Hello everyone (again!).
I must admit, Akihabara (秋葉原) was one of the places I was looking forward to going to the most. Akiba (its shortened name) is popular for many reasons. It is the place to go if you are looking to buy electronics (new and used), videogames, or anime and manga goods. There are also many popular maid cafes located in Akiba, and as you walk through the streets, there are some maids outside their cafes asking you to come in. There are many arcades, and almost every building along the main strip is lit up.
Also, for anyone interested in J-Pop, the group AKB48 originated from Akihabara, and their cafe and theater are both located here. Their cafe is right next to the Gundam Cafe outside of the train station, and the theater is in the Don Quixote store on the eighth floor. From what I’ve heard, AKB48 perform live every day in their theater.
My friend Brittani and I mostly just walked around exploring, although we did go into a couple of arcades and electronic shops. The streets were fairly busy, although I believe we went a little too late into the evening, because there were a good amount of smaller shops already closed.
The one arcade that we went into had about four floors, and each floor was something different. On the first floor, there were your typical crane games, mostly costing about a few hundred yen for a couple of tries. The second floor had games like Dance Dance Revolution, a guitar game, and a game where you hit drums to the beat of the music. The last two floors were full of video poker machines, video mahjong machines, and other video machines that I didn’t recognize.
We decided to leave that arcade, and then went into a Sega arcade, and tried to play a crane machine for a little bit; however, it was not your usual crane game. The crane was just a single hook, and the item was looped around a metal bar. We originally tried to get the hook through the loop and pick it up, but kept failing. A salaryman actually came over (looking very amused) and taught us how to do it – instead of trying to pick it up, you’re supposed to nudge it off the bar. Unfortunately, we still kept failing horribly, so we finally gave up, but at least we got a good amount of laughs out of it!
There also are a lot of restaurants in Akihabara. Outside the station is a Kaitenzushi place (conveyor belt sushi) that I want to go back and try! Also, on the top floor of one of the camera electronics buildings, the whole floor is dedicated to restaurants. There are Shabu Shabu places, Chinese, sushi – something for everyone.
All in all, Akihabara is a very lively and fun place, and especially great if you have an interest in Japanese pop culture!
Also, all the photos in this post are posted with the permission of Brittani Ericksen, and belong to her.