My Trip to Japan: Visiting Akihabara

Last week I discussed my trip to the GSL finals in Seoul, South Korea.  Today, I want to talk about the amazing gaming goodness that flows from Korea’s neighbor – Japan.

We actually went to Japan first, starting in Tokyo before taking the bullet train to Kyoto.  I had brought along my Switch and Vita for the flight over. I actually ended up watching several movies before falling asleep, so I didn’t make as much headway as I had hoped.  Nevertheless, I knew I was flying into a place that was a bastion for gaming worldwide.

On our first day, we went through the wet and cold weather to my favorite spot from Steins;gate: Akihabara.  For those unfamiliar, Akihabara has become well known for its vast array of electronics stores as well as gaming and anime/manga shops.

Our first stop was into a massive electronics store right near the train station.  The place is huge and has multiple floors consisting of all types of goods, but mainly electronics such as cameras, computers, and other equipment.

 

Akihabara Warhammer Display

The first floor I explored was the modeling/hobby floor.  There were rows and rows of Gundam sets available in all shapes, colors, and prices.  There was also a sizeable portion devoted to RC cars. I did find some company with the Warhammer display here, which was tucked in the back.  The White Dwarf issues were in Japanese, but the boxes were not. I did not see the special edition Space Marines I had heard were sold only in Japan.

Akihabara Pokemon Plushie Display

Next, we moved to the gaming floor.  Right at the top of the escalator was a huge display of plushies, mostly consisting of Pokemon.  They had a huge variety of Pokemon available, and had keychain sized all the way up to oversized pillow sizes.  This floor was also jampacked with people.

Akihabara Star Wars Display

On the other side of the Pokemon display was this big Star Wars figurine display.  Each one was about the size of one of those “my size Barbies” that used to be a thing.  The new Star Wars movies definitely had a presence in Japan.

Akihabara Vita Display

Moving into the actual game section, I was immediately regretting not having taken Japanese back in school.  There were rows and rows of Vita games – pretty much every game you could think of, along with a slew of games I had never seen before.  This was a far cry from the pitiful half-shelf that Gamestop or Walmart puts up for Vita in the US. I wish the Vita had done better worldwide since I’m fond of the hardware.

Akihabara Final Fantasy Display

Not far from the PS4 and Vita section was this Final Fantasy display for the new FF15 Royal Edition.

Akihabara Amiibo Display

Over in the Nintendo area, an entire wall was full of nearly every Amiibo.  I have not followed the rareness of Amiibos very closely, so I am sure I missed some sweet deal here since all of them seemed priced reasonably.

Akihabara Board Game Display

I was surprised to stumble on a little pile of board games, which looked to be some popular favorites translated into Japanese.  The prices were a little higher on these compared to their Amazon counterparts however.

Akihabara Arcade

Part of the floor had arcade and claw games available.  Like the rest of the floor, the place was jammed packed with people on nearly every machine.

Super Potato Entrance

Afterwards, we headed to Super Potato, which I had heard was a great store for retro games.  The place was a little difficult to find since the entrance was quite small, but it contained several cramped floors of pure games.

Super Potato SNES Games

The place had what appeared to be nearly every game for nearly every system.  Here is the Super Famicom games, laid out in neat order and in good condition.  This was only a small portion of what was available.

Super Potato Package SNES Games

They had fully packaged games as well.

Super Potato GameCube Test Play

Various retro consoles were also setup throughout the winding corridors of the store.  In addition, there was an ample supply of gaming accessories and memorabilia. Many of the systems had several people lined up to try them out.

Super Potato Full System Sets

Super Potato also sold full systems in what appeared to be decent conditions.  There were fully boxed N64s and GameCubes among others. I looked around for a decently priced authentic Nintendo GameCube controller (for Smash on WiiU), but they didn’t have any other than those that came bundled with a GameCube console.

Super Potato Final Fantasy Figures

Many Final Fantasy figurines were on display.  Sadly no Final Fantasy 6, 9, or 10 ones that I could see.  The Sephiroth one looked awesome. A bit pricey though.

Splatoon Gummies

Also managed to find Splatoon gummies of all things.  I haven’t opened them, which means I’ll just end up keeping them intact as a souvenir.

That concludes my little slideshow of some Japan gaming store goodness.  If I could read Japanese, getting some of the Vita titles may have been worth it (although many appeared to be about $60).  Japan certainly takes its gaming seriously, and living near Akihabara would make access to any system or game super easy.

Have you ever been Japan?  Are you jealous at the absurd quantity of available gaming items?  Comment below!

13 thoughts on “My Trip to Japan: Visiting Akihabara

  1. I knew that Japan has a large industry and market for computer games, but I did not realise that they had shops specific for gaming culture. Most of the shops I know sell computer games are either supermarkets (with games displayed on a few shelves) or ones that mostly sell electronic equipment or CDs and DVDs, so it seems strange to see a shop that sells virtually every game on a number of consoles, along with merchandise for franchises. I remember that some older games had different box arts for the Western and Japanese versions of the game, so it must be interesting to see recognisable games presented differently. I also find it interesting that a shop that sells computer games also sells remote control cars and board games, which does not seem to be a link that shops I have used consider. I have never seen a shop that sells retro games so neatly and in such good condition, it looks a picture from the nineties and these games are being stocked in shops for the first time.
    What did you get from the shops? Was there a difference between the box art for the versions games available in Japan compared to the ones you were familiar with? What is Akihabara? Is it a district in Tokyo?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like you had an amazing time! I have never been to Japan but I am dying to go! I told my husband by the time I turn 40 I want to take a trip there. I’d also love to learn Japanese by then… I have 8 years left and time really flies, so hopefully we can make it a reality!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks amazing!! Sounds like you had a great time on your trip! Me and my partner are seriously considering spending our savings on a Japan trip, I see it is as a real once in a lifetime thing because of the cost so think it would be worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t say I’ve ever been to Japan. If I were afforded the opportunity I’d probably spend half of it geeking out on video games that never made it Stateside, and tracking down some Japanese pop punk albums. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard hundreds of hours of Shonen Knife. The other half I’d likely spend hitting up tourist attractions, and historical places. Though I suppose if I visited Germany or Ireland I’d likely spend the trip doing the same.

    Anyway, glad you had a great trip. Since you asked, you probably should have nabbed the Amiibos of Callie, and Marie seeing how you bought Splatoon candy, and the fact they go for bank online since the original US 2-pack release can no longer be found at retail. Plus all of the Splatoon figures work with Splatoon 2 on the Switch as well as on the original game on the Wii U. Congrats on the trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooo! ⚡I see a Lightning figure, haha. Sounds like a fun trip! I’ve never left my home country before so I would definitely like to visit many other places, someday.

    Liked by 1 person

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