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The best 10 things to do in Akihabara for tourists

Visit Electric Town, go to a maid cafe, shop for anime, discover the Kanda Myojin Shrine and so many other things in Akihabara.

Julio Osuna

March 20, 2024

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In the heart of Tokyo lies Akihabara, a district renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of modernity and tradition. Whether you’re an anime enthusiast, a tech-savvy traveler, or simply curious about Japanese pop culture, Akihabara offers an array of experiences to captivate visitors.

Discover the famous maid cafés, Electric Town, the Katasusando vending machine, and plenty more. Furthermore, dive into the culture, traditions, and history of the ward. Find peace at the Kanda Myojin Shrine or relax at the Raku Spa. You won’t get bored for a minute!

Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Akihabara that will make your trip unforgettable.

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Is Akihabara worth visiting?

Akihabara is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Tokyo. Renowned as the mecca of otaku culture, it’s a bustling hub where futuristic technology meets age-old traditions. From towering skyscrapers adorned with neon lights to quaint alleys brimming with retro charm, Akihabara’s dynamic ambiance appeals to travelers of all interests.

Akihabara tourist attractions: things to do

Before delving into the specific activities, let’s take a moment to explore the essence of Akihabara. Known affectionately as Electric Town, this district pulsates with energy, offering many attractions to explore. Here are the top 10 things to do in Akihabara that you shouldn’t miss:

1. Explore the Electric Town

Originally the gadget center of Tokyo, this sector has developed into a major attraction for locals and foreigners alike. Filled with electronic shops, manga stores, and gaming arcades, it’s heaven for those who are looking for games, collectible figures, and much more!

You’ll even find your favorite cosplay game or action character, and if you’re up for it, you can get a costume for yourself. Take advantage of the tax-free shops to get discounted prices! Some hotspots in Electric Town are Mandarake and Radio Kaikan.

Electric-Town-Akihabara
Find the best gadgets, anime, and manga in Electric Town. Source: Pexels

How to get there:

Get off at the Akihabara Metro Station, and you’ll step right into Electric Town. Prices vary depending on the store, and there’s no admission fee given that this is a public and commercial area.

2. Go to a maid café

Experience a unique subculture in Japan at one of the many maid cafés around Akihabara. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a chorus of “Welcome back, master, mistress”.

The cutely dressed staff will guide you through the themed menu, and you’ll find peculiar types of drinks, foods and desserts that you find at an everyday restaurant. Some maid cafés also offer shows and spectacles, and you can even get a picture with one of them.

Generally, the entrance fee with can oscillate around $10 USD and includes a meal, but you can get more from the menu for the listed price. Keep in mind that the entrance fee to most maid cafés includes a 1-hour stay. It’s important to add entrance fees to your budget. Check how much it costs to go to Japan.

How to get there:

Maid cafés are located all around Akihabara Metro Station, and you’ll notice them because of the staff’s distinctive attire.

3. Shopping in anime or manga stores

Dive into the anime and manga world in the stores in Akihabara for all those otakus out there. You’ll find comics, collectibles, merchandise, and so much more in these fictional worlds. Some of the best stores around are:

  • Mandarake Complex
  • Akihabara Kotobukiya,
  • Animate Akihabara
  • Acos Akihabara,
  • Akihabara Gamers 

Many of these are huge buildings, each floor its own world.

Discover behind-the-scenes of many shows, including information about the actors who portray your favorite characters. Get a picture of your favorite one and upload it to social media!

How to get there:

Just walking a couple of minutes west and north from Akihabara Metro Station, you’ll find all of these stores and many more in the surrounding blocks.

4. Play games at an arcade

Go back to your childhood and play the old and new games in one of the many arcades in Akihabara. You’ll find everything from the 80s classics to the top-notch and advanced graphic games. You’ll see beginners and experienced players, and even competitions with prizes! It’s a sport of its own.

Some popular arcades in Akihabara are Otaku Akihabara and SEGA. SEGA actually has several stores spread around the neighborhood. Spend time in one of these arcades to experience that true Japanese game craze. But don’t stay too long because there is much more to see and do in Akihabara!

Arcade-Akihabara
Play all types of games at the SEGA or Otaku arcade! Source: Pexels

How to get there:

To get to the SEGA Building 1, just disembark from Akihabara Station and head west, and after a couple of minutes, you’ll see the store on the corner.

5. Try a Katsusando Vending Machine

You might not be a fan of vending machines, but we promise that the Katsusando vending machines in Japan are definitely worth your while. It’s the perfect spot to grab a bite while on the go, and for a good price too!

These vending machines are part of the Japanese street food culture and are among the best things to do in Tokyo while you visit Akihabara. For as little as just $6, you’ll get a mouth-watering, scrumptious, and hunger-satisfying Niman culet sandwich. 

How to get there:

Hop off the Akihabara Metro station from the west exit and take the first left to Mansei Bridge; right under the bridge, you’ll find the popular Katsusando vending machine. For the actual directions from your phone, click this link. Make sure you’ve got a digital SIM internet connection.

6. Relax at Raku Spa 1010 Kanda

Forget the hustle and bustle back home and enjoy some quiet time at the Raku Spa 1010. As a space dedicated to hospitality and relaxation, you’ll find peace and re-energize to continue your adventure. This is the perfect spot for those traveling alone to rest and reboot. 

You’ll be able to use different spaces like the sauna, bath, coworking area, and even dining space. Furthermore, a relaxation room offers chiropractors and beauty salon services. Check the table below to organize your itinerary and budget so you can take some time for yourself at this spa.

Usage TypeDurationWeekdays(11:00 – 20:00)Weekends & Holidays(11:00 – 20:00)Late Night Premium (01:00 – 05:00)
SPA 10 hours$13.21$15.21$11.94
Public Bath 3 hours$3.45$1.33
Sauna3 hours$7.90$8.58

How to get there:

Exit Akihabara station at the west exit and take a left when you reach the Shohei Bridge. Head south on the bridge and take the second right. You can also just google RAKU SPA 1010 Kanda, and you’ll easily reach the spa center.

Places to visit in Akihabara for tourists

Explore the rich history and cultural heritage of Akihabara by visiting its iconic landmarks and attractions. Here are some must-see destinations that offer insights into the district’s past and present:

7. Visit Kanda Myojin Shrine

Take some time to meditate and immerse yourself in the Japanese culture at the Kanda Myojin Shrine. Admire the beautiful torii gate at the entrance and explore the decorated halls. If you happen to visit in May and during an odd-numbered year, participate in the Kanda Matsuri festival, which is one of Japan’s greatest.

You might be surprised, but even tech geeks are to be seen here, purchasing talismans to protect their valuable electronics and tech devices. For those iPhone lovers, it is best to get one of these protective talismans.

Kanda-Myojin-Shrine-Akihabara
Find peace at Kanda Myojin Shrine. Source: Pexels

How to get there:

Get off at Ochanomizu Station and take the first right, where you’ll see a 7-11 convenience store. Then take the first left, and you’ll see the entrance to the shrine in front of you.

8. Akihabara Uenosakuragi Park (Ueno Park)

Take some time to admire and enjoy nature in the middle of the Tokyo jungle. As one of the best things to do and places to see in Akihabara, it’s not just greenery that you’ll see but also a pinch of history and past glory.

Here are a few highlights that the park offers:

  • Museum area in the North and West:
    • National Museum of Nature and Science
    • Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
    • Tokyo National Museum
    • Ueno Royal Museum
    • National Museum of Western Art
    • Shitamachi Museum
  • Ueno Tōshō-gū Shrine and temples in the Centre
  • The Ueno Zoo in the East
  • The Shinobazu Pond in the South

One of the best times to travel to Japan is during the cherry blossom season, which is between March and May. Take part in the Cherry Blossom festival that brings pink to life all around  Japan.

How to get there:

Ueno Park is located north of Akihabara. You can take the train at Akihabara station, get off at the following Ueno Station, and head out towards the east directly onto the park

9. Manseibashi Bridge

Also referred to as the Ghost Station, it was a functional station until it was closed in 1943. It was refurbished and reopened in 2013. However, it kept the iconic interior red brink to preserve its legacy. Inside, you’ll find numerous shops and restaurants blending the past and present.

Find unique handwork and crafts, and there are even some temporary shops where you can get the perfect souvenir. Sit down and enjoy a coffee and some bakery, taking the time to relax and imagine what the station was like in the past.

How to get there:

  • 4 minute walk from Akihabara station
  • 6 minutes walk from Kanda station
  • 6 minutes walk from Ochanomizu station

10. Namco Akihabara

Spend a whole day on the five floors of the NAMCO entertainment center, where you can find arcades, games, and figures and participate in card tournaments. Each floor offers a unique experience in the anime and manga world that dominates Japan. See what each floor offers:

  • First Floor & Second Floor: Namco Akihabara’s first two floors are filled with crane games offering figurines and character toys, including exclusive items.
  •    
  • Third Floor: The third floor boasts rhythm-based arcade games, highlighted by eight Taiko no Tatsujin drum machines.
  • Fourth Floor: Ascend to the fourth floor to find approximately 800 Bandai-branded capsule toy machines, offering a chance to win various trinkets.
  • Fifth Floor (Decks Stadium): On the fifth floor, known as Decks Stadium, visitors can purchase Bandai’s collectible trading cards and engage in card game battles.
  • Basement Level: Explore the basement level, which is entirely dedicated to Gundam video games.
Namco-Akihabara
Explore the behemoth of Namco in Akihabara. Source: Unslash

How to get there:

NAMCO is on the south left side of Akihabara station in front of the East Hotel Mets Akihabara Hotel.

General tips for tourists in Akihabara

To explore this tech and anime center, there are some recommendations for you to keep in mind to make the most out of your trip:

  • Use the Tokyo Metro system to save on transportation.
  • Discover the nuances that this ward has to offer, like the unique vending machines.
  • Explore nearby attractions in Tokyo with our comprehensive travel guides.
  • Pack for international travel with comfortable clothing and adequate shoe wear for a lot of walking.
  • Make reservations beforehand and avoid inflated prices that may strain your budget.
  • Stay connected with the best eSIM for Tokyo with companies like Holafly and get:
    • Unlimited Data
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    • 24/7 customer service through different channels
    • One flat rate
    • No connection hassle
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Discover all the electrifying places to visit in Electric Town and the manga and anime adventures without leaving aside the traditional and cultural part of Akihabara. Travel with our tops tips, stay connected with the Holafly eSIM for Tokyo, and you’ll have the time of your life!

Frequently Asked Questions about things to do in Akihabara

What to do in Akihabara?

Akihabara offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy, including exploring Electric Town and the mange and anime center of Tokyo, with stores and malls filled with all kinds of characters, games, arcades, and more.

How do you spend a day in Akihabara?

Start your day by exploring Electric Town, then visit a maid café for a quirky culinary experience. Continue your adventure by shopping in anime stores, gaming at arcades, and exploring historic landmarks in parks.

What is famous in Akihabara?

Akihabara is renowned for its vibrant otaku culture, electronic shops, maid cafés, and gaming arcades. It’s a hub for anime and manga geeks, tech enthusiasts, and travelers seeking unique cultural experiences.

Is Akihabara foreigner-friendly?

Yes, Akihabara is known for its welcoming atmosphere and is popular among international visitors. Many establishments offer English-language support, making it easy for tourists to navigate the district.