From Akihabara Station to the AKB48 Theater…A Walking Tour

Okay, I have made this journey many times now.  It is nice that the AKB48 Theater is such a short walk from Akihabara Station.  And there are quite a few memorable sights along the way…

That is the unceremonious “Electric Town” Entrance/Exit to the JR station.  It is just a block off of the main drag, and is surrounded by office buildings and restaurants.  By the way, I love the ad for the @home cafe inside the station.  But it is virtually impossible to get a clean shot of it with the endless stream of people walking by.  That was the best I could do.

Oh, this is neat!  It just so happens that this weekend is the semi-annual Kanda Matsuri Festival.  These are a few of the shrines on display outside the station.  What a neat even to see!

This is one storefront you won’t miss.  At the first crosstreet is this Sofmap store.  LOL, I have always thought it said “Softmap”!  And there are a bunch of guys out there with bullhorns trying to summons you in, along with loud music and sound effects!

As you continue down the street you will see a bunch of CD and DVD stores.  Many of them specialize in AV goods, and most of them have prominent AKB48 displays out front.  This store mainly sells CD’s.

Oh look at the pretty little maids.  They are all over the place in Akihabara.  What are these girls selling today???

Hahaha, everyone has a gimmick!  Looks like they have their own J-pop single!  I would love to buy it just for the cute cover.  But my spending needs to have some limits!

More of the Kanda Matsuri Festival as they parade down the street right in front of the theater building.

That is the side entrance to the theater building which leads you right to the escalator.  You’ll know you missed it if you come upon these little shops selling Tokoyaki, Rice Balls and Crepes!  By the way, those rice balls are great!  And they are less than 300 yen!

Here is a long shot of the building, in case you get a little lost.

And in case you get really lost, here is the back of the theater building.  Now be careful if you find yourself back here.  It is said that the girls occasionally venture out here (with security) to buy stuff from the vending machines.  And the management seriously frowns upon anyone trying to talk to them while they are outside.  So if you are behind the theater and see a few random idols, do yourself a favor and walk the other way!

Still hungry?  The vending machine out front sells canned ramen, courtesy of Hello Kitty???  Hmmm, no thanks.  The can reminds me too much of cat food!!!

Then it’s up about 8 narrow escalators until you can’t go up any higher.  I love all of the cosplay posters lining the walls as you go up!  You’ll know you have arrived when you begin seeing the AKB48 promos.

And then you are in the theater!  Be sure and say hello to the nice guys manning the info/ticket booth!

Don’t miss the hall of fame.  And be careful not to knock off any of the photos.  The last time I was here someone accidentally broke CinDy’s frame, and it caused quite a ruckus…LOLOL!

<3 <3 <3

Hello Meetan!

After another great show, it’s back on the train bound for my hotel…Uggghhh!

CK in Tokyo

21 thoughts on “From Akihabara Station to the AKB48 Theater…A Walking Tour

  1. A) Sofmap is mentioned in “AKB48.” Now I know what it looks like!
    B) The girls have been spotted near the takoyaki shop area a few times.
    C) So that’s what the back of the theater looks like…

  2. @RSL. Yes, that is where the elevator is where the girls go in and out. You often see a van parked out there, which is their ride to and from the theater.

    @twinstar. What do you mean by the full ranking?

  3. I’m not sure if I’ve posted this in the right place or not but seeing as you’ve got some experience of attending several AKB48 concerts I’d like to ask you a question if I may. I’ve never been to one of their concerts (only had 2 cancel machi emails so far) but I’m hoping to rectify the situation next month. If I’m lucky and manage to get a ticket, what are the procedures that happen when you finally arrive at the theater with your ticket? As my Japanese isn’t that good, are the instructions the people at the theater give to you in order to find your seat hard to understand?

  4. Okay, here we go…

    First a question for you, did you try to go to the show anyway when you had cancel machi? You have a better chance of getting in than you might think, even if your number is high. That said,

    First off, if you have won a reservation, be sure and get there prior to the 30 minute deadline. So for a 7pm show, if you get there moment after 6:30, you have to wait until everyone is in for the possibility to buy a ticket. And be sure and have your id. I carry my passport.

    After the cutoff, they begin to call out cancel machi numbers. You will need to know how to count in Japanese in order to hear your number. If they call you, you can then buy a ticket. They stop when they have sold the last “lottery” ticket. But don’t leave yet if you still haven’t won. There is going to be a second cancel machi call at the end.

    Once you have your ticket, you will line up according to number. Look for the little sheets they place on the floor, and just find your place in the order. If you have an enpou ticket, you will be in the 216-230 range (I think). They then lead the girls ticket holders into the theater, followed by the enpou ticket holders. They get to sit in the last two rows in the center section.

    Then the keno balls start, which represent groups of ten (0-9, 10-19, 20-29 etc) Once again, knowing how to count helps. But even if you can’t, you will know when your group begins walking in. If you have any bags and such, they will make you “check them in” for 100 yen, and put them in a plastic bag. Once you get into the theater, you just find a place to sit or stand. There is no reserved seating.

    After everyone is in the theater, they then decide if they can fit anyone else in. They usually can. They then re-commence calling cancel machi numbers and also the people who won but were late. They usually let about a dozen or so more people in. But the good news is that many people have left at that point, so even if your number is high, often you still have a decent chance of getting in. Although you will be far in the back, so your view won’t be so great. I have gotten in with cancel machi #115 before.

    And there ya go. Enjoy the show! If you have any more questions, just ask!

  5. Thanks CK for your information, much appreciated. The cancel machi numbers I had were #135 and #140. I decided they were too high so I didn’t go to the theater. Maybe that was a mistake! Luckily I can count in Japanese so that shouldn’t be a problem for me. I’ll let you know whether I was successful or not in getting a ticket.

  6. I heard that tickets sell out fast for each show. For example if i want to watch the 1900 show, wat time must i go and buy the tickets? Do i expect a long quee?

  7. @jirachi87 Actually it isn’t like that anymore. You need to win the tickets via their email lottery. Yes the shows all sell out. But if you consistently email I am sure you will eventually win. For example, on my last trip I won 6 of the 13 shows I applied for. On the trip before that I won 3 out of 10. For instructions on how to enter their email lottery, go to and read the topic under “General Discussion”

  8. It’s quite complicated, just to confirm with you
    lets’s say i am watching 08月29日 weekday show, i am not a FC member
    i need to send email 5 days before on 08月24日,00:00am – 8pm
    Subject line: 08月29日
    Text: My name (real name?)
    Address (my accomodation address?)

    since i am a foreigner, i can only use the “Enpou” method to send?
    am i qualified for the other method also?

  9. @jirachi87 You almost have it…

    First off, as a foreigner you can apply for enpou (5 days before) and ippan (2 days before), so you have two chances. For the enpou put your name and hometown, not your accomodation. For the ippan mail you only need to put your name. And the email address should have the date of the show you want to attend. In your example it would be for enpou and for ippan.

    And dont forget the 1回目, 2回目 or 3回目 if there are multiple shows that day. Make sure you check the schedule beforehand on AKB48’s official website.

    Oh, and some say that it makes a difference what email domain you use, and you want to avoid using an email address that puts ads at the bottom. I (and others) have had good luck using gmail.

  10. thanks for the help,
    i will be going with 4 friends so all can send the emails
    check with u does it have any limitation in buying the tickets?
    lets say the 4 of us only one of us get the replied emails and so can we buy 4 tickets?

  11. Only the person who wins gets a ticket. So if the four of you apply and only one wins, only that person can go. They check your id with the winners list at the booth…

    But you all can apply to win together with a “renban” email. You can do that INSTEAD of ippan (2 days before) Put all of your names in the body, and send to

    Oh, and you need to know what to look for when you get a response. If you don’t get a reply, it means you don’t win. There are examples of the “winning” and “cancel machi” emails at If you see a number between 1-150, that means you are on the cancellation list. Go to the theater early and wait by the booth for them to call cancel machi numbers, maybe you will get in. The winning email will only have the arrival time, no number between 1-150. But if it is an enpou win it will have a number between 215-230 (I think that’s the range) on it.

    Have fun

  12. thanks wii try that out, i will be going japan for a week only
    what do u think for the possibilty rate of winning?

  13. I just found out that for August shedule they will be performing at G-ROSSO theatre, so do i follow the same procedure in getting the tickets?

  14. Hmmm, I am not well versed on the G-Rosso ticket system, although I do know you have to “register” at the Lawson (I think) web site to buy tickets. Beyond that I am not sure. However, they are still performing at the AKB48 theater during the G-Rosso performances. So yes, you can still follow the regular procedures. Just check the schedule at the AKB48 website.

    If you check Stage48, I believe there are directions regarding the G-Rosso procedure. But since I have never been there for that, I am not sure. The cool thing about G-Rosso is the post-show handshakes. So if you can figure out how to get a ticket, good for you…and let me know how it’s done 😀

  15. Hi,

    I just know about this update for watching AKB48.
    The official blog announced that they’re changing the way they do tickets. No longer do you need to count down the days until a performance! Now it’s all done via the web. You create an account (yes, even for foreigners can do this!), and when a performance is close enough, you apply. If you win, you get an email. If you don’t, you get nothing but nights of bitterness wondering what could have been.

    wonder have you try this before? i just registered an account but still need more info about how to apply for the show

  16. I am in the same boat as you. I have registered, but I am yet to try it out. The rumor is that it is easy to use, even for foreigners. I’ll figure it out when it is time for me to return in late October.

  17. Hi,

    i just won a ticket for SDN48 show this sat. But the number they put is 888.
    i was wondering why the number was so big and duno whether this is a cancel machi ticket or real ticket.

  18. Hey guys. I’m currently living in Yokohama and spend almost every weekend some time in Akihabara. Since I am a HUGE fan of AKB48, I do really not want to go back to Spain in January without having seen my beloved Haruna!!
    So, can anyone help me on the process to purchase the ticket? I’m well aware of where the Theatre is, have already been there to see how it looks like. But my japanese is still not good enough so as to understand the website… Jirachi87, you seem to know how it works, can you give me a hand?

    So do I need to register first and bid or what? Explain me as if were a dummy please.


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