5 Best Otaku-Culture Places NOT in Akiba

In this week's Top 5, I will be introducing you to the 5 best Otaku-Culture places in Tokyo that are not in Akihabara. Surprising, yes I know. But, there are a myriad of other places fans of anime and manga ought to visit in Tokyo other than the supposed otaku-haven that Akihabara is made out to be. Some of these places you may have heard of before and some perhaps not so but they are all, in my opinion, locales that should not be missed. Without further ado, let us jump into the first spot on the list.

1. Nakano Broadway Mall
Of course, you did not expect me to make a list of otaku places and not mention Nakano's famous Broadway Mall? Almost as famous as Akihabara itself, Nakano's Broadway Mall is home to the original Mandarake with a good portion of this mall dedicated to that one store, Mandarake. Of course there are other hobby stores too in and around the mall interspersed between the various Mandarake specialty stores which keeps things interesting and, most importantly, competitive. Truly, Nakano's Broadway Mall is a sight unlike any other as you would be hard pressed to find these many hobby stores catering to such a wide group of genres in such a small place. Its unmistakable charm of hobby shops seemingly crammed into any otherwise ordinary looking building is unlike any other. In fact, I almost like Nakano as much as Akihabara if not just that little bit more. As such, Nakano's Broadway Mall comes highly recommended with there being something for almost everyone

2. Odaiba
Without fail, every trip I have made to Tokyo always includes a trip to the man-made island of Odaiba. Located off the coast of Tokyo and accessible via train, car or bus, Odaiba is known to many, locals included, as a family-friendly shopping district. But, there is much more to it than meets the eye especially since Diver City Tokyo is home to the famous 1/1 RX-78-2 Gundam statue. This statue is a major tourist attraction regardless if you are a Gundam fan or not. If you are, there is all the more reason to visit especially with additional attractions such as a Gundam Cafe, Gundam Shop and even a Gundam Museum. Meanwhile, if you are not a big fan of the Gundam series, you can also find the anime-devoted Noitamina Cafe and various bookstores carrying all sorts of light novels, manga and magazines. Oh, there are also several large arcades located within walking distance of each other! So, if you ever fancy giving the crane games a shot this would be your best bet as they are significantly easier than the ones located in the inner city. Perhaps the best part of Odaiba is its family-friendly nature which means you would not have to drag along some uninterested party along in your otaku pursuits.

3. Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower? You might be wondering why I included this into the list. But, for now till an indefinite period of time, the Tokyo Tower is home to the permanent One Piece exhibition, aptly names, Tokyo One Piece Tower. Being one of the most popular anime/manga series in perhaps the whole world, it is no surprise that the Tokyo One Piece Tower receives a steady stream of visitors despite its exhibitions being entirely in Japanese. If you are a One Piece fan, this is one you should not miss! On top of the exhibitions, there is even a One Piece merchandise shop, cafe and restaurant. Life-sized statues of the main characters and themed decorations make the trip worth it even if you do not enter the exhibition.

4. Ikebukuro
The next one on the list is one that is rarely known especially considering a large proportion of the vocal otaku community are males. Ikebukuro is better known as the Akiba catered for the female clientele with many shops along the main Otome road selling merchandise catering to women. Even the Mandarake located here is of a similar focus. Regardless of your gender though, it is still very much worth a visit because there are various other anime-themed attractions too. For one, Ikebukuro is home to one of the largest Pokemon Centers in Japan. Over there, you will be available to grab plenty of exclusive Pokemon-themed merchandise. Keep in mind, it is always crowded on the weekends. That is not all as two of Ikebukuro's main theme parks, J-World and Namja Town are both catered towards popular anime series too! Lastly, if you are a fan of Durarara, it is indeed worth mentioning that Ikebukuro is where the series is set in.

5. Tokyo Dome
Keeping with the tradition of an unusual fifth pick, the last one on the list, is a personal favorite of mine. The Tokyo Dome is not traditionally associated with any otaku connotation nor does it have much relation to the culture and hobby. Recently though, things have started to change with the grounds surrounding Tokyo Dome becoming a very popular location for cosplayers to gather particularly on the weekends. Then, there is the Jump Shop owned by the popular magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. I only know of two Jump Shops in Tokyo, one in Tokyo Skytree and the other, here with the Tokyo Dome one being significantly larger. But, all of the above reasons are not the reason why I picked Tokyo Dome. Rather, it is a more sentimental reason, as Tokyo Dome is the location of Muse's Final Live. Especially since I did not get the chance to view the final concert live at the Dome, this location holds particular importance to me. As such, if you are a Love Live fan, consider this one of your most important pilgrimage sites next to the Kanda Shrine.

With that, comes a close to my list of the 5 Best Otaku-Culture Place in Tokyo that are not in Akihabara. I hope you found this list useful especially if you are looking for something different or just want to try something new. Until then, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a fantastic day ahead!


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