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The Not Otaku Guide to Akihabara

Akihabara is synonymous with its nerdy reputation. The town attracts visitors, both foreign and domestic, for both the wide range of electronics and the anime culture that has taken over. However, for those not interested or don’t consider themselves “otaku”, the self-identified nerds obsessed with anime, there is still plenty to see and buy in Akihabara. This northern part of Tokyo city has lots to offer for those looking for shopping or wanting to discover a different side of Electric Town.

  • 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    Located under the train tracks between stations, Akihabara and Okachimachi is a gathering of small art stores selling a variety of local goods. The artists focus more on handmade and artisan items rather than the shiny glitz that is sold outside the train tracks. Shoppers can find an assortment of handmade gifts with a wide range of prices. Pottery, hand-dyed fabric, and greeting cards are perfect souvenirs.

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

    2k540 puts a spin on the classic Japanese shotengai, or covered shopping arcade. Everything sold in 2k540 is made by the artist themselves, who are normally found in their own small space selling their own items. The street was inspired by the craftsmen who sold their own goods during the Edo period in Okachimachi. Now, the town centers are filled with larger brands and chain stores. Created by JR, 2k540’s goal is to bring the artisans back into the city and give shoppers the opportunity to purchase local goods.

  • 3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda is located inside a junior high school. Not a refurbished junior high school but rather, a working school with art galleries inside its classrooms. The three-story exhibition space hosts different artists in various classrooms.

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    The second floor houses a cafe, gift shop, Lomography store, and a gallery. The cafe, Copains de 3331, provides coffee from Glitch coffee, a popular roastery in northern Tokyo. They also serve light meals and are known for toasts and breads, the most popular being a long, soft loaf like a hot dog bun. The gift shop sells affordable goods related to the artists being featured and the art-related items found in most museums, such as Tokyo-centric art books. The art changes frequently, so be sure to check frequently!

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    3331 Arts Chiyoda

    The first and third floors have smaller exhibition spaces, located inside former classrooms. The artists range from college-aged painters to established digital artists. All of the rooms have different artists and different hours. It is best to wander aimlessly around the school and stumble upon the different worlds in each classroom.

  • MAAch Ecute Manseibashi

    MAAch Ecute Manseibashi

    MAAch Ecute Manseibashi

    Originally built in 1912 and formerly a stop on the Chuo line, the historic brick building of Manseibashi has been turned into a shopping and dining mall. Facing both the Kanda river and train tracks, MAAch Ecute houses a wide selection of restaurants, local shops, and cafes, making it perfect for day or night strolling. MAAch is the ideal combination of preserved historic architecture and commercial shopping. The building is well laid out with independent stores dotting the former train station along the river. The shops mostly sell handcrafted items at a higher price than the similar 2k540. Bespoke, locally made clothing is popular as well as homeware and pottery, which make distinctive souvenirs. MAAch also offers beer and wine bars where visitors can relax affordably post shopping.

    MAAch Ecute Manseibashi

    MAAch Ecute Manseibashi

    Akihabara
    Address
    Tokyo Chiyoda-ku Sotokanda
    Phone
    2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN
    Address
    Tokyo Taitou-ku Ueno 5-9-23
    Phone
    0368060254
    3331 Arts Chiyoda
    Address
    Tokyo Chiyoda-ku Sotokanda 6-chome 11-14
    Phone
    0368032441
    Maach Ecute Kanda Manseibashi
    Address
    Tokyo Chiyoda-ku Kandasudachou 1-25-4
    Phone
    0332578910
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