With an estimated number of over 30,000 anime series’ out there, it should be no surprise to you to find out that it means a lot to the Japanese people. However, it is much bigger than the domestic reputation that it holds alone. Anime is watched all over the world by millions of people from different countries and cultures. There is even a dedicated district in Tokyo that is famously known as “anime street” or “anime city”. For those of you looking to find it, I did some research and decided to put together a guide.
Where is anime street in Tokyo? Anime street is in fact a ‘district’, not a street. The famous area is known as Akihabara; aka ‘The Gaming & Anime Center of Tokyo’. Located in the area of Chiyoda, Akihabara can be found to the north of Tokyo Tower, Roppongi & Imperial Palace, and also to the east of Shinjuku. Akihabara has its own train station that can easily be accessed from Tokyo Central’s train line.
Now that you know where to find Akihabara, there’s some other pretty awesome stuff you should know before visiting. I have put together a guide that will inform you, and hopefully encourage you to visit Akihabara.
Where Is Anime Street Located Exactly, How Do You Get There?
Akihabara is known to be quite a tricky location to reach for tourists. This is due to the somewhat confusing layout of Tokyo’s public transport. However, rest assured, as it is not as complicated as you might think!
The actual location of Akihabara is around 4 miles north of the famous Tokyo Tower. It’s an estimated walk of around an hour and 20 minutes so either a taxi or train is the preferred method of transport.
You can reach Akihabara from a number of different locations and stations, so it is not extremely difficult. It is however, very important to ensure you do your research before taking any method of transport. This is to avoid any shocks that may come with ending up in a completely different part of the city that you have never visited, nor had the desire to.
I did some research and came across a site called ‘HyperDia’ which is a very useful site for planning routes and journeys within Japan’s metropolis. All you have to do is simply type in where you are leaving from, and then where you are travelling to. It will then give you the suggested journeys to take, along with showing you the fares for each mode of transport.
Additionally, you can use the official ‘TokyoMetro’ website, however, I feel HyperDia is a much better option for newcomers to the city. I am in no way sponsored by or affiliated with HyperDia, I just want to provide what I think is the best option for planning your first journey to Akihabara or anywhere else in the city!
Why Is Akihabara Famous?
The entertainment district of Tokyo, also known as Akihabara, is famous and very well-known for many reasons. From affordable electronic shops, bustling arcades, unique maid cafes, untold amounts of anime and manga and so much more; there truly is only one Akihabara on this planet.
The area of Akihabara started its journey of becoming what it is today, shortly after the second World War ended. Facilities and supplies were scarce, and there were not many jobs available for the residents of the city. People started setting up their own stalls and selling cheap and affordable products, mainly electronics.
After a while they were all put together in Akihabara creating an area full of tech lovers! In the early 80s, the area then began to evolve and go in the direction of an anime lovers paradise even more! Dedicated manga and anime stores were set up and the residents loved it. Today, it is loved by a huge percentage of the world.
Akihabara was an area created by anime lovers, for anime lovers!
Today Akihabara is known for its thousands of arcade games, endless manga and anime merchandise and also, its affordable and impressive tech products. Tokyo receives millions of tourists each and every year, and it’s safe to say that Akihabara does play a very important factor in attracting a large number of these people.
Where To Go In Anime Street
Akihabara is the typical view & stereotype of Tokyo that people have. There are many places in this area that tourists & residents love with a strong passion. But, with so many places of interest, what are the best places to go in anime street?
The Mandarake Complex
One of the most popular places of visit in Akihabara is the Mandarake Complex. Mandarake was originally founded back in 1987 as a franchise and was widely popular. However, the Mandarake Complex was a different breed of success. The astonishing 8-story building (yes, 8 stories high!) has exploded in the past years when it comes to popularity.
The complex provides an insane amount of Japanese Otaku culture products from secondhand manga, anime DVDs, figurines and boardgames. Each floor of the complex has its own separate theme and product type. This is great for those people who know exactly what they want to buy. Looking for a certain trading card that your collection is missing? No problem. Just go to the relevant floor and start searching for what you need!
As the slogan of Mandarake implies (The Rulers Of Time), there are many various vintage, rare and collectible items that can be purchased from the complex.
For a full layout of each floor, check below:
- 1F-Buyback Center
- 2F-Gallery Sale, Dolls and Cosplay
- 3F-Manga and magazines
- 4F-Doujin for Men
- 5F-Doujin for Women
- 6F-CD, DVD & Video Games
- 7F-Toys and trading cards
Credit to Akihabara Explorer
If you are a fan of the iconic anime that features giant robots, then you will be more than pleased to know that Akihabara holds it’s very own Gundam Cafe. The cafe is home to staff in cosplay, figurines and collectibles, signed goods, robot themed food & beverages and so much more. The Gundam Cafe is every Gundam phanatic’s dream. Literally.
There are even signed goods that feature the signature of Tomino Yoshiyuki, the series’ creator. For those of you unsure about Tomino’s success, he has created a staple in TV science fiction. With his anime series inspiring blockbuster movies such as Transformers, the bar Tomino has set for the sci-fi genre is almost impossible to match.
There is truly no other place in the world that lets you experience the world of Gundam like this cafe does!
If the toys and figurines from the Mandarake Complex weren’t enough for you, then you’ll want to check out Gachapon Kaikan! However, these two places are very different. The Mandarake Complex has 8 floors and a vast variety of different products, whereas Gachapon Kaikan has one type of product only. Toys obtained in little capsule’s from tiny vending machines!
You know…the ones where you twist the lever and out pops the little ball with a surprise in?
Well, this store has over 500 of these machines!
With products from Star Wars, Marvel, Pokémon and pretty much any of your favourite anime series; there is a machine for everyone here! In-fact, there are even machines that sell little snacks, crazy right?
The thing I love most about this place is that the figurines are perfect for tourists. They come in the little ball capsules ready for you to pack as many as you want and take back home with you.
Why not buy loads and open them up once you get back home? That way you can still receive some of the surprise after your trip.
One thing to note though, however, make sure you go with someone tall if you are relatively small in height. This is because the top 2 rows of the machines are very high up and can be difficult to reach. However, I’m sure if you ask the staff they would be more than happy to help you out!
Is Anime Street For You?
Akihabara is an extremely unique place, and that comes with some truly unique experiences. Whether it’s eating robot themed food or seeing people walk around the street in Cosplay; you will not have seen anything like it in your life.
For that reason alone I highly recommend everyone to visit at least once in your lifetime. However, Akihabara is a busy place with around 17,000 people using it’s station daily. So, if you are someone who really hates busy and packed areas, maybe give this one a miss. But, afterall, Tokyo is extremely busy in itself anyway so you should not let this stop you!
There is so much to explore in ‘Anime Street’ that I cannot choose a favourite place of interest. What is yours? I’d love to know!