Sunday, April 20, 2008


Akihabara I would say is a geek's heaven. People who loves IT electronics and game consoles like PSP would love this place. In Singaporean terms, its an area that combines Funan and Sim Lim Square together into one place. This is one of the places we visited in Hokkaido for my Hokkaido 8day tour. Surprised? Actually its not part of the tour. We forfeited the DisneyLand tour because we're not suckers for theme parks. :)

We took a train from Maihama station at Tokyo DisneyLand. Taking the train though requires you have to have super eyesight, and knowledge of the Japanese language. Before reaching each station, it will actually announce the train station name in Japanese. However, they added a whole lot of words in-between so if you are not listening to the announcements carefully, you would have missed the train station name. That is also presuming you know the name of the train station in Japanese. The train station name is printed on the pillars though so if you lost track, just pop your head out and look for the pillars. It would have the station's name on it, in both Japanese and English. One pillar will have the Japanese station name, the other will be in English.

We changed trains to Akihabara station at the big Tokyo interchange. I learned one thing in Tokyo though. If you're a shopaholic, and do not want to "waste time" eating, you could always grab a bite in the train station itself. There are many shops selling food within the station itself, and they are priced relatively okay.

Tokyo station is very big. If you need to change trains in Tokyo, rule of thumb is that you have to take note of which railway line you'll need to switch to. There's a color code to it. After that, just look out for the line's color code in the train station, and "follow the arrow". The station is very big so its easy to get lost. More so if you do not know the Japanese language. If I remember correctly, the line to Akihabara station is the Yamanote line. I might be wrong as I cannot remember that well. :p Below is a quick picture of the internal of Tokyo station:

Upon reaching the platform itself, look out for the pillars near the escalators. The pillars would have information on which train is going which direction. This is important because you do not want to go the opposite direction. Below is the picture of Akihabara station on the outside:

Akihabara is famous for 3 things.
  1. IT gadgets like cameras, laptops
  2. Cosplay during the weekends. There's a manga cafe in the vicinity
  3. It's featured in the movie, L. :)

I'm not joking for point 3. The area where L bought the robot for the little boy is at Akihabara. The picture below shows one of the many streets within Akihabara:

In Akihabara, the "Funan" area is actually all the bigger shops lined up near the main road. There are some duty free shops there so if you wish to get cameras, PSP or nintendo, go for the duty free shops. You'll get 5% off (sales tax).

The Sim Lim Square shops are the ones behind the bigger shops. They are mostly found in the streets behind the bigger shops. However after looking at some of the items there, I think you can get it cheaper in Singapore. A Transcend 8GB flash drive there costs about SGD70. Over here, a 8GB flash drive costs less the SGD50 I believe (IT fair). Not sure about the other accessories.

However, I find that the Japanese-made electronics are cheap. That means cameras, video-cams, and IT gadgets like playstation, PSP by Japanese companies like Sony, Ricoh, etc. I could get a Sony video-cam for about SGD1600 over at Akihabara (minus tax). Nintendo DS Lite costs about SGD215 with the adapter (Japan uses a different voltage from Singapore). You can get a cheaper adapter at Sim Lim Square so you can actually get a DS Lite for under SGD200. The adapters there look cool though. :)

I think we basically spent about 6-7hours walking around the area. It also has a few big shopping malls, selling mainly electronics stuff. No worries about food there because there are quite a few shops there selling food. There's also Yoshinoya. :)

There is also a manga cafe in one of the buildings. Did not go in though, but I believe that cafe was featured in the movie, L. :) Akihabara supposedly to be quite popular among cosplayers in Tokyo. However, you'll need to go there in the weekends I believe. Not sure about that. Just something I've heard. Didn't see any cosplayers there, but we were there on a weekday.

All in all, it was a fun day and I would like to go back there again. :) Below is the night scene of Akihabara:


Rhinestic said...

dear.. it's Yamanote.. not yamamote..

chantc said...


Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

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