Tokyo's Akihabara is known for its retro game shops, arcades, and store after store of anime goodies. It is not known for bespoke PC hardware or the best gaming keyboards. But nestled into the side streets of northern Akihabara is a very cool little shop called Yushakobo, just opened in January of 2019, that sells keycaps and other components for custom mechanical keyboards. It's also a workspace where you can come and build your own keyboard, complete with tools and even a 3D printer and laser cutter for making custom parts. When I was visiting, I'm pretty sure the laser cutter was stenciling a sign that said "Keyboard cafe."
It's a delightful little store. Here's a collection of photos from my visit, along with descriptions.
My favorite thing in the shop was a keyswitch tester. I've never seen one like this before. Most switch testers come with a variety of switches, say four or maybe eight, so you can feel the difference in resistance and clickyness between a Cherry MX reds and browns and blacks and so on. This one's different.
This switch tester has a PCB like a proper keyboard, and is connected to a monitor that gives you the details about the key you just pressed. And there are so many switches! It's awesome.
The employees at the store didn't speak much English, and I don't speak much Japanese, so I didn't learn much about the shop beyond what I could see. But if I lived in Tokyo, this is definitely the place I'd come to get a specially designed keyboard.
Special thanks to reader Jack Slater for telling me about the shop!