All About Japan

Japan's Top 5 Otaku Shopping Spots

| Anime , Shopping

In 2014, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) embraced otaku tourism and chose to highlight five hot otaku zones in three of Japan's major cities. If you're looking for anime, manga or cosplay merchandise, these are the places to go!

5. Nipponbashi Otaku Road (Osaka)

Nipponbashi is a shopping district in Osaka colloquially known as Den-Den Town. Having recently cultivated a reputation as the "Akihabara of West Japan," it specializes in electronics, anime, cosplay and collectibles, including maid and cosplay cafés.

The area is represented by a character called Neon, who was created in 2009 by Noizi Ito, illustrator of the Haruhi Suzumiya manga series.

4. Osu Denki-gai (Nagoya)

Osu Denki-gai (also known as Osu Shopping District) likes to rank itself along with Osaka's Nipponbashi and Tokyo's Akihabara as one of Japan's three largest otaku districts—though in honesty it's not really as big a deal as any of Tokyo's hot otaku zones. Here you'll find cosplay and gaming goods mixed with regular clothing shops and thrift stores. The area gets special mention for Osu Kannon Temple, and for playing host to several key events at the World Cosplay Summit.

3. Ikebukuro — Otome Road (Tokyo)

Ikebukuro's main otaku feature is Animate's flagship store, which offers eight floors of anime and manga paraphernalia from CDs and character goods to specialized paper and pens for making your own professional manga.

Animate's flagship stands in the middle of the Otome Road district. Otome is Japanese for "maiden," and while Akihabara is geared more toward male otaku, Otome Road is geared toward women, with a focus on women's cosplay as well as BL (boys' love) and yaoi (male-on-male hentai) items. You can also find the Swallowtail butler café at the end of the street.

2. Nakano Broadway (Tokyo)

Opened in 1966, Nakano Broadway is a four-story shopping mall that can be found at the end of a short shopping arcade north of Nakano Station. Massive secondhand manga shop Mandarake opened here in 1987, and has since expanded to include 26 different shops carrying a variety of secondhand otaku goods from figures to games. Other otaku-oriented shops have flocked to the area, making Nakano Broadway a great spot for picking up vintage toys and otaku stuff.

1. Akihabara (Tokyo)

Once known as a source of cheap electronics, Tokyo's Akihabara district has gradually transformed into an otaku wonderland. Just take the Electric Town exit from Akihabara Station and walk down the street to find multi-story shops filled from floor to ceiling with everything from figures and toys to Blu-rays, T-shirts and plushies. Even the Don Quijote store in Akihabara is extra-full of anime swag.

If that's not enough, you'll also find various maid cafés, the Gundam Café, a sizable Animate, and a vast number of electronics and duty-free shops right in the "Akiba" area.