TokyoCityTOUR Culture & Travel Tips

Shopping

Shopping in Tokyo

Akihabara-Electric and Anime district

Akihabara

Hundreds of electronics shops, ranging from tiny one man stalls specializing in a particular electronic component to large electronics retailers, line the main Chuo Dori street and the crowded side streets around Akihabara. They offer everything from the newest computers, cameras, televisions, mobile phones, electronics parts and home appliances to second-hand goods and electronic junk.

A few chain stores such as Sofmap and Laox each operate multiple specialized branches along the main roads, while small independent shops can be found in the side streets. The only mega sized store is the Yodobashi Camera complex on the east side of the station.

Note that some of the electronics on sale are only intended for use in Japan due to voltage and other technical differences, Japanese language documentation and limited warranties. However, several stores also feature a selection of international models intended for overseas use, and most also offer tax free shopping to foreign tourists on purchases of over 10,000 yen (passport required).

The character of Akihabara has constantly changed over the decades and continues to do so. In the last decade Akihabara has emerged as a center of Japanese otaku and anime culture, and dozens of stores specializing in anime, manga, retro video games, figurines, card games and other collectibles have filled the spaces between the electronics retailers.

In addition to shops, various other animation related establishments have become popular in the area, particularly maid cafes where waitresses dress up and act like maids or anime characters, and manga cafes (manga kissa), a type of internet cafe where customers can read comics and watch DVDs in addition to having access to the internet.

Nakamise shopping street in Asakusa

Akihabara

You can find a wonderful traditional souvenir of Japanese in Asakusa.Now there are 54 shops in East side, 35 shops in West side, 89 shops in total. The length of Nakamise main street is approximately 250m(approx. 274 yards). The beauty of integrated electric sign boards and seasonal decorations against stone pavement made visitors from overseas who just went through Kaminari-mon exclaime "Wonderful!" many times.

Nakamise is one of the oldest shopping centers in Japan. Since Shogun Tokugawa (Ieyasu) established Edo Shogunate, the population in Edo (old capital city, now Tokyo) grew as well as visitors to Sensoji Temple.

Red brick Nakamise with the atmosphere of Meiji Era culture was destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1923. In 1925, it was rebuilt with reinforced concrete, having Momoyama-style, vermilion-lacquered appearance, which made the shopping center magnificent. Although all its interiors were destroyed again by the fire of World War II in 1945, Nakamise local people rebuilt it soon.