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BNE July/August 2015 |


The city electric

The bright lights, the sheer spectacle of the mass of

signs – there’s no mistaking I’m in Tokyo as soon as I hit

the Akihabara district. It’s the world’s largest electrical

equipment marketplace with more than 250 appliance

and electronic shops of all sizes crammed along Chuo-

dori Street. It began as an area specialising in electrical

equipment in the latter half of the 1940s when the locals’

primary source of information was radio, but now it’s a

shopping mecca where I can even buy my own personal

robot (at Tsukumo Robot Kingdom, the world’s first

specialist robot store). At about $2000 it’s a bit beyond

my holiday budget but generally prices for goods are

comparable to Australia. However, it’s not price that’s

the attraction here but the massive range of models and

accessories and, unlike some other destinations in Asia,

they are original brands, not fakes. The downside is

that all instructions are in Japanese and an international

converter is required, although some duty-free stores

have export-ready models. If you can’t find what you’re

looking for here – it probably doesn’t exist.