Known as the mecca for all things geek and electronic-related, Akihabara boasts of various video game arcades, electronic stores, manga book shops and themed restaurants. While all tourists charge straight into the heart of the city, Kanda Myojin shrine located 15 minutes away from Akihabara station is not something you should miss.
If you work in the tech industry, you can grab your talisman here! While they have the ordinary luck pouches, the real gem is the sticker you can buy for blessing your electronic devices against bad luck.
A spacious hall greets you as soon as you enter. In Japan, it’s popular to get your fortunes called Omikuji (sacred lottery) in the temple. Not a lot of temples offer an English version but if you have a friend who is familiar with Japanese, ask them to translate it for you! People who get bad fortunes can opt to tie it to a temple tree or wire. This is done so bad luck cannot follow you. If you get a good omikuji, you can place it in your wallet because it has greater effect on your luck that way.
When David and I went, there seemed to be a company outing so the temple filled up really quickly. We did manage to view the Ema (Wishing Plaque) stand. If you’re not familiar with them, they are wood boards you can buy to write your wish on. I’ve bought and made a wish on a lot of these in various Shinto shrines in Japan. Kanda Myojin is especially famous for having cool anime drawings on their Emas.
After our quick stop at the shrine, we ended up going to the Gundam Café. If you’re not a huge fan of the anime franchise, I suggest you choose somewhere else to eat lunch at. The food is mediocre and there’s usually a long line outside.
We arrived just as soon as it opened so it we didn’t have to wait to get in. Also, it was a week day so we avoided the students who usually venture to the restaurant. They offered “Japanized” American fare. We both decided to order kaarage which is basically fried chicken. The order came with garlic bread. I also wanted to try their weird soda drinks. I got one that was blue, and it was surprisingly pretty tasty. David went the safest route and ordered iced coffee.
The interior is what I imagined a spaceship cafeteria would look like. There was a big TV screen playing the anime series and various memorabilia around the room. It’s definitely a fast food joint so don’t expect to order at your table.
After filling our bellies with greasy goodness, I decided to show David cool Japanese arcade games. We enjoyed playing the traditional Taiko no Tatsujin which I managed to win! But he did beat me at the Transformers’ shooting game…
There are a lot of unique things to do in Akihabara so if you want to make a day out of it, follow our itinerary and even add in an Owl Café adventure to the mix!