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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.

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Geoffrey Morrison
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1 of 35 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Akihabara

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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2 of 35 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Shops of all kinds

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

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Otaku

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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Sega

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

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Alleyway

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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Closed?

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

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Intersitial

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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11 of 35 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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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Cables

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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Tubes

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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Upstairs

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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Totoro

For all your Totoro needs...

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Deceptive

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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22 of 35 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Akihabara

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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Behold

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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Soundroom

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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Selfie

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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Checkout

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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