Akihabara is Tokyo’s famed ‘Electric Town’ where you can go and shop to your hearts content all things electronics. The streets are lined with tall buildings and lighted signs that flash and sparkle to lure you into their shops. Stores are stacked atop each other, 5 or 6 stories high and side streets echo the sounds of beeps and buzzing toys and trinkets. Here you can hear the sounds of languages and accents from all around as tourist pour in to catch a glimpse at something that they cannot find at home, or search in hope for a great deal on some new gadget.
If you went to Akihabara a few years back you may have experienced just that, but times have changed and so has Akihabara. The initial lure was not just the electronics but the congestion of stores with the promise of deals. Tourists don’t need to pay the 5% tax, add that to already low prices and you have the making of a tourist stop. So what has changed? Well, the prices have changed and it has more so become a place for tourists than where locals go to purchase electronics. It seems as with all things nowadays the true deals are found online.
There is nothing wrong with checking out Akihabara it definitely will keep the tech nerd happy for a few hours, but if you are going to shop there be careful about a store that presents a special low deal just for you. I went there in search of a video camera and I was told to look around before I actually bought anything because a different store or even a different floor can present a change in price and the possibility of a better deal. It doesn’t help that the US dollar has taken a nose dive compared to the Japanese Yen, but even then I was unable to find any special deal that was too good to resist. Even the few deals I did find I was told I could have found a better one online and so I left empty handed.
I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t end up buying a video camera, but I’m glad I was given the advice before I went walking around. If you are in Tokyo then you will have no trouble finding Akihabara, just hop on the JR Yamanote line, which is the Tokyo loop, and as soon as you walk out of the station you are in the heart of Electric Town. While you are here if you want to try your hand at Pachinko there is a tall building with 4 or 5 floors of just Pachinko, it’s noisy and smokey and I’m not sure how you play but I can’t imagine it is too difficult.
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