Otaku Day in Tokyo – If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re a big fan of manga and Japanese anime too. As children, many of us loved to watch episodes of Dragon Ball, Saint Seya, Doctor Slump or more recent anime series such as Naruto and One Piece. If you have the opportunity to visit Tokyo, keep in mind there are 3 main otaku spots: Akihabara, Ikebukuro, and Nakano.
To visit these 3 places, I’ve been invited to participate in one of the tours offered by the Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi that the city is promoting. These are actually taxi tours the concept of which is quite simple. Instead of taking the subway, it is in a taxi that you will visit Tokyo. There are different tours available and you will be accompanied each time by a charming English-speaking driver who will also be your guide throughout the day. For more details about these taxi tours, you can check out this brochure. The tour I’m telling you about is the Model Course 7 on the brochure. You can also know more about the booking process on this website.
Visiting Tokyo in a taxi presents many advantages. First of all, you are not traveling underground so you can see what the city looks like during the trip. Families with children or elderly people will appreciate the comfort of a car during the visit. And if you’re planning on going shopping, it’s great because you can leave your bags in the car.
Let’s start our trip and get to our first attraction of the day, Nakano Broadway.
An Otaku Day In Tokyo – Nakano Broadway
Nakano is a neighborhood located west of central Tokyo and is becoming increasingly more popular thanks to the famous Nakano Broadway shopping mall. This shopping center is dedicated to Japanese popular culture including Japanese manga and anime but you can also find many vintage products such as old advertising posters and even covers of old Japanese propaganda magazines like FRONT. 😀
Nakano Broadway is several floors high and each floor is dedicated to a specific category of products. The most popular store is probably Mandarake of which there are many in the shopping center.
Keep in mind that most stores open at noon, so there’s no point in going too early.
One of the great things about Nakano Broadway is that prices are generally quite reasonable compared to other places in Tokyo. For example, you can buy used manga at 100 yen (80 cents) each!
If you are looking for souvenirs, you can also find other cheap products at Nakano Broadway, like kimonos for example. You can buy second-hand kimonos at 1100 yens for example, which is about $10. It’s hard to find less expensive kimonos in Tokyo. 🙂
If shopping makes you hungry, make sure to try the restaurants on the B1F floor, which is the first basement.
Otaku Day In Tokyo – Ikebukuro and Otome Road
The Ikebukuro district has recently become one of the most visited places by Tokyo otaku, coming to visit its Otome Road, located here. This street is also called Maiden Road and for good reason. The street is dedicated to manga and anime that are mainly aimed at women.
You’d usually find young men in otaku shops but I was pleasantly surprised to discover this entire community of young women enthusiasts that I didn’t know about. You can also find many cosplay shops in Otome too so you buy wigs, colored contact lenses, make-up, costumes and much more.
While in Ikebukuro, make sure to visit Sunshine 60, a 60-story tower where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Tokyo from the top of its 60th floor. You can also try out a lot of cool virtual reality games there. We were supposed to go to the Shinjuku VR Zone (as mentioned in the brochure) but it was closed so we went to Sunshine 60 instead and it was a great alternative.
Akihabara District – The Mecca of Manga and Anime
And last but not least is the ultimate destination that is considered to be the center of modern Japanese popular culture in Tokyo: Akihabara. Just think of a manga or anime and you will most likely find all the merch related to it in Akihabara.
Akihabara is also called Electric Town because it is home to many electronics stores. If you are looking for an adapter, a charger or if you want to buy a camera or a phone, for example, this is where it’s at.
As you can see, even if you’re not an otaku at heart, Akihabara is still a very stylish and a must-see district to visit in Tokyo.
That was it for this awesome otaku-themed tour of Tokyo. I really loved these 3 locations and I’m sure you’ll love them too. 🙂
Time to go back to my hotel with a bag full of stuff! I’m glad I could leave it in the taxi during the tour by the way instead of having to carry everything around. I’m going to be doing 3 more similar taxi tours and I’ll tell you more about them very soon. 😉
PS: A big thank you to our driver Yuki who is also a fan of manga and who played the soundtracks of my favorite anime throughout the trip. 🙂