Unless for those of you who followed my twitter or were in the same skype room as me, many of you probably do not know that I was in Tokyo these past two months. I went there for educational purpose of studying Japanese Language, or at least that was what I told my parents. Although there was no untruth in my words, as probably many of you might have guess, I did have a hidden agenda which was no other than to visit the Otaku Holy Land, Akihabara.
Akihabara(秋葉原) which literal meaning is “Field of Autumn Leaves” and is also known as Akihabara Electric town. As the name suggested, this little town has anything related to electricity, may it be hardware or software. Beside electronic equipment stores, there are many other interesting shops such as manga and anime outlets, adult toys and video shops, maid cafes, etc.
Getting to Akihabara
Considering how Akihabara does not only serve as an electronic center but also as a major tourism site, it is not surprising how easily accessible the place is. There are in total of five 電車 lines that passes through this otaku town: JR Yamanote Line, JR Chuo-Sobu Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and Tsukuba Express Line.
Even though I have not been to all the stores in Akihabara, but in this two months period I have been in and out of Akiba for more than what I can remember. Thus I can at least confidently say that I have visited most of the shops on the Main Street (中央通り) and some of these shops are in my opinion really worth mentioning.
Anime, Manga and Eroge related shops
Gamers got a little of everything, may it be anime, manga, magazine, trading card game and even eroge. However, in order to compensate for this diversity, goods that you can find in Gamers is far from complete. Despite of that, Akihabara Gamers is just several buildings away from the station which make it very convenient to reach in case you want to get something quick and it is also a perfect place to meet up with friends.
Toranoana is a similar type of shop to Gamers except that it has a more complete arsenal of goods and this is because Toranoana in Akihabara is made up of two buildings instead of one. The main thing that you will want to do when visiting Toranoana is to hunt for Doujinshi on the six and seven floors of building A.
Softmap is a very big company and as if to prove this there are ten Softmap stores in Akihabara, with each store specializes in a specific field. The Softmap that I like to recommend here is Softmap building number 1 which handles mainly media entertainment such as エロゲ, Anime and Adult Video DVD/Blu-Ray Disc, Anime and game soundtrack CD, etc. This store does not only have new unopened products, but it also sell second hand エロゲ and Anime just in case you are low in budget.
If you are looking for a shop that focuses on selling anime and game goods, Kotobukiya is the place that you may want to pay a visit to. It has anything from Gundam PlaModels and MH Monster figures to Vocaloids Keychains and Moe Sweets. On the third floor, there are many amazing figures and dollfies for those who are interested.
Akiba Culture Zone
Out of all the stores that I have visited in Akihabara, Akiba Culture Zone or K-Books to be more accurate(first and second floor) is by far my favourite. On the first floor you can find Manga, Light Novel, Illustration Books and Magazines. K-Books has an astonishingly large selection of books and its エロmanga and エロ light novel collections are especially impressive.
K-Books second floor deals mainly with second hand goods and this part is much more interesting. Some of you guys may wonder what is so good about second hand goods other than their lower prices. The answer to this doubt is quite simple: there are things that you can only get as second hand goods. Doujinshi, illustration cards with signatures and art books from previous Comikets are some examples of these. There are also store-limited or time-limited special omake goods from エロゲ which are usually in the form of illustrated telephone cards or clear files.
Adult Store and Adult Video Store
Just in case there are some of you out there that do not know this: Adult Store and Adult Video Store are two different types of shops. While an AV Store sells only Adult Videos, an Adult Store is much more general because it also merchandises other goods like costumes, sexy lingeries, SM goods, rotors, dildo, onahole, etc.
Although there are probably more than two Adult Store in Akiba, M’S and Love Merci are the only two that I know of.
In the beginning, I was worried about whether or not I will be able to bring myself to enter one of such shop, but that was until I saw this:
“If these girls have no problem with their pictures being displayed on the street where all passersby can see, I don’t see why I should be ashamed either” – that is exactly the line of thought that I had and since then I have no problem entering an Adult Store any more.
Adult Video Store
Akihabara got just too many AV Shop, but among all of these LammTarra is one of the best that I have visited. LammTarra got anything from your usual softcore to some extreme hardcore.
Other Interesting Stores
Takarajima24 is a store that sell ‘privacy’. When you first enter the store, you will be able to find a large collections of Adult Video and you are allowed to borrow at most six videos from here. Once you finish choosing your videos, you are expected to pay for the time you want to stay. It costs 1000円 for 2 hours, 1500円 for 3 hours and 2000円 for 5 hours. There is also an optional cost if you want an onahole to be included in the package.
Once you complete your payment, you will be given a key to your room, one/two condoms, several wet tissues and the videos that you decided to borrow. I guess I do not need to explain what you are supposed to do in that room, right? (￣ω￣;)
Even though I have only mentioned less than ten stores in this post, there are actually many other excellent stores in Akihabara such as: Animates, Melon Comics, Mandrake, Traders, etc. However, there are just too many to mention every single one of them so please do not feel upset if I fail to mention your favourite shop.
I also would like to recommended those who want to visit Akihabara to do so on Sunday in order to experience hokousha tengoku(歩行者天国) which literally means “pedestrian heaven”.
During this hokousha tengoku(歩行者天国) period, the main street(中央通り) in Akihabara is sealed off to prevent cars from entering it. As a result, pedestrians are free to walk all over the street.