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Den Den Town: Osaka's Very Own Akihabara
Akihabara in Tokyo is famous for being the epicenter of Otaku Culture the world over. It's got everything from discount electronics, anime and manga shops, massive arcades and of course Maid Cafes. There is however another "Akihabara" in Osaka known as Den Den Town. While Akihabara gets all the press, Den Den town is just has happening and full of interesting adventures for the would be explorer.
Nipponbashi AKA Den DEn Town
Officially known as Nipponbashi, Den Den Town is a famous hot spot in downtown Osaka. It's a popular hang out for young people and caters especially to the Otaku crowd.Den Den features blocks and blocks of electronic shops, net cafes, manga shops and maid cafes.
The Den in Den Den town means "electric" in Japanese. So if translated into English it would be "Electric Electric Town."
Post World War 2 Japan experienced an economic miracle that saw it's economy rise to become the second largest in the world. And riding this economic boom and partly responsible for it, was Japan's electronic's industry. As Japanese companies pumped out every affordable and more high tech gadgets for households, so to did electronic shopping districts pop up. The 2 biggest in Japan being Tokyo's Akihabara, and Osaka's Den Den Town.
To this day Den Den Town still is a great destination to shop if you are an avid electronics enthusiast. You can find everything from smart phones, cameras, household appliances and computers to the latest gaming systems such as the upcoming Nintendo 3DS and Sony's Playstation 3.
However recently Den Den town has been facing stiff competition from Yodobashi Camera, a multilevel electronics superstore in Umeda, another part of Osaka. Still, if you love electronics it's worth a trip to Den Den Town even just for window shopping
Otaku culture thrives in Den Den Town, just as it does in Akihabara. You can find a huge variety of manga and anime shops with even the most obscure, hard to find titles available. Collectibles related to games anime and manga can also be found in abundance. From the most rare and expensive collectibles to cheap souvenir figurines.
As mentioned above, you can find lot's of video games here. Some shops have games and gaming equipment literally spilling out onto the streets. It's not just new titles either, you can find old and obscure titles as well. Gaming equipment is also available. You can easily find old Super Nintendo's or playstation's with all their related equipment neatly packaged and in guaranteed working order. If you are big gamer I'm 100% sure you wont walk away way without purchasing something. The deals and the goods offered are just too good to pass up.
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Take a break at a Maid Cafe in Den Den Town
After a long day of browsing through electronic goods and manga, or trying your hand at the latest arcade rythm game, you'll need to relax. Fortunately Den Den Town is full of nice places to relax, drink coffee, and enjoy other's company.
The most famous of these places being the legendary Maid Cafe. Now famous worldwide, Japan's maid Cafes are common enough to be found in most major cities. However, Tokyo and Osaka have by far the largest number and most interesting. If you are not familiar with maid cafe's the basic premice is that upon entering you will be waited on hand and foot by cute Japanese girls wearing maid outfits. They will treat you like their master, bring you cute little sweats and giggle at your akward attempts at conversation. You can even play games with them, and some cafe's put on little shows and performances much like the increasingly popular AKB48 idol group. This all comes at a price however, so watch out! A simple game of paddy cake can cost you 500 yen ($5).
Even if you are not a big Otaku, I still recommend going. The cafe's can be great fun. I myself never even thought of going to one until I was exploring around Den Den Town and saw a cafe, and thought "why not? It will be an experience." It was! I don't think I'll return but now I can say I've been to one at least once in my life.
If you need something even more relaxing you should check out the various net cafes. Now in Japan, net cafe's are a whole different breed than what you would expect elsewhere in the world. For one, you get your own semi private room to relax in. And 2, you get a huge comfy chair, all the manga you can read, all the drinks you can drink and access to internet and video games all for a flat rate. A lot of people find the places comfortable enough to use them as hotels as these places often have a public bath and shower room for use by the guests as well. Plus the rates are cheap enough especially if you spring for an all night stay to make it more cost effective than staying in a standard hotel. Even if you just want to take a break and recharge your batteries I highly recommend going to one of these.
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