Akihabara- a guide to the capital of geek culture

Although Akihabara had initially become famous for electronics, this shopping district is now more famous for being the capital of anime, manga and gaming. The nearest station is Akihabara station, and you can really spend several days exploring this massive shopping mecca. 

Main Shopping

The locations of all places with an asterisk* can be found on this map.

image from https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3003.html
image from http://cooljapan-city.com/anime_otaku/gamers_honten/
Gamers is an anime goods store that carries the latest magazines, CDs and character goods. This shop always keeps up to the latest trends, but that means you won't really get older stuff here. There is an entire section for manga, and another for voice actor goods. There are a grand total of 8 floors!

image from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gail-nakada/tokyo-akihabara-must-see-_b_3863989.html
Mandarake are second hand stores that specialize in used anime and gaming related goods. Items are always of pristine quality and are considerably cheaper. This is where to go if you want merchandise for older games or series, and you may even find rare old items.

image from https://matcha-jp.com/en/1042
A department store that has a separate branch for each of the goods they specialise in. They have a computer store, a music store, an amusement store, a second hand store, a games and anime store and more.
image from http://www.laox.co.jp/en/stores/daimarukyoto/
Laox is the duty free retail store selling watches, skin care products, electronics, jewelry and more! The multilingual customer service and cheaper prices make it extremely popular. 
Yodobashi Camera*
image from http://muza-chan.net/photo/picture.php?/35/category/akihabara-tokyo-japan
Similar to Bic Camera, this is a massive department store with everything electronic, sporting related, office and home items, and more. Again, entire floors are dedicated to genres of items such as games or cameras. 

image from http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-feature/2013/04/02/feature-colorful-vividred-operation-exhibitions-at-animategamers-akihabara-stores
Animate is Japan’s largest retail chain for anime goods. Akihabara has three branches, with one catered specifically to women called Animate Akiba girls' station. Animate sells official anime goods that are made directly by the main manufacturers. Below are the locations of all 3 stores (station in brown is JR Akihabara Station)
image from http://jpninfo.com/56821
image from https://tokyogirlsupdate.com/guide/lashinbang-akihabara-anime-secondhand/img-lashinbang-akihabara-01
This is a second hand anime goods store where you can find high quality goods at cheaper prices. The Akihabara branch of Lashinbang is actually the largest outlet in Japan. Their figurines tend to be on the cheaper side, and since items are second hand, you can sometimes find really rare or old items. You can buy cosplay costumes here!
For information on all locations click here

image from http://www.kawaiiotaku.com/kotobukiya-akihabara-september-9/
A popular Manga and merchandise shop where entire sections are dedicated to specific anime series' and games' merchandise. They are especially kown for their figurines and plastic models, which range from anime to Marvel and DC comic book heroes.

Don Quijote
image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AKIHABARA_DONKIHOTE.jpg
Pronounced Don-ki-ho-te, this popular discount store sells everything from electronics to pharmaceutical products. This is where you can buy maid and cosplay items, or just go around shopping for souvenirs. While you're in the store, you can also enjoy its famous store theme song.

Tower records
1-7LaRiaJ064-WL3WIFC5elg.jpeg 173.52 KB
An international music store that holds all the latest Jpop, Jrock and Kpop albums and anime soundtracks. You can also find American and English artists here, and you may be even pleasantly surprised by the selection of older rock and pop albums.

Main Arcades

All arcade locations can be found on this awesome website, along with a full list of arcades.

Club Sega
image from https://matcha-jp.com/en/1058
There are a total of 3 Sega buildings, filled with 100 to 300 yen claw machines, arcade video games, gachapon and more. A new VR attraction has also opened at Club SEGA Akihabara New Centre!
Taito Hey
image from http://beacon-akiba.com/en/spot/S0000000172.html
Taito Hey is another one of Akihabara's famous arcades with plenty if claw machines, but is best known for its large selection of competitive video games.
image from https://matcha-jp.com/en/1058?page=2
Sega Gigo is an absolutely massive 6 story arcade building will all your favourite arcade games, purikura and claw machines. All the music games are on the 3rd floor. The building is pretty difficult to miss.
Super Potato
image from https://ruzhiwashere.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/retro-gaming-and-childhood-memories-at-super-potato-akihabara/
A special arcade where entire floors are dedicated to retro games that you can play! You can also browse their collection of retro hand held games and purchase cartridges of absurdly high quality for its age. 


 Gundam Wing cafe*
image from https://myanimelist.net/featured/418/A_Comprehensive_Guide_to_Anime_Themed_Cafes_in_Japan
If you're a fan of mechs, this is the place to go! All the food and decor is inspired by the hugely successful Gundam franchise. Both set meals and a la carte options are available.
For more information click here.

 Eorzea cafe
image from https://introvertjapan.com/2015/01/07/final-fantasy-xivs-eorzea-cafe-in-akihabara/
Gamers, take note! This cafe is based on Final Fantasy XIV. There is a monster menu, primal menu, job class menu and character menu. You also receive a stamp card which when filled can be exchanged for merchandise.
Getting tickets (yes, you need a ticket in advance) is a bit tricky because you need to navigate through Japanese webpages/ Lawson in Japan. Here's a guide to help you, and information from their website.

AKB48 cafe*
image from https://sweetenedup.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/akb48-cafe-crash/
AKB48 is well known for being both Japan's most popular all girl group and its largest. Their cafe is specialised to cater to fans who may not have the opportinity to attend concerts or meet and greets, with screens featuring the latest concerts and a gift shop filled with merchandise.
For more information click here.

Maid cafes
image from https://matadornetwork.com/abroad/like-inside-japanese-maid-cafe/
Maid cafes are a type of cosplay restaurants found and created in Japan. Akihabara is the birth place of maid cafes, with the original being Cure Maid Café, but most other maid cafes today have evolved to heavily play up the cuteness factor. @home cafe* and Maidreamin are the most well known maid cafes in Akihabara. 
Animal cafes
image from http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/pets/article/Cat-cafe-coming-to-San-Antonio-11199191.php
Akihabara is also home to a wide variety of animal cafes. While cat cafes like Mocha will perhaps always be the most popular, you can also find rabbit cafes like Moff Rell and bird cafes like forrest of owl. Generally these cafes charge based on time spent. 
Good smile x animate cafe
image from http://thecosplaychronicles.blogspot.sg/2015/04/good-smile-x-animate-cafe-touken-ranbu.html
An anime cafe that features different anime on a rotational basis, generally featuring the most recent and popular anime. past collaborations include My Hero academia and Love Live.

Kanda Shrine

image from http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/shrine-protect-information-technology
Technically, Kanda shrine is not in Akihabara, but is beside it. Nevertheless, I included it in this guide because of the rather interesting sights found within the temple, with tablets and fortunes being decorated with anime girls.
image from https://illostrophy.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/kanda-shrine-manga-prayer-tags/
This Shrine enshrines three deities- Daikokuten, Ebisu and Taira Masakado- a feudal lord who was deified. Many people visit the shrine to pray for prosperity, especially during the Kanda Festival, known as one of the three great festivals of Japan.

Asha Mehta