Start time
4 July 2015 13:00
End time
4 July 2015 15:00
Newdays Convenience Store – JR Akihabara Station, Electric Town Exit, just outside ticket gate to your left


Registrations Ended

Let a leading international expert of Japan's pop culture guide you through the strange and wonderful world of Japan's subcultures.

“If we had explored Akihabara ourselves, we would have missed nearly everything Patrick’s tour introduced to us.” -First-time visitor to Japan

“Simply an outstanding experience. Patrick was so entertaining and informative. Even longtime Japanophiles will enjoy and benefit from Tokyo Way’s tours”. -Douglas Erber, President, Japan-America Society of Southern California

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Japanese otaku culture!

Otaku culture—a fantastic virtual world of manga and anime frequented by Japanese boys and men—has become a phenomenon with international appeal. One of the centers of otaku culture is the neighborhood of Akihabara on the eastern side of Tokyo. Your guide is an international expert on the wonderful places, obsessions and rituals of otaku life, and our tour will give you a fun and insightful introduction to Akihabara in just a couple of hours, with lots of tips for choosing the best places to experience further at your own pace.

Exploring the area’s streets, shops, arcades and performance spaces, you will learn the history of the neighborhood from the rise of postwar Japan’s electronics industry to the modern “Cool Japan” era. We will visit landmarks such as the Akiba Jinja and the Radio Kaikan, and walk both Akihabara’s main avenues and its narrow back streets. You can eat some of the vending machine “delicacies” that typically serve as fuel for otaku on the go during long waits for events and new product releases. Visit shops for otaku culture specialties such as dating simulator games, fanzines and figurines, and learn about Japan’s “idol culture” at performance stages and idol shops. Our introductory tour closes with a look at some of the area’s famous “maid cafes” which you can enjoy on your own after the tour.

While you are in Japan don’t miss this chance for a quick few hours of fun and education about the weird and wonderful world of otaku!

Please see the information below for additional important details about the tour.

  • Tour size: 1-10
  • Cash needed: Tour fee of ¥7,800, all taxes covered, includes Gachapon capsule toy, maker experience, and one vending machine food item, all taxes covered. You may choose to purchase additional items, food, etc. during the tour at own expense.
  • Cancellation policy: No refunds without exception for no-shows or cancellations within 48 hours of start of tour.
  • Weather: This tour is not cancelled for weather except in extreme circumstances (e.g., typhoons) in which case we will contact you and refund your payment in full.

  • Physical activity: Moderate, some stops on the tour not accessible by wheelchair
  • Dress: Casual
  • Food: Tour includes one vending machine food item but no meals. Please prepare accordingly.
  • Wi-fi: Public wi-fi is not available along most of the route of this tour.
  • Photos/protocols: Please respect the privacy of pedestrians and merchants by refraining from closeup photography of individuals and store merchandise without asking permission. Your guide will advise.

  • Directions to starting point: Newsdays Convenience Store – JR Akihabara Station, Electric Town Exit, just outside ticket gate to your left. See map below.
  • Guide contact will be provided after you register.

  • Disclaimer: Parental discretion is advised. The visual environment in a few of the stores visited contains some sexually graphic themes, though mostly in animation form and subject to Japan’s censorship rules. If you do not wish to be exposed to such content, please feel free to tell our guide and he will arrange for you to skip those sections.

TOKYO WAY’s otaku tours are curated by Patrick W. Galbraith. Patrick received a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Tokyo, and is currently pursuing a second Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider’s Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan (Kodansha International, 2009), Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara (White Rabbit Press, 2010), Otaku Spaces (Chin Music Press, 2012), and The Moe Manifesto: An Insider’s Look at the Worlds of Manga, Anime and Games (Tuttle, 2014). He is also co-editor of Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (Palgrave, 2012) and Debating Otaku in Contemporary Japan (Bloomsbury, 2015). Patrick has lectured at various Japanese universities, contributed articles to Metropolis and Otaku USA, and appeared on CNN Go.