People in Japan can’t believe the otaku haven looked so different just a few decades ago. 

Akihabara is well known for its maid cafes, vending machines and AKB48 performances, making it a mecca for otaku geeks with niche obsessions. It wasn’t always like this, though, as today’s billboard-filled streets once catered to a sportier, more athletic crowd, at least in the area directly in front of Akihabara Station. 

This forgotten sports history of the area re-emerged online recently, thanks to a tweet from Twitter user @koba200x1. The tweet they shared showed a photo of Akihabara looking very different to how it does today, with the surprising image revealing there was once a large basketball court just outside the station. 

The image came with this message:

“We’re now approaching an era where if you tell young people ‘There was a basketball court in front of Akihabara Station’, they won’t believe you lol”

As it turns out, young people weren’t the only ones surprised by the revelation, as the tweet was liked and retweeted thousands of times, with people leaving comments like:

“Omg I had no idea this existed!”
“My mind is blown. Who knew there was once a basketball court in Electric Town?!”
“Wow, it kind of looks like Akihabara today but so different.”
“I vaguely remember this from when I was in elementary school. So sad it’s not there anymore.”
“There’s just a big empty area there today — they should’ve kept the basketball court!”

It’s true that the area in front of the station where the basketball court once was is now simply a wide paved space today, and @koba200x1 lined up these two photos to show the difference between now (left) and then (right).

According to reports, the basketball court at Akihabara Station existed until 2004, after which time it was removed when the area around the station was redeveloped during construction of the nearby UDX building.

This look back at Tokyo’s recent past prompted a walk down memory lane that included other surprising revelations around the city, including the fact that the stretch of land now home to the Yodobashi Camera head store in Shinjuku was once the site of a water purification plant

And the area above Shibuya Station was once home to a cable car.

It’s amazing to see how different some of Tokyo’s most familiar sights look after just a few short decades. Still, despite all the massive redevelopments around the capital, it’s nice to know there are some places that haven’t changed, including the quaint milk bar where ladies open bottles of milk for you on platform five at Akihabara Station.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Flickr/Junya Ogura (edited by SoraNews24)
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