Akihabara (秋葉原), also known as Akihabara Electric Town, is a famous area of Tokyo, Japan, located less than five minutes by train from Tokyo Station. Its name is frequently shortened to Akiba (アキバ) in Japan.
Akihabara is a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, manga, DVD, games and otaku goods, including new and used items. New items are mostly to be found on the main street, Chou Dori, with many kinds of used items found in the side or back streets.
Foreign tourists tend to visit the big name shops like Yodobashi, Laox or other speciality shops near the station, though there is more variety and lower prices at locales a little further away.
Akihabara is also perhaps the last stronghold in the world for classic arcade gaming. Although arcades are still everywhere in Japan, and more so in Tokyo, the concentration is especially high in Akihabara. The huge towers of Sega, Taito and others can’t be missed, but places like "Hey Arcade" (on Chuo Dori) have entire floors dedicated to shooting games (Galaga) and fighting games (Tekken).
Tokyo Animation Center in the UDX Building has information, showings, demonstrations, and events centered around animation and gaming.
Starting February 1, 100 days of live concerts at the first level of Sato Musen electric store called Live Park in Akiba is being held to convince authorities to reopen Akihabara’s “Pedestrian Paradise” (Chuo Dori), which was closed after the unfortunate stabbing incident last year.
Maid cafes, which first opened in 2001, are also now very popular in the area. You can’t miss the maids handing out flyers or with billboard in the streets. For a more complete description on this topic, please read Three Steps of Japan’s recent blog post on Maids.
In distinct contrast to the high-tech culture, you can also find the Kanda Myojin Shrine in the area. Every May, the Kanda Myojin Omikoshi Togyo Matsuri (festival) is held along the streets of Akihabara and Kanda, where tradition and high-tech meet in joyful harmony.