More Than Manga: Otaku Culture in Akihabara

Discover the anime and manga culture in electric Akihabara with an Otaku expert
From US$276 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
Akihabara
Photos & Highlights
  • Learn about the role subcultures play in Japanese popular culture
  • Led by an expert in Japanese pop culture
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Tour Description
On this 3-hour Akihabara tour, you will explore Tokyo's hub for otaku, providing a closer look at one of Japan’s most misunderstood subcultures. Otaku is a term for devoted enthusiasts, most often of manga (comic books), anime (cartoons), and video games: cultural products that are now seen as an inescapable part of life in contemporary Japan. Rather than a museum of any kind, Akihabara is a living marketplace, grouping stores of all types that cater to the fandom surrounding manga and anime. As you visit this unique shopping district, you'll peel back the layers of contemporary Japanese culture, developing a richer understanding of the origins of otaku and placing the phenomenon in the greater context of Japanese society.

Please note: This tour covers mature themes. For audiences 12 and under, we recommend Tokyo Pop Culture Tour for Kids. See the FAQs below for more information.

Your walk in the Akihabara neighborhood begins with a history of the area. Today, Akihabara is celebrated for its arcades, female cosplayers, and anime and manga-related goods. It was a different story after WW2, when the neighborhood was the place to go for electrical appliances, particularly radios. Small retailers crammed in under the railway lines to sell their products, often at cut-rate prices on the black market. You’ll see some of these remaining vendors, selling every type of electronic gadget imaginable, as well as spare parts and products that will take you back in time.

There is much more to otaku than just anime and manga, which your guide will help to convey. You will see an array of collections, each with a particular subset of fandom: dolls, board games, trains, Pokémon cards, and even military otaku. You may also discuss the creative nature behind this fandom: people do not wish purely to consume but also to create and give back to the otaku world.

Depending on your group’s interests, you might also dive into one of the most striking aspects of otaku culture—cosplay, or costume play—by visiting a theme café. These cafes, which feature waitstaff dressed in costume, draw on fantasy characters and interactions drawn from manga, anime, and computer games popular in Akihabara. During our time in the café, we will experience the rituals and customs of these establishments. 

At the end of our dive into the streets of Akihabara, we’ll come away with a deeper knowledge of the roots of otaku culture and how it applies to so much more than just anime and manga.
  • You're an anime and manga lover interested in immersing yourself in the Japanese Otaku Culture
  • You’re hoping to discover the Akihabara neighborhood through the eyes of a local expert
  • You’d like to know more about the Otaku culture before diving into other venues or museums
  • Akihabara - It is primarily seen as the center of modern Japanese culture and the main shopping area for video games, anime, manga, and electronics. Icons from popular anime and manga abound in advertising everywhere.

Additional Trip-Planning Resources

  • For more information on planning your travels to Tokyo, take a read through our Context Stories.
  • If you are looking to learn more about Tokyo before your visit, check out our online lectures at Context Learning.
We understand that some of our valued guests may have mobility concerns, and we want to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout your tour. If there are any accessibility concerns that your tour guide will need to be aware of, please let our team know at the time of booking.
Is this walk appropriate for kids or teens?
This can certainly be adapted for teens which may mean opting out of certain theme cafes and shops. For kids under 13, we have designed a special experience appropriate for younger audiences, the Tokyo Pop Culture Tour for Kids.

Is this tour suitable for visitors with mobility issues?
This tour is walking intensive and visitors with mobility issues should reach out to us to ensure we can alter the tour to accommodate their level of mobility.

Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Yes. Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.61) 94 Reviews

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Fabian was very knowledgeable and careful to adjust the tour to our interests. We enjoyed it very much even though everyone was tired from a long day
Fun, customized trip. Great afternoon.
Marion was amazing , we loved her , so engaging with my son , took us to all the places we were interested in , stayed overtime to help my son pick the right books , would highly recommend her tour in the future