Pre-GiGO transformation (Photo: Daryl Harding)
For many who travel all the way to Akihabara, one of the first places you see coming out of the JR train station Electric Town gate is the arcade. Blaring the latest anime theme song, the SEGA-turned GiGO arcade set the mood for your journey through the otaku paradise, giving you the feeling that you’ve made it home and setting the mood for your outing in the area.
While many have those memories (I distinctly remember hearing Love Live! tunes on the street on my first day in Japan and being in mild shock), new memories of that won’t be made as the GiGO Akihabara No. 4 building has closed its doors for the last time, shutting down after 11 years.
— GiGO 秋葉原 4号館 (@GiGO_Akihabara4) September 25, 2022
People piled into the small street in front of the station to say their goodbyes to the arcade last night. The staff held a talk with the manager thanking people for visiting the arcade over the last 11 years and was sorry that they couldn’t welcome them back again.
GiGO revealed back in August that the closure was due to the end of the fixed-term lease for the building and the non-renewal of the contract to extend it.
The manager of the arcade tearing up as he thanked onlookers (Image via kaztsu.com)
— ﾂﾙﾐﾛﾎﾞ (@kaztsu) September 25, 2022
This is just the latest closure of an Akihabara arcade, with the iconic Sega Akihabara Building 2 closing its doors earlier in August 2020 and the relocation of the popular Ikebukuro GiGO to a much smaller building across the street. GiGO Akihabara No. 1, 3 and 5 all remain in the area for the time being.
All the SEGA arcades are currently going through a renaming process due to GiGO’s parent company GENDO buying up SEGA’s shares and becoming the majority stakeholder in the company.
Daryl Harding is a Senior Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.