The famed electronics marketplace Akihabara in Japan has started to move with the times as adoption of Bitcoin rises within stores in the district.

What is Akihabara?

The area houses a huge array of shops selling everything from computers and gaming systems to household appliances and entertainment devices. It has also developed into a popular destination for gamers and is building a strong anime/manga subculture.

Akihabara attracts masses of tourists, as well as locals, to its high-tech electronic stores, but up until very recently, the electronic marketplace has only been accepting regular fiat currency. Now, there is a movement to integrate with high-tech digital currencies, as you would expect in a district that prides itself on technology and gadgetry.

Such a district would be predicted to be leading the mass adoption of digital currencies as a payment system, but in all honesty, it has been a slow take off in Akihabara.

Currently, there is only a small percentage of stores accepting Bitcoin, but there is rapid and recognizable growth.

Why is it important?

Forging the way in Japan is BIC Camera stores, they opened doors in Akihabara this week and started accepting Bitcoin immediately using Bitflyer. Other early adopters include Ark Computer Store that takes Bitcoin as well as a local favorite, Monacoin.

Retail stores are booming in their acceptance and adoption to Bitcoin with this week also seeing the retail giant in the country, Recruitment Lifestyle, confirming their Bitcoin-ready point of Sale app is ready to go in 260,000 stores.

Bitcoin’s use as a functioning currency is skyrocketing in Japan, and it is not just retail and technology stores. Property management firm Dualtrap, in the same district, also accepts Bitcoin through local exchange Coincheck.

There are restaurants in Akihabara, such as Au Tokyoite, which features Swiss cuisine, that accept the digital currency.

Big in Japan

There is still a bit of feeling out and experimentation taking place in Japan in determining the best way in which to utilize Bitcoin in brick and mortar stores, with Coincheck the leaders thus far having built Recruitment Lifestyles payment app.

However, many stores accept smart cards such as Suica and Pasmo, and the news is that there are plans in place for turning these smartcards into Bitcoin hardware wallets.