Venture into a wonderland of gaming, electronics and pop culture icons at a colorful and lively district that is also known as Electric Town.

With megastores selling electrical goods and mobile tech, and shops carrying gadgets, retro games and the latest releases, Akihabara is Tokyo's center for electronics and gaming. The area is also the hub of Japan's otaku culture. This is translated as nerd or geek culture, particularly around anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese graphic novels). Visit Akihabara to explore shops and entertainment centers and relax in offbeat cafés.

Akihabara earned its nickname of Electric Town because of the post-World War II black market that sprung up here selling electrical goods. When you visit Akihabara, pause to take in the sight of densely packed buildings with colorful frontages and a mass of billboards, neon and digital signs featuring images of anime and game characters.

Head along Chuo Dori, the main shopping street through the district. Inside the many electrical stores, you can purchase everything from pocket calculators and computers to vacuum cleaners and plasma screen televisions. Investigate the many electrical and gaming stores. A good time to shop here is on Sundays when the street is pedestrianized in the afternoon. Note that many of the electronic items are for use in Japan, but some places stock goods for export.

Explore the alleys leading off the principal thoroughfare, home to small electrical retailers, stores selling tech components and manga and anime shops. Browse stores for comics, books, toys, figurines, video games and other manga and anime-related merchandise.

When you're ready for a break, pop into one of Akihabara's cosplay cafés or restaurants. In these places, you will be served by waiters and waitresses dressed in maid or butler costumes.

If you're into pop music, watch a performance by AKB48 at the AKB48 Theater. The girl group with more than 100 members has been one of the biggest selling musical acts in Japan since their debut in 2005. They perform daily shows at the music venue.

Akihabara is located in central Tokyo and encompasses the streets around Akihabara Station. Arrive at the station by train, metro or bus.

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