One could easily get lost in Tokyo’s famous hobby store, Tokyu Hands. The shop sells everything from one-of-a-kind cell phone cases and camping gear to paper modeling kits and useful kitchen gadgets. Even something as simple as a bento divider gets the Tokyu treatment, shaped like hard cups made of lettuce. Tokyu Hands has a few outlets in Tokyo, but their large Shibuya location is particularly impressive.
Tokyu Hands, 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5489 5111
LABI Akihabara has curb appeal. The futuristic escalators, encased in tubes, are visible along the sides of the building, giving one the impression of looking into a hamster cage. LABI is the place to go for practical computer parts, plugs, wires, and other related accessories.
Akihabara Radio Center
Akihabara Radio Center is a unique experience. The two-story building is occupied by numerous independent vendors selling electronics and other goods. You wouldn’t know it, but these merchants are carrying on a tradition that’s been going on since the postwar era. After World War Two, engineers who found themselves unemployed gathered here to buy and sell electronic parts. The second floor is the place to go to buy antique gadgets, although it’s not your typical shopping experience – you’ll need to call the number on the consignment locker if you want to make a purchase.
Akihabara Radio Center, 1-14-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3251 0614
Thanko sells a wide selection of off-the-wall gadgets and gizmos, from the built-in camera glasses you see in movies to a pair that lets you watch TV while lying down. They also have a sale bin in the back for those hoping for a bargain, although Thanko’s prices are known to be pretty fair regardless.
Thanko, 3 14-8 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5297 5783
Yodobashi Akiba houses seven floors of cameras, TVs, video games, appliances, and just about any other electronics you can think of or want. In the past, Yodobashi was known for their wide selection of SLR cameras and was responsible for one-third of all sales in Japan. The company has since expanded their product range, and the enormous one-stop shop has become an icon of Tokyo’s Electric Town, Akihabara.
Yodobashi Akiba, 1-1 Hanaokacho, Kanda, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5209 1010