Akihabara is arguably one of the most vibrant, crazy and fun places in Tokyo. A visitor’s long time favorite, the Electric Town has anything you may need to satisfy your manga, anime and videogame cravings.
Akihabara is arguably one of the most vibrant, crazy and fun places in Tokyo.
Akihabara (Akiba for short) is an unmissable spot, however, it can be really overwhelming! That’s why a little help from a local guide can make your visit just perfect and save you time of wandering around trying to find the must-see spots. Enter Magical Trip Japan and their Akihabara Anime and Games Tour!!
As you may already know I love Akiba and I go there more or less often, but I do remember my first time visiting it. It was a lot to take in, I didn’t know where anything was, and even maid cafes seemed a little too much for me! I would have loved a local friend to show me around.
That’s exactly the approach Magical Trip Takes, a friendly face that will guide you through the best stores, gaming spots, gachapon shops and merch showrooms. In English, of course! So you can actually learn about this amazing area and enjoy it like a local. Let’s see what we did in our own Akihabara Tour…
Your local guide, in our case the lovely Rina~san, will accompany you for three hours. In this time, they will immerse you in the “local side” of this amazing Tokyo area.
I enjoyed learning more about Akiba and all the fun facts that Rina had in store for us. Did you know that the world famous idol group AKB48 takes its name from here? Also, you may also know that Akihabara is considered the otaku capital of the world, but your local guide will be able to explain you EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to know about the unique otaku culture.
Rina~san was very friendly and quickly became one of the group. She went above and beyond to share with us the insights that only a local would know. Thank you, Rina!
Buckle up! Your local guide will take you to…
1. THE retro videogame center.
You will love playing all the classics- and maybe purchasing some treasures for yourself? We played one that Rina-san suggested -8bit tetris style!- and it was a lot of fun (although I lost… T_T ).
You can either play at the store for a few ¥ (they even have snacks like ramen available for you) or buy some oldies to play at home. If you miss your old school famicom, you’ll have the opportunity to bring it to your household again. Me? I drooled over the Game Boy classics. Ah, I still dream of that Pokémon Pikachu Edition!
2. One of the biggest Japanese pop culture shopping departments.
Your guide will tell you all about the current trends and explain anything you may want to know! I was curious about some CD’s, and Rina told us that right now, those albums in which pleasant (or sexy!) voice actors are recorded talking or whispering are a big hit! Who knew! This stop is a great chance to stock up on gifts for your friends at home. From plushies to figurines to clothing, there’s something for everyone.
3.A hidden store that has EVERY gachapon you can imagine. EVERY. Trust me on this.
If you don’t know about ガチャポン, it’s a ball that contains a small surprise gift. It’s really popular in Japan and they cover all themes! There are food gachapon, anime gachapon, animal gachapon… you name it. I loved learning about the most curious ones. Many of them are closely related to parts of Japanese culture and history! Browse around and have fun gathering some unique gadgets.
4.The number one Maid Cafe in Akiba!
I actually enjoyed it so much! It was an adorable experience and the food and drinks were cute and delicious! It was great coming with a local guide since she was able to tell us about the Japanese songs the maids were singing/dancing to. Super helpful if you don’t speak Japanese!
Photos/videos of the girls and other customers are not allowed but you can take photos and videos of your group. Also you can get a special package in which your food and drink come with the cutest polaroid souvenir. You can choose which maid to take the photo with- I took mine with Reina, you can see it below.
This cafe is extra special because the maids are kitten maids! Be prepared to awww with their cute outfits and playful attitude. Nyan nyan!! (That’s meow in Japanese!)
5.The best place for purikura!
You simply must try the ultimate kawaii photo experience! Here, you take a series of pictures that are automatically “cutiefied”: smooth skin, long limbs and big eyes! Basically, you get the idol makeover! Before you get your photo, you can personalize them with an extensive editing tool. Time to let your creativity flow!
6.The perfect omiyage store (all for you…or for your family & friends back home, I’m not judging! Heheh)
The ideal shop if you’re looking for the coveted Japanese KitKat (with flavors such as wasabi, sake or matcha) or just some cute/quirky/unique bites to bring back. Ask your local guide which are the best or more authentic. Rina~San adviced us to get some Japanese favorites from her own childhood, so we added those to our KitKat loot!
To me, it sums up perfectly what Akiba is about… fun and games! After our Akihabara Tour I felt like I could not add any other experience to it. Time flew with Rina~san and we had a blast! I wish they would have been around when I came to Tokyo for the first time.
Feel free to take a look at the Akihabara Tour by Magical trip, but do also check out their other tours! They have tours in Tokyo, Kamakura, Osaka and Kyoto too. Whether you want to bar-hop like a local, see Sumo, have a karaoke night or cycle the streets of Tokyo, there’s something for everyone. Special mention to the Tokyo Vegan Tour!
This post was kindly sponsored by Magical Trip Japan. My thoughts are my own.
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