One train stop down from Ueno Park is Akihabara, the center of otaku culture in Japan. The area is famous for its multiple large arcades (some 6 floors), video and anime stores as well as electronics galore.
Without a goal in mind, we started browsing stores that looked interesting. On a given street we’d see stores at street level, as well as stairs up to more hidden away. We wandered through an arcade watching people play games I’d never seen before. Looked through a few game and figurine stores at characters both muscular and skimpy and eventually headed out.
Akihabara was one of the few let downs of the trip. I imagine 15-years-ago-me would’ve enjoyed it more, but today-me was more concerned about the maid cafe hostesses being harassed in the streets. Oh yeah, there are a lot of maid cafes there.
We wanted to take more photos inside shops and arcades, but none of them allowed any kind of recording. One thing was most surprising was that many arcades had an entire floor dedicated to taking photos together in groups. Some of these had entire floors that were women-only too!
Although we didn’t walk away from Akihabara with a feel for anime culture, that would change the following day when we went to our favorite stop of the trip: the Ghibli Museum.