Tokyobling's Blog

2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on March 5, 2014

In Tokyo people do their best to make the most of any little space they can find and recently the space underneath the elevated rail lines are getting some much needed revitalization by the Japan Railways Urban Development Corporation. The spaces underneath the railway lines have always been used for various things, storage areas, shops, restaurants and even galleries. The 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan is the latest of these multi-use spaces, underneath the Yamanote line between Akihabara and Okachimachi stations. Well, it is not all that recent actually. The space is shared by a number of artisan shops and craftsmen, selling everything from kaleidoscope kits to plastic art. If you are into crafts and handmade items it is great place to visit.

The name is the usual portmanteau that Japanese corporations love! 2k540 is a railway term for the distance from Tokyo Station, two kilometers and 540 meters. Aki is short for Akihabara and Oka is short for Okachimachi (the place is about 1/3 of the way closer to Okachimachi station than to Akihabara station). Right now there are about 46 shops and galleries and 4 cafes and restaurants. I couldn’t try any of them out since they were all full when I visited on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The official website is here, unfortunately no information in English so far. The stores also do not allow photography so the photos are little limited!

It is very easy to find your way here even without a map. Just get off the JR Okachimachi station and walk towards Akihabara along the elevated railway. Or the other way around.












14 Responses

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  1. englandliebhaber said, on March 5, 2014 at 8:59 am

    It is a good way to use space creatively. In England we use the alcoves underneath the railway track for work shops.


    • tokyobling said, on March 7, 2014 at 12:29 am

      With good use the infrastructure doesn’t feel in the way for everyday life! (^-^)


  2. Jonelle Patrick said, on March 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Aki-Oka is one of those places that would get a lot more traffic if the stores WOULD let people take pictures of the great stuff they have. (><) It really puzzles me when artists don't let their customers bring in more potential customers by posting pictures of their work. For example, I took a picture of the display window of the Hacoa store, with their amazingly crafted all-wood computer keyboard, and had all kinds of people wondering where to buy it.


    • tokyobling said, on March 7, 2014 at 12:32 am

      I agree with you! For stuff I respect their owner’s wishes though. But I usually don’t bother visiting places or events where you can’t take photos. Which includes most national museums… (^-^;)


      • Jonelle Patrick said, on March 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

        Me too. I figure that display windows outside a store are fair game, but I would really have liked to take a picture of that beautiful keyboard without any glass glare between me and it. (><) I understand museums not wanting people to take flash pictures of artwork that deteriorates in too much light, but totally can't understand why places like the bonsai museum in Omiya needs to shield their trees from people who are dying to post pictures and say, "hey, it's worth a trip way out here to see these." Odd.


  3. tokyoaaron said, on March 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Interesting! Makes sense: in New York and Toronto they turned old factories and warehouses into artist studios; in Tokyo the space to reclaim is tucjed under the railway tracks…


  4. TonyJ2 said, on March 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Interesting how these uses of space become common place over years – and great to see. In my home of Sydney Australia out public transport particularly rail lines are very poor. I wish we would look at the long term value of elevated lines.


    • tokyobling said, on March 7, 2014 at 12:36 am

      I agree! Apart from the construction cost I can’t see many minuses of elevated rail lines. Especially in the city centers. It is cheaper than the alternative (burying them) at least. (^-^)


  5. Shelli@howsitgoingeh? said, on March 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Wow! Cool! Innovative! A great way to put use to a commonly underused but valuable space! How do you find out about all these local places?


    • tokyobling said, on March 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

      Haha… It is a mystery to me too! (^-^;) I am so busy with work that I hardly ever have time to “discover” anything any more. It is quite sad! But sometimes I am lucky and people recommend places and things to me.


  6. Cathryn said, on March 7, 2014 at 4:59 am

    This is amazing, I can’t wait to visit next time we go to Tokyo!


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