OWL Magazine Korea

Tokyo, Subculture Hub “Akihabara (秋葉原)”

Akihabara in Tokyo is one of the central districts of the city. Written in kanji as “秋葉原,” when translated directly, it means “autumn leaves hill.” However, it is renowned as the center of Japanese subculture, often referred to as the “otaku mecca.”

Japan, Tokyo, Subculture Hub, Akihabara (秋葉原)

Akihabara is considered a sanctuary of Japanese subculture, offering a variety of products and services related to manga, anime, and more. During weekends, especially, various events like cosplay gatherings attract crowds.

You can find arcades scattered around, and numerous stores selling figures and character-related goods. Character shops, often large-scale establishments occupying multi-story buildings, are filled to the brim with figures.

A Haven for Otaku Enthusiasts

Akihabara is known for its high-rise stores selling products like figures. Some people intentionally visit Tokyo from other countries, spending a considerable amount of time in Akihabara to find specific items.

Even renowned places like “Skiya,” one of Japan’s top three beef bowl restaurants, located in Akihabara, showcase the area’s unique character by featuring anime characters on their signs.

Origin of Akihabara’s Name

The area now known as Akihabara was originally a town where lower-class samurai resided during the Edo period. In 1870, after a fire, locals established the “Chinka Jinja” shrine in an open space, praying for fire prevention by enshrining the “Jinka Sanshin” gods. However, residents mistakenly associated the enshrined deity with the well-known fire-preventing deity in Edo, “Akihagongen.” They started calling the area “Akihabasha,” “Ikiha-nim,” etc., and the region became known as “Akihabara no Hara.”

Later, when a railway was introduced, the station initially named “Akihano Hara Station (あきはのはらえき)” was eventually referred to as “Akihabara.” Thus, the name “Akihabara” became associated with this location.

Akihabara Through the Ages

In the 1930s, a fruit market was established, and by the 1990s, Akihabara had transformed into a specialized computer market. From 1998 onward, it evolved into the well-known “otaku mecca,” offering various items related to hobbies like figures, gunpla, model trains, animation, and cars.

Famous Places in Akihabara

Some places and stores in Akihabara stand out, such as the iconic “Radio Kaikan” located not far from Akihabara Station. Another notable spot is the store called “Kotobukiya.” Of course, there are many other places worth exploring, including Akihabara UDX.

Maid Cafes in Akihabara

In Akihabara, you can also find maid cafes, where girls dressed as maids can be found enticing people to visit their cafes with lively promotions. While there are rumors of maids creating cute poses to entertain guests, the interior is usually off-limits for photography.

Akihabara, considered the sanctuary of Japanese subculture, has become globally recognized among otaku enthusiasts. It’s a must-visit for those interested in subcultures.

“Japan Tokyo, Akihabara UDX”

  • Address: 4 Chome-14-1. Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 101-0021, Japan
  • Phone Number: +81 3-5298-4185
  • UDX Website: http://udx.jp/