Hello hello for another blog post~ it’s been quite a long time. Also for this year I didn’t write a blog post about Anime Festival Asia Indonesia, so instead I’ll write about my recent trip to Akihabara. Hopefully this could help you if you ever wanted to plan your first trip or anything ^^
As for me, this isn’t exactly my first time going to Japan since I went last year with a tour group, but this time I plan the trip myself so I can go and explore the city I’ve always wanted to go to, Akihabara.
Like what probably a lot of people think I was also really nervous before I finally decided to go, because my japanese language skills is next to zero ^^; but it turns out even with the language barrier it’s perfectly possible to survive and explore Akiba for days (and of course shopping!)
First for the planning, there are many site like http://www.japan-guide.com/ that gives guide about the city you wanted to visit, transportation (how to get there), hotel recommendation, and tourism spots. You can book your hotels from site like agoda or booking.com for free of charge and pay at the hotel during your arrival. For the visa (Indonesian still needs visa to go) I asked a travel agency to took care of it.
Flight from Jakarta takes about 7 hours to Tokyo, so I took a midnight flight and arrived at 9 AM Tokyo Time. From the airport, if you are a light traveller, you can use bus or local train or anything else to go to the city (taxi is not recommended though, very expensive). But if you bring giant suitcases like me (I need that suitcase for my loots, okay?!), it is more convenient to take the Keisei skyliner train. The train is very spacey, you got reserved seats, luggage space, cabin space, table, etc. It is also an express train, only about 45 minutes ride to Ueno. The price is a bit more expensive, ¥2400 per person, but it is easier and faster. From Ueno we can transfer to JR Yamanote Line and Akihabara is just 2 stations away.
In Akiba I stayed at Remm Hotel, a hotel very close to the station, chuo dori main street, and located on Akiba Tolim mall building. Another recommended hotel is Washington hotel located just across the street. Remm is just a standard hotel, small lobby, no restaurant (you get coupon to eat at a cafe in Tolim if you asked for breakfast), but it is a very nice hotel. The standard room (like most of city hotel room in Japan) is small. But it doesn’t really bother me because of course, what I need more than bed is…
free high speed internet access. Yay. The view from my room is also facing the chuo dori and UDX building.
A few sumarry of the shops you can find on the mainstreet:
Sofmap: There are maybe four or five Sofmap stores along the main street. It’s mainly an electronic store, but it also sells figures and games. I actually planned to buy headphone there, and turns out they have like hundreds of stocks and you can try on all of them. I spend a good one hour testing out cheap to the most expensive headphone before choosing one 😀
Radio Kaikan: There is Akihabara souvenir shops on the first floor that sells anime-themed snacks and cookies like Maid Cookies and Akiba Moe Moe Cookies. The rest sells merchandises, manga, books, and figures, Azone shop is also located here. It’s a 10 floor building so you will take your time browsing there XD
Laox and Akky: Duty free shops that sell souvenirs and electronics. It doesn’t have as many stocks as Sofmap though, and Sofmap is also duty free, so I bought there instead.
Yodobashi-Akiba: A giant mall with even more stocks of electronics! XD what did you expect? Akihabara is well known as electric town 😛 it also has many games for all kind of consoles, book stores, CDs and DVDs, the top floors are full with restaurants.
Mandarake: Second hand shops for CDs, games, and also- of course- figures! You need to browse the shelves because sometimes there are different figures put behind figures on the front, and if you’re lucky you can get ridiculously low prices on good items! But because the figures are second hand, you should check on box damage and stuffs. The figure itself is usually in good condition though.
Animate: Quite a fun experience lining up with many other people outside animate before it opens. Mainly merchandise shops for all anime, and also all kind of official merchandises. Books, t-shirts, keychain, earphones, pens, note book, mouse pad, you name it and you can find it there! Oh, did I mention pillows, towels, posters, coasters, bags– okay you got the point 😛 I ended up spending more money here than on figures ^^;
Figure hunting is not only limited in the main street, small shops along the streets also have all kind of figures and merchs, and shops like Kotobukiya is located in alleys so make sure to explore thoroughly!
Other fun things to do is to spend time playing games in the arcade like Club Sega and Taito, I finally can play P4 Ultimax and Project Diva Arcade! ^0^ The music sounds in the arcades is sooo frickin’ loud because there are many music games in one floor so there is usually headphones available or you can use your own to connect to the machine.
I did not go in to any maid cafes, but many of the maids are on the street giving out brochures to promote. The popular ones are probably @home cafe and maid dreamin’. I only met one cosplayer though, an employee in Club Sega. Wish I could have meet more TToTT at night there was also Nozomi but I didn’t took photos because it was already dark.
Most of the shops are closed from 7 – 8 PM, so afterwards I just walk around for sightseeing. Food bars are open until late night though. I didn’t eat in mall restaurants because the food price is quite expensive, I ate in local fast food restaurants/cafes along the streets, sometimes I bought set meal from convenience stores. You can ask the clerk to heat it and it actually tastes really delicious ^^; (much cheaper too). Some restaurants have english menu for we who don’t understand japanese, or you could just point to the pictures, some also have ordering machine so you just have to show your tickets to the waiter.
Sight seeing at night is very nice, the streets is still crowded even in 10 PM. Akihabara also has the most wonderful scenery
Giant billboards ❤
The shops at the time I visited is currently filled with Love Live! and Kantai Collection. Even just walking in Chuo dori you heard Love Live! songs played everywhere so it sounds like they’re all playing the same songs XD There are many figure displays inside (but make sure that it is okay to take photos because some have the ‘no photo’ sign), and the giant banners are not only limited at the building outside since they also filled the shops and elevators.
Hungry? Buy some snacks!
Lawson has a lot of collab snacks and merchandises.
Eroge, adult figures, and other ecchi merchandises are put on a specific floors, or separated with closed doors or curtains that said “no entry under 18” so I can’t tell you what’s inside since I can’t even get it (duh) ^^;
Other places I visited are Tamashii Nation Akiba Showroom, Gundam cafe, Tokyo Anime Centre in UDX building (it is also a tourist information centre, you can get information pamphlets in many languages), Nitro+ Chiral shop.
Omake: my iPad looks fabulous now.
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