Sunday, June 3, 2012

Arcades in Japan: Purikura, Video Games & UFO Catchers

East Shinjuku Taito Game Station

Arcades in Japan are in no way as crazy as they were during the 80s & 90s, but the game centers today are still way more popular than they are in the US. The arcades cater to a lot of different types of crowds - not just the old retro-gamer fanatics and creepy otaku, but also to teenage girls, couples on dates, and salary-man relaxing after a long day at the office. Besides the classic and new games (from fighting titles to strategy card collecting games; from trivia quizzes to virtual horse racing), places such as Taito Game Station and Club Sega have entire floors dedicated to purikura picture booths and UFO catchers, which feature prizes like Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Gloomy Bear, and collectables for all the moe-fans of the world.

When Mark and I went to Japan, we spent a good amount of time in arcades in the area. Besides the two mentioned above, some other game centers we visited Namco Nakano, Adores Kabukicho, and a Game Goose in Koenji. Here are some pictures I took from all the locations:


Tokyo Video Game Arcade

Persona 3 Fighting Game Tokyo
This guy was playing the new Persona 3 fighting game in Shibuya and we creepy watched for a second.

Tokyo Arcade

Japan Retro Video Games

AKB48 Taiko Drum Master
The AKB48-ified Taiko Drum Master that I loved in the Nishi Shinjuku Club Sega.

Video Game Arcade in Shinjuku

Japan Arcade

Club Sega Shinjuku
I watched Mark for a second then I was distracted by a cute girl destroying at Tetris around the corner.

Japanese Video Game Arcade

Tokyo Video Games

Club Sega Shinjuku

The arcades we visited were pretty fun -- bright, busy, crowded, and really, really loud. Imagine hundreds of video game cabinets at full blast, accompanied by arcade attendants shouting, sometimes with megaphones. The only thing that wasn't amazing was the cigarette smoke, especially in the video game floors. No ventilation, tight spaces, and tons of sweaty guys smoking. Hm..


Arcades in Tokyo

Rilakkuma Toy
He was walking around that podium. Reminded me of Blade Runner a little bit.

UFO Catcher

UFO catchers are a little different than ones you see in the US. The prizes are a lot cooler, for one thing, but they take a lot more strategy and players are more wiling to shovel in the 100Y coins to get what they want. I won one toy - and Mark and I tried all vacation, it felt like - and it took about 1000Y to finally work it out. I ended up using the claw to push the stuffed Gloomy Bear through the bottom of the game, instead of picking it up and pulling it out.

Toys in Japan

Nakano NAMCO Arcade
A lot of the catchers had food inside, instead of toys.

Japanese UFO Catchers

Cute Toys in Japan
I love that yellow cat.

Kawaii Japan

Japanese Arcade

San-X Sentimental Circus UFO Catcher
I saw a lot of San-X Sentimental Circus stuff.

Japan Arcade Tokyo

Gloomy Bear UFO Catcher bunny
Markie tried very hard to win me prizes, but it is hard!

Chocolate Gloomy Bear
My Gloomy that I won all by myself on the last day there in Kabukicho Taito Game Station. The game attendant cheered when I showed her, it was awesome.


Purikura Arcade

Any good Japan dork knows all there is to know about Purikura. These are like photo booths here, but 100 times more fun. You have an entire booth to stand up in and they can fit around five girls. You choose your backgrounds, take the pictures in the bright-white booth, and then go around the cabinet to the other side to deco your pictures up. It's pretty fun, and usually only about 500Y or so. You can also get the photos emailed to you or sent to your phone, which is cool, too!

Shibuya Purikura

Purikura Photo Booth Tokyo
I LOVE PURIKURA - editing my photos at the Club Sega in Shibuya.

Purikura Tokyo
My finished product.


  1. Ah! I love the pictures of you! Adorable!

  2. Aww those purikura pics are so cute! And that gloomy bear too! And that yellow cat and and.. n__n

  3. Those pictures at the end looked so fun. I wish we had something like that! Mayeb one day...

  4. Yay! So Cute!! Awesome purikura! :)

  5. Very cool that there's a variety in games. The few arcades I've been at only have the usual gun/zombie/dinosaur thing and you run out of amino fast. xD

    True! Prizes at the US suck haha. Very cute stuffed animals.. and food?! That's different.

    i love the gloomy you won!

    1. I love that the arcades in Japan are for so many different types of people :)

  6. Oh my :) This looks so interesting and fun!!! I want to go to Japan one day, it is my dream haha! You just made it even better now that I see all the cute things! I love your blog! It is adorable! Visit mine: I am a store owner and specialize into foreign fashion and I am a nail artist: I do 3 Japanese nails! You might want to take a look :) hihi, see you!


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