Radio Center

“Radio Center” (“Rajio sentaa” – ラジオセンター) is a group of many little shops specialized in electronic components: multimeters, transistors, valves, capacitors, robot components, you can even find humanoid robots! The biggest electronic components department store in the world. Walking by these shops, that are all below the rail tracks next to Akihabara Station feels like being inside Gunnm. If you love creating your own electronic circuits and micro-robots then you found your paradise, if not you will still have fun walking around the little shops inside the Radio Center and observing how clients spend time selecting the proper transistors or negotiating the price of an old 70‘s computer.

Radio Center
Radio Center entrance, the flying robot is the mascot character.

“Radio Center” was the name of the first area where electronics started to be sold in Akihabara, the main stuff were “radios”. But after some time Akihabara became a TV place, a computer place, an otaku place and lately is a super-hobby-electronics area. But the original “Radio Center” shops remained and resisted the capitalist avalanche. I love that in Japan they start new things but they keep the old ones, for example, they are obsessed with digital cameras but you can still find hundreds of shops selling “analog” cameras in Tokyo. Another example are the retro games shops you can find everywhere in Japan where you can buy 80s-90s video games. Keeping the old, properly conserving it and creating new things, that’s the Japanese way.

Radio Center

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You can find all kinds of electronic components, from old valves till the new FPGAs or micro controllers.

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Radio Center shops are extremely little, old, nostalgic, shabby and some corners full of cables feel even creepy. Many of the shops inside Radio Center don’t even have a door, there is a little hole in the middle of all the electronic components mess where the clerk can attend his clients. Radio Center has two entrances, one is just next to the “Akihabara electric town” exit from Akihabara station, the other one is below the train tracks bridge (There is a big robot and a spaceship easy to recognize). The first floor has many GPS navigation shops, multimeter shops and LED shops. The second floor has even more specialized shops with components for robots, motors, and old radio components. If you buy something remember that on these type of places you are supposed to negotiate the price.

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  • 1.- Radio Center main entrance
  • 2.- “Radio Department”, is a Radio Center extension.
  • 3.- “New Radio Center”, is another Radio Center Extension
  • Google Maps link.
8 Comments
  • sheerblade

    November 19, 2008 at 9:06 am

    My father would clean that place out in minutes, he loves that type of stuff.

  • Grenn

    November 19, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Impressing, but let me guess…
    It’ a mans domain???

  • Ekowc

    November 19, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    woah, just like my grandfather’s garage.
    So full of stuff that there is only one narrow walkway

  • ait_meijin

    November 21, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Awesome post. These pictures remind me of several scenes from “Cowboy Bebop”. Very nostalgic indeed.

  • Curtis

    November 22, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Nice write and photos. I’ve just added this as a place to visit when i’m in japan next year.

    -Curtis

  • Hatix

    January 14, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Oh, I thought there was only one Radio Center under the railroad bridge. Gonna check out the other ones too next time ^^

  • Wilson

    January 23, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I was very fond of walking in this place when I worked in japan … good times.

  • Mike

    September 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Shabby, crowded shops like that feel far more “honest” than the slick, spotless megastores with uniformed drone staff. Of course I wouldn’t have a clue what I was doing with any of this electronic stuff but antique bookshops are often the same sort of thing XD
    Also I see Sun Microsystems computers. Cambridge represent XD