from
Introducing Tokyo ©1987 Kodansha International Ltd.