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Akihabara, also known as “Akiba,” is a neighborhood in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan. It is generally considered to be the area surrounding Akihabara Station. The name Akihabara is a shortening of Akibagahara, which ultimately comes from Akiba, named after a fire-controlling deity of a firefighting shrine built after the area was destroyed by a fire in 1869.

During the Edo period (1603 to 1868), Akihabara was where lower-class samurai were thought to live, and the area served as a passage between the capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo) to the north. Fires frequently ravaged the flatlands here, leading to the construction of Chinkasha, a shrine thought to help prevent future fires, in the late 1860s.

After World War II, Akihabara became a major shopping center for household electronic goods and the post-war black market. Today, it is considered by many to be the epicenter of modern Japanese otaku culture, and is a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, electronics, and computer-related goods. Icons from popular anime and manga are displayed prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés and some arcades are found throughout the district.

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