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Akihabara Walk

Akihabara 360 Tour | 360 Degree Tokyo Walk

This is a 2 minute 360 degree view of the area right out of JR Akihabara station, just swipe the screen left or right to move around. Timing around 6pm.

Akihabara (秋葉原) is a district of Tokyo that straddles the districts of Chiyoda and Taitō. It is famous for its many electronics and manga shops. It is also known as Akihabara Electric Town (秋葉原電気街, Akihabara denki-gai). The centre of this area is Akihabara Station.

After a terrible fire that devastated a large part of Tokyo in 1870, the authorities decided to create a cleared area to the northeast of the Imperial Palace to protect it from further fire. A shrine to a deity who protects people from the fire was built there. Over time, this vast uninhabited area became overgrown with trees and, in autumn, was soon covered with dead leaves, giving it the name 'Autumn Leaf Field' (Akiba-no-hara).

The construction of an underground station in 1890 finally allowed it to develop. The area was destroyed during the Second World War. It was later taken over by local students who set up shop on the street or in small stalls to sell radios and other electrical appliances that they fashioned from the surplus that the army sold them. Thus was born the electronics market, which continued to grow, thanks to the boom in household appliances in the 1960s and then in computers in the 1980s.

The three kanji (Japanese characters of Chinese origin) that make up Akiba-no-hara can also be read as Akihabara. This last reading, which is shorter, became popular at the beginning of the century - the regulars also call it Akiba. The success of Akihabara lies in the fact that until now, it has managed to make small ultra-specialised shops cohabit alongside the consumer electronics "supermarkets". However, in recent years, the giant Japanese electronics companies (Laox, Sofmap, and even Yodobashi Camera and Yamada Denki) have been buying up small, struggling shops to turn them into annexes to their own. In the small shops located in covered markets or narrow streets, one can find a whole range of spare parts and accessories, from electric festoons to video surveillance equipment, including all sorts of electronic components and power strips. The big shops are the kings of the latest household appliances, mobile phones, computers and video games. There are also department stores on the main roads that sell duty-free goods for tourists.

In the early 2000s, more and more manga or anime shops became electronics shops. Shinjuku West is gradually gaining importance as a consumer electronics district, while Akihabara is increasingly aimed at enthusiasts and otaku. This new public leads to an amusing phenomenon, the presence in maid cafe shops and on the street of manga-style waitresses, the maid. There are also the AKB48, the famous idol group based in Akihabara. The area is also known for vintage video game shops like Super Potato.
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