Akihabara Map

Guide to anime, manga & electronics in Tokyo, in English

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Akihabara timeline (taken from wikipedia article, more detailed history coming soon)
  • The area was just out of Sujikai-gomon city gate (present Mansei bridge) which was one of the city gates (Mitsuke) of old Edo (Tokyo). It was the gateway from inner Edo to northern and northwestern Japan and Kan’ei-ji temple in Ueno. Many dealers, craftsmen and relatively lower class samurai lived there.
  • 1869: A major blaze destroyed the area. It brought about the decision to clear the 30,000 square metres of land in order to keep future fires into inner Tokyo city.
  • 1870: In this cleared land a small Shinto shrine once in old Edo Castle was built. The shrine’s name was 鎮火社, which means "the extinguisher shrine").
  • But many downtown Tokyo residents misunderstood the shrine. They thought that the deity Akiba or Akiha (秋葉) which was the most popular fire-controlling deity in central and eastern Japan must have been enshrined in it. They also called the cleared land "Akiba ga hara" or "Akibappara" which means "the deity Akiba’s square".
  • 1888: The shrine moved to Matsugaya, near Asakusa.
  • 1890: Extension of the rail line (now the JR Tōhoku Main Line) from Ueno to Akihabara. At first there was no passenger service, for south of the station was the Akihabara cargo docks, where goods from all over the world would flow into Kanda by river and be hauled up the east bank of the canal to be ticketed at the central cargo transport window.
  • From the Meiji to the Shōwa period, as the electric railway improved transport to Akihabara and the surrounds, and especially due to the growth in dealerships, the district was designated as Seika Shijō (青果市場: vegetables and fruits market).
  • 1925: Akihabara-Tokyo station connection opened as the Tohoku line extended to Tokyo.
  • 1932: As the Green Line station opened with an interconnection, Akihabara became an important transfer point.
  • 1935: Official establishment of Seika Shijō. (Kanda Seika Shijō).
  • 1936: The site of Manseibashi Station was closed (later the Transportation Museum—now closed). Railway mania had reached its zenith. The area became the number one place for electrical supplies.
  • After World War II, a black market at Kanda developed around the first school of electrical manufacturing (now the Tokyo Technical College). Clustered around the Sobu underground line, what began as a host of electrical stores selling vacuum tubes, radio goods and electrical items to the students, has today come to be known as Electric Town. Called "musen" or "wireless" shops, they were the first to begin selling radios. With the advent of wireless and radio goods, people came to be much more connected.
  • 1960s: Thanks to advanced technology, the rival Nipponbashi district of Osaka took its position as an equally prominent Electric Town, selling vast volumes of household consumer durable goods such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines.
  • 1980s: Accompanying the spread of the personal computer in family homes ("Famikon"), local shops increasingly began to deal in computer games, and major gaming chain stores appeared on the market.
  • 1989: Kanda Seika Shijō moved to Ōta-ku, south district of Tokyo.
  • 1990s: With the Yamada and Kojima household chain stores appearing throughout the suburban outskirts of Tokyo, the sale of consumer durables at Akihabara was greatly reduced, however the sale of computer goods increased in equal measure.
  • 1994: The PC boom and accompanying computer store growth began.
  • It was also during the 1990s that the anime craze grew out of computer games, and the youth group known as otaku began to pour into Akihabara.
  • Since 2000, with name-brand computer sales in decline, anime shops have arisen in their place, selling to the otaku crowd.
  • Since 2005, major redevelopment and modernization of the station and surrounding area. Tsukuba Express, Tokyo's fastest private railway, opens in Akihabara.

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