Looking to blow off steam after a hard day’s work as a salary man? Well loosen your tie and head to one of the abundant, brightly lit arcades in Japan.
What’s with Arcades in Japan?
While not as popular in North America, arcades in Japan seem to flourish and are packed to the brim with men of all ages. These men are nearly always dressed in suits, possibly due to the fact that it could be lunchtime and they’re getting in a quick game or they just haven’t made it home from work yet. Finding a seat among the suits won’t be challenging because most of the tourist-friendly games are less frequented than the complex, non-English, role-playing games. You’d basically need a diaper to play those because you won’t be leaving your seat for a very long time.
One of the first machines you will see when entering an arcade is the UFO catcher. This is basically a variation of the North American stuffed animal claw machine. A prize sits on two steel bars and the idea is you have to somehow knock it off. Try it once or twice but I wouldn’t spend your life savings here because the odds of winning are like most prize machines: almost nonexistent.
Dance Dance Revolution and Rhythm Games
Still very popular, Dance Dance Revolution can be found in most arcades throughout Tokyo. The Japanese have perfected this already and it’s as natural as riding a bike for them so new games that incorporate the beat of the music and punching certain buttons in rhythm have become very popular. Below is a video of one of the most popular games: Project DIVA, which had locals and us alike playing for hours.
What about everything else?
Not only will you still find all the racing and old-style Pac-Man games that you are used to but you will also have the option to play ping-pong, go bowling, hit a few golf balls and even test your strength against a sumo wrestler. And I wouldn’t forget about all the games that made no sense to a foreigner: flashing lights, loud noises, anime and Japanese writing…uh I’ll skip that one. Let’s just say, whatever you’re looking for in an arcade game, you’re sure find it in Japan.
While there are many arcades in Japan, a saturated area to check out is the neighborhood of Akihabara. Go during the day for those less crowded arcades or visit at night when the lights brighten the streets and the city comes to life. And don’t forget to bring lots of Yen because each game will cost at least $1 or more.