Akihabara, dubbed "Electric Town", is a city district and major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, games and otaku goods in Tokyo, Japan.
The area is famously associated with computer and otaku culture due to its abundance of related goods. New items are mostly to be found on the main street, with many kinds of used items found in the back streets of the district.
On Sundays and holidays some of Akihabara’s streets are closed to traffic and these areas have become an attraction for amateur Cosplay performers. On weekend nights large crowds gather on the east side of JR Akihabara Station to see live street performance of bands and dance groups.
In the years following the end of World War II, the area from Akihabara to Ueno became a gathering spot for open-air black markets, with rare and high-quality radio parts being particularly common. The close proximity of a school, which would later become Tokyo Electronics University, meant the area was full of students making and selling makeshift radios for the information-hungry masses.
The availablity of shopping for parts or ready-made radios in the market helped the area to flourish and it soon become the seat of the electronics and household appliance boom in the 1960's. As the economy deflated in the 1980's, stores began to sell computers and software instead, resulting in the local clientel moving from families buying home appliances to specialists and hobbyists searching for specific computer products not available in the mainstream stores. By the 1990's the face of Akihabara had changed to a "nerd central", with stores offering not only computer hardware, but computer software such as programs and videogames as well. Following the relocation of figure maker Kaiyodo to Akihabara, other otaku-oriented stores soon followed and the district's reputation as an "otaku hotspot" began.
- Akihabara is home to one of the first public stores in the world devoted to personal robots and robotics.