Global Electronics Readily Available
Akihabara, Japan - From the world famous city of global electronics (IT Headquarters) comes the largest shopping area on earth for new and used electronics and computers featuring Anime (animation) and Otaku (collector) related goods.
Just a short 5 minutes train ride from Tokyo Station, Akihabara’s Main Street changes quickly with displays of the hottest selling items, not only from the past (computer and related electronic goods), but the latest Anime and Manga (comic book) products currently available.
With it’s recently renovated Main Street, Akihabara’s two opposite facades openly contrast; Eastside small to mid-size computer specialty shops (used parts and junk) and Game and Anime Fan Otaku back ally street shops and its Westside Main street (alongside the Yamanote train line) where "Akihabara Crossfield," IT Headquarters, operates. This is part of the city’s redevelopment plan’s efforts to revive Akihabara to its former self, a place for full integration of IT business and education, a place for information change, businessmen in suits, and an abundance of offices, convention halls, and eye-popping electronics for the discreet, the savvy, and the beginner.
Close Encounter with a Humanoid Robot!! Meet ASIMO
You did know a robot can walk, climb stairs, and even dance, didn’t you? If you’re lucky enough you’ll get to see the programming and adjustment of the world’s first walking robot.
ASIMO (not to be confused with ASIMOV), is a humanoid robot first developed by auto manufacturer HONDA 20 years ago. The latest model is being developed in conjunction with the surrounding human environment and can run at 3.7 mph and can pull a wagon loaded with equipment. It is currently on display 2-3 times a week in studio ASIMO, or on special events. Otherwise you can visit the Honda Welcome Plaza in Aoyama, Japan, perhaps even outside the country.
Studio ASIMO (03-3440-7600): Akihabara Daibiru Building 2nd floor, (Closed on Saturday and Sunday)
Honda Welcome Plaza (03)3423-4118
Want a Walking Robot? Build it Yourself!
Know the latest fad? Why, building your own walking robot, of all things! It’s simple, purchase a robot kit.
With over 20,000 robotic parts available for sale, Tsukumo Robot Oukoku (Kingdom) allows you to create, complete, and operate your very own robot. Starting from 30,000 yen for a simple model to over 100,00 yen for a walking model, with English instructions, you can customize your model with optional parts to fit your family’s design and needs (beware, some optional parts may not be exported outside Japan, although most parts are and can be shipped duty free). If you have the time, bring the family and design and build your model in Akihabara. A competition and special events are held through out the year.
Tsukumo Robot Oukoku : Tsukumo PC Store 3F, 1-9-7 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (10:30 am -8:00 pm (Mon - Sat), 10:30am -7:30pm (Sun and holidays) Open 7 days)
A Store For Serious Anime Collectors
Anime Shops are plentiful, but Tokyo Anime Center is probably the only one where all Anime characters from all manufacturers are available in one local. Limited edition, on line sales only, and hard to find items are in huge supply. Also available are special Anime screening, voice-over actors, and special events held regularly. Call the store to make sure it’s open, as it tends to close for the day without notice.
Tokyo Anime Center (03-5298-1188): Akihabara UDX Bldg. 4F, 4-14-1, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (11:00am -7:00pm)
Complimentary Picture Taking At The Duty Free Shop
14 duty free shops near Akihabara Station are now open. Of these, Duty Free Ishimaru in front of the station stands out.
An inventory of items meeting foreign specifications can be found on first floor. The most popular items are Digital and video cameras. On 2nd and 3rd floor souvenirs and folk crafts are on display. Picture taking is permitted and may be complimentary. Delivery to any hotel within Japan is free, but the store does not ship outside Japan. All major credit cards and US Dollars are welcome, but you must show your passport. English, Chinese, and Korean speaking staff is on hand to assist.
DUTYFREE ISHIMARU (03-3255-1600): 2F -4F, 1-15-4, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (10:00 am -8:00 pm, Open 7 days)
Sushi, Izakaya And Noodles Galore. Akihabara Restaurant Row serves variety
Until 2006 only a few dining places were open in Akihabara, but that’s all changed now as over 30 restaurants now cater to visitors and locals. If you’re really hungry, visit AKIBA-ICHI, were reasonably priced dishes such as Sushi, Izakaya, Raman, Italian, and American are served daily.
AKIBA-ICHI : Akihabara UDX Bldg. 1F -3F, 4-14-1, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (11:00 am -11:00 pm)
By all means take the "Discover Akihabara" 2 hours English tour available every Saturday until January 1, 2008, perhaps beyond. Link on to for more information www.akihabara-tour.com ■
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