Take a tour of Tokyo's crazy Akihabara Electric Town and massive Yodobashi Camera (pictures)

Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town was once a legendary haven for cheap electronics. Now it's something a bit different. A bit more. Here's a tour.

Geoffrey Morrison
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Morrison
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One of the many multifloor stores of gadgets, manga, movies and more that line the main street in the Akihabara area.

For the full story, check out Take a tour of Tokyo's crazy Akihabara Electric Town and the most amazing electronics store you'll ever see.

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Shops of all kinds

An electronics store next to a DVD store next to an adult store.

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This building was amazing, floor after floor of everything someone would ever want to collect. From figurines to plushies, models to action figures, everything.

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I'm guessing it's not just Sega games inside. How many differnet ways can you play Sonic?

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Not sure if this was an alley or a corridor in a building as they all sort of look the same. Little shops focus on one specific niche.

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Parts and cables

Not just cables, but as many ways to terminate a cable as you want. Fuses, caps, diodes, whatever you need.

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I have to assume during their heyday, all these shops would have been open.

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I love it when spaces between buildings get used. Here, it doesn't even look like you've left one building as you walk around to another.

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Where do these stairs go?

They go up.

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Switches and bits

I didn't recognize half the things in this shop. I think they were all parts for the parts that go inside parts.

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Old school

Want an original Sony transistor radio? How about a Mini Disc player, still in its original wrapping? This little store has all sorts of vintage awesomeness.

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Medium fidelity

Recognize anything?

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Speaker parts

Drivers, cabinets, spiders, chokes...everything you could want to build (or repair) a speaker.

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See those rolls of cables in the middle? There's two whole walls of them in that store.

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Little lights

Individual LEDs and switches for whatever DIY nightmare you want to concoct.

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It's like a Japanese take on the Pompidou Centre.

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But never the one you need

What do you mean you don't have any black ink for a Canon MHF5953 from 1994?

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Do you have any mice?

Not only is this pretty amazing from a selection standpoint, but there are several of each model and color behind what you can see too!

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Like the rest of Tokyo, buildings tend to be quite narrow, but tall. So many stores aren't even at street level.

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For all your Totoro needs...

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It's possible, from a square footage point of view, this store isn't that big. But its use of space is amazing. There are three aisles between where I'm standing and the farthest object you can see.

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As cool as Tokyo is during the day, it takes on a whole new level of incredible at night. Signs of light drape every building, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle. I was lucky enough to be here right after it rained, adding another entire level to an already strong "Blade Runner" vibe.

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The Colossus

The epic Yodobashi Camera in all its nighttime glory. The picture doesn't do it justice; this place is massive.

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Amazingly, there are floors above and below what's listed on this sign. Thankfully, it's all in a fairly open loop, so you won't get lost.

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Every TV?

I suppose it's possible that every TV available for purchase isn't here, but I'd be surprised if that was the case. Soooo many TVs.

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What do these do?

This area confused me. They look like guns, but they seem to blow hot air. Not sure what for. Very confusing.

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I wired two Circuit City soundrooms from scratch. Looking at this gives me agita.

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Wait, what?

In the second room of speakers there's...wait a second, are those $150 speakers made of plywood? I could build a better looking speaker than that (oh, wait, I have).

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Stacks and stacks

I guess Japan isn't as big on the black boxes we seem to love here. Check out all this audio hardware...in silver! Amusingly, while nearly all the speakers were from outside of Japan, nearly all the electronics were homegrown.

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Cases and cases

Most of the in-ear headphones are on display. Some are a bit too expensive for that. One of the closest to the camera is over $500.

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Headphone haven

How many stores in the US have this many headphones, not just on display, but available to demo? Steve Guttenberg would love this place.

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I'm not sure what this was supposed to tell me -- that the Predator is hiding behind the display? That my glasses and beard are cooler than my skin?

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Super Mario world

Yep, and entire aisle just for Super Mario Bros. plushies.

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Games and more

There's an entire floor of games and toys, larger than most Toys 'R' Us: stacks of model kits, figurines, and Star Wars stuff even I didn't know existed.

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In the end, I did end up buying something in Akihabara: replacement headphones. Mine had broken the morning before. I got them at Yodabashi because, well, they had the ones I wanted. I guess that's how these things go.

The price was the same as at home.

For the full story, check out Take a tour of Tokyo's crazy Akihabara Electric Town and the most amazing electronics store you'll ever see.

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