Afternoon in Akihabara

posted in: Japan Trip 2012 | 0

Today I’m spending a relaxed Sunday, roaming about Akihabara and visiting some favorite manga and hobby stores. Being a Sunday, the streets are closed to auto traffic and open for pedestrians to stroll…

12:00noon JST

Armed with a Match vitamin drink, I’m off to the subway but this time I’m taking a new route, the Hibya line straight into Akihabara. On past trips I’ve always used the JR Yamanote line from Tokyo station. The subway and Hibya line, however, are so much more convenient from our launch point in Monzen Nakacho.

First order of business is to stop by Vie de France for a leisurely lunch and hot tea, and then its out on the plaza for a little photography. Every Sunday, the main street in Akihabara is closed off to automobile traffic so that pedestrians can mill about in the middle of the streets… and what a gorgeous, clear, sunny day it is for strolling from store to store! Shoppers aren’t cosplaying in the streets anymore, though, the only costumes in evidence being on the “maids” handing out flyers. Five years ago the whole “Maid Cafe” thing was new and cool but now you run a literal gauntlet of maids in the streets of Akihabara, all beckoning to serve you at their respective cafes.

1:30pm JST

My first stop on this “leisurely” shopping tour will be K-Books, an awesome book store that was located across the street from Akihabara station in the building that has been demolished. Their new store is just as capable and …. oh my god did I pig out on the manga, but I got some great titles: Doraemon, Ghost in the Shell 2 Bilingual edition, Appleseed XIII…!

That’s just the first floor “new” section, next I head up to the second floor “used” section where I find toys and figures, used manga, CDs, DVDs and doujinshi. There isn’t a lot in the “used manga” section that I really want, except the first two volumes of Sargent Frog and a “food manga.” Moyashimon is tempting, but I’m trying to show restraint and I already have several Moyashimon volumes at home.

3:45pm JST

Next stop is Good Smile Cafe, on the fifth floor above K-Books. Good Smile Cafe is the store front of Good Smile Company, home of Danny Choo. Sadly the line to the cafe section is long long long so I browsed their selection of new Figma figures and bailed.

4:00pm JST

Ok, now we move on to another favorite, “Toranoana” which is Japanese for “Tiger’s Den”, and an absolute paradise for manga and doujinshi enthusiasts.

5:00pm JST

The sky has turned a deep purple as the sun sets and the police open up the streets to traffic again. Shopping in Akiba is hard work, so we take a break for dinner at Mos Burger. I remember this Mos Burger from five years ago and head upstairs to the cat loft, overlooking the street below. Across the street we can see Liberty Hobby, Figure Hobby and Toys Golden Age… the next three shops on the list.

5:30pm JST

Liberty Hobby is great for rail fans and also chock full of wonderful and expensive model train stock. Golden Age Toys we pass but promise to return to some other day, then visit Liberty Hobby where I find a Masked Rider Datack figure for a friend back in the States. Lastly we pay a visit to Animate… another huge seller of manga and figures. I buy the first three volumes of Spice & Wolf.

7:00pm JST

The camel is starting to groan under the weight of all that I’ve collected on my “leisurely” afternoon so we had back to the Hibya line subway station, just a stone’s throw from JR Akihabara station. Instead of hopping on the Tozai line for the last leg home, Andrew suggests that we get off at Kayabachō and WALK across the Eitai Dori bridge. This turns out to be a longer walk than if we had taken the connecting Tozai line but hey, its something different.

We’re amuzed to find two photographers taking pictures of Tskushima from the bridge. That Sumidagawa and Eiitaibashi are attractive sights I must say.