Akihabara (秋葉原) is known in the world as the centre of Japan for anime, electronics and computers. It has one of the busiest train station in Japan and is a very important cultural place in modern Japan.
The name Akihabara is shortening of the Japanese word Akibagahara which means Autumn leaf forest. It is also known as Akihabara Electric Town or Akihabara Denki Gai because it was know for it’s electric goods after world war 2.
Akihabara is located near the centre of Tokyo in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo. Akihabara has a population of approximately 1.9 million people where the majority are in 20 – 45 year age range.
Akihabara was originally consisted of many towns and was a place where there was many timber traders did their business. In 1869 a great big fire engulfed the town and after the fire a shrine was built in 1870 called Akiba.
As a result of the fire, a shrine was built called Akiba which means fire extinguisher. In 1890, the Akihabara station was opened by Japan Rail and then on the town was hence officially called Akihabara.
Before and during World War II, Akihabara was known as a place where many railway lines intersected at this station such as the Ginza Line. Akihabara was seen as the transport and railway centre of Japan. A railway museum was built here during this era which has subsequently closed down.
After the second world war, Akihabara was known as a black market selling electronic and household goods such as televisions, electronic parts (such as vacuum tubes) and radio.
During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Akihabara quickly grew fast into an electronic town which sells every electronic parts, television and computers items that you will ever need. CIA and KGB spies were known to frequent Akihabara to get certain electronics and specialists parts for spying and espionage needs.
Up to the 70’s Akihabara was also known for it’s fruit and growers market as many railway lines intersected at Akihabara and was a hub for transportation here.
In the 80’s and beyond, Akihabara was quickly known as an Otaku town because it attracted anime, manga and videogame culture due to electronic and computer videogame boom that Japan experienced during this time.
Akihabara is now quickly known as tourist town where tourists can buy the latest electronics and experience modern Japanese culture like anime and manga.
Currently the biggest computer and electronic store is located here in Akihabara and there is a massive amount of otaku culture such as maid cafes, videogames stores and more surrounding this area.
Akihabara is located in the Chiyoda-ku district in Tokyo. It is surrounded by Sotokanda (外神田) on the West side of Akihabara, Sakumachō (神田佐久間町) situated on the East side and Taito (台東区).
Akihabara buildings are made mostly of high rise buildings, offices and apartment buildings. One of the main buildings of Akihabara is Akihabara UDX, Akihabara Dai Building, ultra-high-rise apartment of TOKYO TIMES TOWER, and the Yodobashi Camera.
Sotokanda is situated on the north side of the Kanda River out of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Soto-Kanda means outside of Kanda. This is where the main offices and skyscrapers of Akihabara is situated and is West of Akihabara station.
This is the place where there was many fires in the past has happened. Sakuma Park is a famous park in this area and a plaque is placed here to commemorate the past fires here in the past. There are many shops and shopping centres around this area and is East and South of Akihabara station.
Taito is located South of Kanda river. Here is where Edo – the cultural capital of Japan used to be located here. There are many shrines and temples in Taito. The most famous and biggest in Tokyo, Senso-ji is located near here. Taito is generally more quieter than other places in Tokyo. Good place to stay if you like less hustle and bustle of Tokyo.