Unlike Akihabara which is a well-known haven for Anime (otaku) culture that is more popular among fanboys, Otome Road (Maiden Road) in Ikebukuro is very noticeable for its different crowd: women. While major stores that line this road are similar to Akihabara – like Animate, K-Books, and Mandarake – the manga, novels, merchandise, and doujinshi (fan-drawn comics) here are themed specifically towards the female audience, and within this part of the city, images of handsomely illustrated men can be often seen.
In addition to reading material, this Animate outlet has a huge cosplay section and an anime-themed cafe, while Mandarake is known for stocking the world’s most extensive collection of Boy’s Love comics. Another institution here is Swallowtail Cafe, a very popular butler-themed cafe staffed by handsome men.
Otome Road is also famous for cosplay; a variety of cosplay costume shops pepper the area, and there’s a high chance of encountering cosplayers who tend to gather at the park along Otome Road. Companies like Acosta will also organise some of the biggest cosplay events in the city along this street.
Access: Otome Road is an 8-10-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station.