A memorable place will be gone soon

Some of you might have visited Akihabara Radio Store (ARS) in Akihabara, a downtown in Tokyo, famous for radio parts shops. That store has rows of small branch stores along narrow walkways beneath the railway of Chuo line. It has been established 64 years ago. Many hams have gathered there for radio parts. Whenever I went there, I found a lot of people around there. There have been such radio stores all around Akihabara. They have been downsized owing to the prevaing computer shops. 

In 1960s when I was a newcomer in ham radio, I used to go there once a month looking for some parts. I used to make a single 6BA5 receiver for the very first home made one in my life. When I turned it on, the tube suddenly exploded. What a scary event! I didn't know why. Maybe, the high voltage DC was wired to the heater of 6BA5. I have made all my equipments by myself later on. All the parts were purchased in Akihabara.

I have often attended the other radio store named Radio Department Store close to ARS in Akihabara. In my low teen days, I have known to one of the personnel, a young man, who has kindly helped me to collect the parts I needed. Almost twenty years later, when I was a postgraduate student at my mother school, I needed a radio part and went to the same store. I found that person working at the same branch there. He has not recognized me, of course. I felt it went back to my kid days then. That Radio Department Store was replaced to a computer shop not so long after that.

Recently, the news said that ARS would be finally closed by the end of this Nov. One of my memorable places, or I should say, the last place in my good old days will be gone away soon. Shall I visit there again before it is closed?


  1. Reminded me of radio row in New York City. I never visited there but remember the stories from the old days. It was demolished in 1966 for construction of the World Trade Center. There is a Wikipedia entry.
    I worked at an electronics distributor in Miami right after high school. Learned a lot. Then went on to engineering school. (BSEE, U of Miami, 1970)
    Yes, you should visit one last time.


    1. Terry,

      Thanks for the info about the radio shop in NYC. I bet there should be such a place in the US. Interesting on your career as well. You became an engineer while I went to the field of medicine. Yes, I surely would visit there again. There must be small shops I looked for resisters, capacitors or speakers etc.


  2. Shin,
    Go visit soon to reinforce your memories of the place. Towards the end, good memories are all that remain.
    Dennis W0JX

    1. I quit home brewing radio since teen age days. But it was a Mecca for me. Sure I will visit there, Dennis. Maybe, I will take some photos which, as you say, reinforce my memories.

    2. Manabu JE1RZR and Atsu JE1TRV took me to that shop a few years ago when I was in Tokyo. A fantastic place full of old valves (tubes!) and components. You could look around for a long time.The sales people left you alone. I liked that.
      In Singapore we have Sim Lim Tower, a large electronics shopping centre selling discrete components. It is changing a great deal now. The old shops selling surplus test gear and boat-anchor radios have all gone. But there are still amazing shops that sell RF coils and FETs. In a few years they will go also. That is the way of things. (Sigh).