Skip to content

Akihabara history

What kind of image do you have of Akihabara?
Electric town? Is it a town of anime and other otaku?
Here, I would like to talk about the history of Akihabara.

Bunka no Taika

Originally, Akihabara was home to what was known as Chinkaisha (now Akiba Shrine).
During the Edo period (1603-1868), houses were made of wood, and when a fire broke out, the whole of Edo was often set on fire.
For this reason, the people of Edo believed in Akiba Gongen as a god of fire prevention.
Akiba Gongen is believed to be a real person. It is said that a man named Sanshakubo, who left a legend on Mt.
(There are other theories as well.)

The area around the Akiba Shrine was cleared of fire to prevent fire from spreading.
The place was called “Akiba-no-hara,” which gave rise to the name “Akihabara.

The present Akihabara’s electric town existed as a fruit and vegetable market for about 270 years since the Edo period (1603-1868).
The reason for this is that there were many waterways around Akihabara, making it easy to transport goods by ship.
There was a shipyard where Yodobashi Akiba is now located.
As a result, Akihabara has many set meal restaurants that serve large quantities of food for people who do physical labor.
At a place called Adachi’s, the amount of rice was 3.5kg. (This is the Japanese unit of measurement called “ichi-sho.”)
There are still a few of these restaurants in Akihabara today.

Photo by 大好き神田 より引用

The Akihabara station was opened in 1919.
There was also a station called “Manseibashi Station” near Akihabara.
Banzebashi Station was set up by the Koubu Railway, which is now the JR Chuo Line.
However, due to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Banzebashi Station was lost.
Akihabara Station later became a passenger station and expanded to become a station in the Akihabara area.


Mansei Bashi Sstation.

Photo by 大好き神田 より引用

Akihabara Station

There were two factors that led to the formation of Akihabara as an electric town.
The first was the assembly and sale of radios, which was started as a part-time job by students of the nearby Electrical Engineering College right after World War II (1945).
The second was the concentration of electrical appliance stores in Akihabara that supplied parts for the radios.
These were unlicensed stores, but the area under the railroad tracks in Akihabara was chosen as an alternative location.
Secondly, many electrical appliance companies visited Akihabara for the purpose of stocking up.
As a result, the reputation of Akihabara as a place to buy electrical appliances spread.


In Japan, there was a boom in home appliances called the “Three Sacred Treasures,” which made Akihabara the biggest electronics town in Japan.
In the first boom (1950s), it was black and white TVs, washing machines, and refrigerators.
In the second boom (1960s), it was color TVs, air conditioners, and automobiles.

After that, a variety of home appliances were handled, but the wind changed dramatically with the emergence of home appliance mass merchandisers.
Until then, people used to say, “If you want to buy something cheap, go to Akihabara,” but the prices at electronics mass merchandisers became cheaper.
As a result, Akihabara’s main sales product became computers.
The establishment of Laox, a six-story computer-related specialty store in the 1990s, was a major point in this process.
Then, with the broadcast of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” in 1995, stores specializing in figures and other products also appeared in Akihabara, making it a town for otaku.
Also, in 1999, a gal game called “Tokimeki Memorial” was released.
On the day of its release, a huge line of people lined up to buy it, which led to the establishment of stores in Akihabara specializing in gal games and erotic games.
Gal games themselves have been on sale since around 1991. (Princess Maker was probably the first?).
Fate was also a game that came out in this genre at that time.