31 July 2009

Akihabara 2009 Day Trip

Possibly one of the most anticipated part of going to Japan? (laughs)

Day 4: Spending the whole afternoon in Akihabara.

Note - Again no pictures of shops' interiors as there's an emphasis on the rule that no photography is allowed.

Breakfast: Onigiri. Onigiri's are usually packaged this way so that the seaweed is not in contact with the rice in order to keep dry and fresh

There are a few but simple steps on preparing it. First off tear the middle part around the onigiri.

Pull one side of the package - this automatically gets the seaweed to wrap around the rice.

Pull the other side as well...

Done! Now the onigiri is ready to be eaten~

Lunch - Tonkatsu in Sunshine City.

It's worth mentioning that me and mother noticed a rice dispenser in the kitchen. With a press of a button rice falls out like grains into the rice bowl, always in equal amounts. This saves the time and effort of having to scoop out rice into the bowl and keeping consistency. o_o

Fried shrimps for mother.

A crisper look at the tonkatsu

Anyway, enough with the food. After the tonkatsu lunch, I went to Akihabara by myself while the rest continued shopping in Ikebukuro.

Akihabara JR Station Electric Town Entrance - remember to take this exit when you got there - the Chuo Avenue (中央通り), which is literally the high street of Akihabara.

Getting out of Akihabara JR Station and the first noticeable building is usually the Radio Kaikan.

There are 6 floors to it as follows (source from the guide book I use, excluding small shops):
  • 7/F - Yellow Submariine (Game Shop / Scale Shop), VOLKS (Rental Showcase)
  • 6/F - VOLKS (Akihabara branch)
  • 4/F - Kaiyodo, Yellow Submarine (G-Shop)
  • 3/F - K-BOOKS (whole floor)
  • 2/F - Kotobukiya

1/1 Kenshiro statue outside Kaiyodo shop
You are already sold out.

Eva Unit 04s on display.

Uchusen (宇宙船, i.e. spaceship). The "Animate" shops in Hong Kong are related to this, and not the ones of the same name in Japan. Confusing, isn't it?

Volks Akihabara branch. Finally got to see the Dollfies myself, and

VOLKS Rental Showcase - basically a store with many labelled shelves so you pick what stuff you like and grab them all at the end.

Example right here - say I want this particular black plane (which is seen in my loot post last month), then I grab a form and write down the shelf number it belongs to as well as the item's number. Write down how number of items wanted and hand it to the cashier at the end. A member of staff will lead me to each shelf I've requested and unlock them so I can grab them. Once everything's ok I pay the money and it's done.

Such shops are great for hunting smaller toys such as gashapons, shokugans, and other harder-to-get items that may be gone in many places already.

Kotobukiya store on ground floor. There's also one on the 2nd floor but I will show that on the next trip post.


PSP game Project DIVA, not yet released at the time of visit.

Nendo Miku as well as a Miku Itansha on display there

AsoBitCity - hobby chain stores. These stores tend to focus more on models and such, so it's not so much of a hit for figure collectors.

Setsuna's dream of becoming a Gundam has finally come true XD

Animate store in Akihabara. Not as big as the one in Ikebukuro, but definitely more crowded.

Generally Animate always sells things at retail price, so if you are looking for cheap stuff, this may not be the place to go for in the first place as other stores tend to sell the same items for a discount.

Liberty - another hobby chain store. They are pretty varied so you have to look and see what each particular branch focuses on (e.g. models, figures, games etc)

A huge poster of Prime Minister Aso Taro

Figure Hobby Kan - I surprisingly took a long time loitering around there - many second hand or resold items can be found there. T'is one of these places where you can look for hard-to-find items such as exclusive figures etc.

Notice how many buildings in Tokyo are thin and tall. Hong Kong has many highrises but are usually not as squeezed as Tokyo's.

SofMap is another

Nightlife in Akihabara

GiGO - various arcade games can be played there, and each floor are sorted by game categories. Ikebukuro has one too which I've forgotten to mention last time.

LaOX Hobby - another hobby chain store similar to AsoBitCity (i.e. mostly models and such), so another one that figure collectors may like to skip.

Mini 4WD courses spotted in LaOX Hobby store. When I was little there was a hype of mini 4WDs in Hong Kong (obviously brought by Japan's hype wave), and many kids had their own mini 4WD. It's nostalgic seeing this popping up again.

Nightlife in Akihabara 2

Angel Beats! is getting animated soon. Anyone know anything about it?

Dream Club; I somehow almost mistakened it as IDOLM@STER

On my way back in Ikebukuro there's really heavy rain going on there. Even with a raincoat and an umbrella my lower half has gone completely soaked.

But t'is good that my mother and sister have ordered me a large curry rice dish in advance for my dinner, which was a good way to end the day.

I couldn't finish going through Akihabara in one day, mainly because I got stuck in some shops and loitered around too much. As a result I ended up only visiting one side of Chuo Ave, and had to revisit it again on the next day. Since my sister was still on her shopping spree with her friend, that didn't cause interference to my compromised plan.


  1. Oh man, I can't believe Mini 4WD is still popular after all these years, the last time I played with one was in 1998 (we called them 四驱车) in China. I only have a basic kit, couldn't afford custom parts, even though looking back, those expenses were nothing compared to what I have to deal with today orz.

    Also, that itasha is a MV Agusta right? It looks just like the one Mahoro has.

    You know, the first thing after I get accepted to medical school is to go on a shopping spree in Akiba. Motivation FTW ^_^

  2. Yum yum @ the food. I want the ebi tempura!!!
    Looking at the onigiri, i really have to talk about how Singapore's onigiri is like. They have no such thing as "keep the seaweed fresh and dry". Everytime i buy one, the seaweed just stuck to the rice. T T The seaweed is like so soft.

  3. Awesome coverage
    That Miku Itansha looks interesting, would love to snag one^^ Need to go there, get in that koto shop and snag a few zoids^^

    That volks rental thing seems interesting, but a lot of work instead of just grabbing items and taking them to the counter>.>
    That 1/1 Kenshiro was beastxD

  4. I remember spending days walking round Akihabara; never got tired of it >=D

  5. So u left the Kotobukiya store empty handed? How is that possible.
    I can NEVER do that. LOL

    Figure Hobby Kan will be the store to visit when I'm there as I love exclusives. xD

  6. i actually happened upon that same mini4wd track during my trip! was wondering what the weird sounds were coming from the other side of the room ^^;

    seeing that tonkatsu is making me hungry. i always eat some tonkatsu in japan because no one here in the us seems to do it right.

    did you see the new kotobukiya display room on the 2nd floor of radio kaikan? i was gonna ask the staff if picture taking was ok (didn't see any signs) but never got around to it -_-

  7. @ gndynames:
    Seeing those Mini 4WDs all of a sudden surely is a surprise and brings back memories.

    I know hardly anything about motorbikes, but the itansha does look like a MV Augusta. Very interesting~

    Do look forward to the day that you can get to experience Akihabara in person!

    @ Chappy:
    Having onigiri eaten with moist and sticky seaweed surely isn't as enjoyable. Those outside Japan should adopt this nifty packaging too!

    @ blueplains:
    The rental showcase is a little bit like IKEA for larger objects, so you don't have to go back and forth with the stuff you want and grab them all in one go at the end. It also means that rarer items are more secured that way until they really are removed from shelf for purchase.

    And yep Kenshiro surely looks awesome there~ ^^

    @ Snark:
    Tiredness just disappears from our minds when we are simply enjoying ourselves, right? ^^

    @ Optic:
    Official stores tend to sell their own products at original prices, so it's better to go to other retail stores if you want to get them with a small discount.

    ... And you know that I'm a really picky person when it comes to figures anyway ^^;

    @ AstrayP03 (Zhe):
    I afraid I have to tell you that there'll be more food to get you drooling in the next few weeks XD

    @ meronpan:
    It's difficult to find Japanese food that's just as good outside Japan... Unless it's made by the Japanese. Same for other cuisines too ^^;

    I did take a look of the new Kotobukiya display room on the 2nd floor. Took a quick picture of it on the day after that so it will be up on the next trip post.

  8. OMG, I love those Mini 4WD racers! I remember modifying them when I was a kid and begging my mom to buy me a track so I can beat my brother...but I always ended up losing for some reason. "orz

    I've always wanted a track like the ones in the anime.

  9. @ T.I.P.:
    With the exception of myself, a lot of my friends used to have Mini 4WDs when they were younger, and most of them said they wanted a track of some sort in their homes; one of them even tried to build one with multiple cardboard boxes ^^;

    I thought they'd be faded out by now, so seeing them still being active over in Akihabara was a touching moment, even though I haven't played them myself.

  10. Delicious Post in more than one way.
    Id have an itch to buy those shops empty ^^

  11. @ Blowfish:
    Indeed. Delicious in multiple ways~ ^^

    Do you have what it takes to empty the shops? ^^;

  12. I wish!
    But hey when Im adopted into your family ill get a piece of your families enormous fortune right? ^^;;

  13. @ Blowfish:
    Enormous fortune? No one saids so except you ^^;


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