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Shopping/Akihabara

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Category : SHOPPING

Yodobashi Camera Akiba

Prepare yourself to see the latest in electronics and technology. Yodobashi Camera is a chain store based in Shinjuku, that open its huge Akihabara branch in 2005. It has 9  floors (not including the basement floors) selling all the electronics you’ll ever need, including cellphones, toys, appliances, computers and audio equipment. It even has restaurants and a batting center on its upper floors, so believe us when we say it is huge. If there is one store you have to see in Akihabara, it is Yodobashi Camera. Although not all of the staff speak English, they are more than willing to help you and fulfill all your shopping needs. However, remember before going on a spending spree to check the prices of the items back home, as some of them might be cheaper in your own country. Nevertheless, it is worth it, to go and check out the latest trends in cameras and electronics. Definitely, one stop that you won’t regret.

Unlike many other locations, Yodobashi Camera is not located near the “Electric Town” exit, but rather on the East Side of the station, close the entrance to the Tsukuba Express line. As you exit the station you’ll immediately see it, as it is too big to miss.

Address: Hanaoka Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Akky

Akky is the name of a Duty Free shop that specializes in selling electronic products for overseas use, from English language PCs to video cameras and Television sets. They also sell a lot of souvenirs and travel goods, so don’t forget to bring your passport to take full advantage of their duty free policy. There are at least three Akky shops in Akihabara, Akky Main Store, Akky One and Akky II, all with very polite staff that are willing to help you buy whatever you need, even if you don’t speak Japanese. In case you cannot find what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask, as they might even be willing to bring it to you if they can find it in one of the other two branches.

To get to any of Akky branches just go to the Chuo-Dori, close to the “Electric Town” exit of the JR Akihabara Station. If you walk in any direction in the main avenue you will immediately be able to spot one of the branches, you will recognize them because they proudly display the Duty Free sign, together with flags from all over the world and even some welcome messages in different languages.

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Laox Main Store

As with many stores in Akihabara, Laox has opened at least four different branches in the region, specializing in electronics, duty free, musical instruments and audio, as well as anime and videogames. However, its main store is perhaps the most worthy of a visit, as it is the biggest duty free shop in the whole “Electric Town. They sell electronics that can be used overseas, watches, clocks, household supplies and even medicine and cosmetics, with the guarantee that they will help you find anything you need. Their staff are fluent in many different languages, so don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese or if your English skills are a little rusty, as they advertise that their staff can speak Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Persian, Hindi, Urdu and Nepalese. As a foreigner in Japan, it might be difficult to find exactly what you want, but at least in Laox, language is not a barrier.

The Laox Main store is very close to the “Electric Town” exit of the JR train Station. As soon as you exit, walk to Chuo-Dori, and turn left, once you cross under the railway you’ll be able to see it across the street.

Address: 1-2-9 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

SofMap

Specialized in computer products, SofMap is one of the biggest computer electronics retailers you’ll find in Akihabara. They operate around 30 stores in the Kanto and Kansai areas, from which 12 are located in the “Electric Town.” They have specialized shops that sell Apple Products, CDs, DVDs, and games. They are also very famous for being an outlet store that sell used products, such as digital cameras, computers and software. In fact, it might be fair to say that SofMap is the best store in dealing with computer hardware and software, with a very wide selection of electronic gadgets, where you can usually find items you can’t find in other stores. Remember, if you can’t find anything by yourself, the staff of SofMap will be more than willing to help you.

It would be very difficult to visit all of its branches, as there is one, literally, around every corner of Akiba, so we recommend you to go to the main store, located off Chuo-Dori, very close to the Suehirocho Station of the Ginza Line. If you come from the JR Station, just walk your way to Chuo Dori and turn right, you’ll recognize it because it is a large bulding with the SofMap sign on.

Address: 3-14-10 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

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Kotobukiya

Kotobukiya is a very popular store in Akihabara that deals mainly with plastic models and figures. It has five floors dedicated to different types of products, from anime to character goods, it is very well organized floor by floor. Kotobukiya store is the place where you’ll see the best and most detailed figurines. They don’t only deal with products related to Japanese animation or manga, but they also have other figurines and products from popular comics and films like Star Wars and Batman. In other words, this is the place where you will find the best products related to the comic industry, from chopsticks in the shape of a light saber to an anime characterization of Catwoman, and from paint and glue to build up your own models to cushions with your favorite anime character; even if you are not buying anything, you will not regret taking a quick look through it’s gallery, as it will be very difficult to find such a unique collection of products in other parts of the world.

To get there, go through the “Electric Town” exit of the JR Station. Walk your way to Chuo Dori and cross the street, continue walking and turn right down the first street you see. You’ll identify the building from its green colors and the big white sign that spells Kotobukiya.

Address: 1-8-8 Sotokanda, Chiyodaku, Tokyo

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Super Potato

This store has won the prize for the most awesome name for a videogame shop ever. I mean,  who can think for a more incredible name than Super Potato???? This store has achieved worldwide fame for being the best retro-gaming shop in Akihabara, and I must say that this is not a word of a lie. Here you’ll be able to find any console or game that you want, from the Atari 2600 to a Playstation 3, you might even be lucky enough to get your hands on a Game and Watch. Don’t worry if you don’t want to buy anything, just going for a quick look will be enough to bring back memories of that time you couldn’t defeat King Koopa or when you dreamt of seeing the ending of the Legend of Zelda. Each of its products are classified according to its console, price and theme. They even have some consoles set up, ready for you to play, totally free of charge. Isn’t that amazing?! In case you are not a big videogame fan, a trip to Super Potato is still worth it, as it is almost like a museum of gaming history, where you’ll be able to see products that never made their way to the Western market. If you have some time to kill, don’t forget to go to the retro arcade room in the third floor, where you’ll be able to play some games of old and remember those days when you used to meet your buddies at the arcade before going to the movies. One piece of advice though, this store is oriented to collectors, so many of its prices might by higher than expected, so if you look in other non specialized second hand stores, like Book Off, you might find better deals.

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Super Potato is very close to the JR Station. You’ll just have to exit through the “Electric Town” gate and walk your way to Chuo Dori. Cross the street and continue straight for one block, then you’ll turn right and in less than 2 minutes you’ll be able to see it. Be aware that the store is not at the ground level so keep your eyes up in order to spot it. It is almost in front of the Kotobukiya Store, you’ll recognize it from its mascot, a potato (obvious, isn’t it).

Address: Kitanayashi Building 3F-5F, 1-11-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

Animate

Animate is a chain store that has more than 90 shops all around Japan. It specializes in anime, manga and games. If you are looking for the most recent and popular trends in anime and manga, then Animate is one of the stores you have to check out. It has seven floors full of otaku goods. It is impossible to describe the huge amount of products they have here, everything stamped with the characteristic big eyes and small mouths of Japanese animation. A can’t miss spot for all you manga and anime fans from all around the world. The staff are very kind and are always willing to help you, even if their English is not that good (I remember getting lost and asking for directions, the manager actually came out to the street with me to show me the way, and I didn’t buy anything!). On the seventh floor they have a space for special events, where publicity events with authors and voice actors are hosted, so you might even be lucky enough to meet your favorite mangaka.

It’s location is ever convenient, off Chuo Dori, the main road of the Akihabara District; very close to the “Electric Town” exit of the JR Station.

Address: 4-3-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Don Quijote (Donki)

Don Quijote is a discount chain store which is very famous in Japan. It has an amazing range of goods, from drinks and snacks to home appliances and clothing. The Akiahabara branch is one of the biggest in Tokyo, as it has 8 floors, totally adapted to meet the shopping needs of the locals, which means, it also includes costumes, anime and manga goods, and even an adult section. On its upper floors it has an arcade room, where you’ll be able to experience the latest trends in Japanese gaming. On the 8th floor of the Don Quijote building is the AKB 48 shop and theatre, where shows of this popular idol group take place. Don Quijote Akihabara is also the home of one of the branches of the @Home Maid Café, on its 5th floor. It even has some fast food restaurants on the ground level, where you’ll be able to have a hot dog, takoyaki or a crepe.

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It is located on the main road of the district, Chuo Dori, between the JR Station and the Suehirocho Station. You’ll recognize it for its mascot, a blue penguin wearing a Christmas hat and because it has large signs for the AKB 48 theatre.

Address: 4-3-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

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