Akihabara, also called Akihabara Electric Town, is the go-to district in Tokyo for electronics, anime and manga products. Hundreds of electronics stores line the neighborhood streets, selling everything from computer parts to home goods and ranging in size from small stalls to mainstream chains. North of Akihabara Station sit stores selling video games, popular manga comic books, card games, costumes and souvenirs.
In recent years, Akihabara has become famous for its "otaku" culture, or diehard anime and manga fans. It is a great place to people-watch and see "cosplay," short for costume play, in which fans dress up as their favorite characters in anime and manga. Numerous maid cafes are found in this area as well, where you’ll find a dining experience in which the servers dress as maids and other characters. The streets of Akihabara are decorated with manga and anime images, and the neighborhood is designed to make visitors feel as if they are wandering through an actual comic or animated production.
Chuo Dori serves as the main street through the commercial Akihabara district. This street is closed to vehicles from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from October through March and until 6 p.m. from April through September. Many of the electronics sold in Akihabara are intended for use in Japan only due to the voltage requirements and other technical differentiators. Foreigners who make purchases over 10,000 yen ($100 USD) may be required to show a passport. Akihabara Station can be reached on the JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku and Sobu lines, while it can also be accessed from the Tsukuba Express and the Hibiya subway line.