April was harsh — two weeks in and I had my bag snatched by some bike-riding thieves; they got away with my phone, tablet, and personal medical equipment. However, instead of purchasing replacements in Manila, I decided to get them in Akihabara. Between the favorable exchange rate and 5% tax rebate, I got a 32GB iPad Mini AND a 32GB Nexus 7 from Softmap Akihabara (MAP) for the price of a 64GB iPad back home.
But that’s not the only deal you can score in Akihabara. If you’re looking for a fancy new mirrorless camera to replace your worn-out point-and-shoot, or looking for something less bulky than your DSLR, Yodobashi Multimedia Akihabara (MAP) is candyland. Every conceivable make and model can be found here at fantastic prices; there are even second-hand ones in excellent condition if you’re on a strict budget.
However, I do have a quick caveat: not all models have an English menu option. Almost all brands can be converted from the Japanese menu to English except for two brands: Sony (Cybershot and NEX) and Panasonic (Lumix). If you prefer these brands, you might have to pay a lot more for the international editions that feature an English menu.
If you are an avid anime fan and figure collector, Akihabara is a one-stop shopping district that can fulfill all your needs. For items fresh from the manufacturer, you can head for the Kotobukiya Store (MAP) — which stocks not just their own products but other lines as well (including Kaiyodo, Good Smile Company, and Bandai).
If you’re not fussy and are fine with second-hand items, the big black building housing Mandarake Complex (MAP) should be your next stop. It houses eight floors of pre-owned collectibles at great prices. The condition is nothing to sneeze at either — most of them are mint in-box and unopened, while others are still packed in their shipping boxes. It’s like getting them new!