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2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN: Artsy shopping arcade under JR lines



2022.12.22 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

What happens when you combine unused space underneath Taito City’s Ueno Tokyo Line, fashion and modern design? You get 2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN, a gallery of 50 boutique shops selling unique handcrafted & custom items.

Originally a town where traditional craftsmen gathered to spread Edo culture, today the Okachimachi area is still a center for culture. This cluster of shops is known as 2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN, with the 2k540 referring to the distance from Tokyo Station - 2 km 540m, AKI-OKA indicating its location between Akihabara and Okachimachi stations, and ARTISAN meaning, well, exactly that. It’s a center for artisans of all sorts!

Appearing as an ordinary structure on the outside, the gray cement and iron of the exterior walls give way to an alabaster-white interior as you walk inside. The white walls and pillars create a feeling of spaciousness that seems impossible from the outside. The shopping gallery is connected directly to the outside streets, and if it weren’t for this stark contrast, one might wonder exactly when ‘outside’ became ‘inside’!

Mostly linear, the shopping arcade follows the train lines, with exits to the outside here and there. Some shops are completely open to the central walkway, while others are sectioned off with windowed walls and doors.

Shops range from merchants hawking day to day goods, to fashion accessories and clothing boutiques. There are also several cafes & restaurants to refresh yourself while enjoying bargain hunting and window shopping. 2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN is a treasure trove of shops selling made-in-Japan products made with stunning craftsmanship. Be sure to check it out on your next visit to Akihabara!

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