5 Fun Activities to Do in Game Centres
Japanese game centres are usually colourful and attractive
A trip to Japan is not complete without a visit to a game centre. Japan’s game centres are usually multi-level, with each floor dedicated to a different gaming activity. Surprisingly, game centres are not only popular with children, but with people of all ages. It is not uncommon to see salarymen (working adults) visiting these centres on their way home after a long day at the office.
Let’s look through some of the fun activities you must try in a Japanese game centre…
Gachapon are small vending machines that dispense capsule toys. They are usually found near the entrance of game centres. Part of the fun of gachapon is not knowing which toy (out of the series) you’ll get, therefore making it quite addictive to keep trying to get the one you want. They are usually ¥100 – 300 per play, which also makes them great souvenirs for your friends back home.
UFO catchers usually occupy the first floor of a game centre. You can win snacks, giant toys or collectible figures from these machines, however they are not as easy as they appear to be! Here’s a tip: In big game centres, the attendants will sometimes give you suggestions on how to play or even make it easier for you… but only after you’ve spent some time trying and failing.
Arcade games can be found worldwide and many will remember playing a version of Street Fighter growing up on one of these machines. As with everything in Japan, you can find the latest technology games, such as the rhythm/musical machines or digital card competitions, as well as the retro games that we all loved as kids. Check Akihabara’s game centres in Tokyo if you’d love to relive your childhood fun!
The word “purikura” comes from a shortened form of the term “Print Club” and they’re basically fancy photo booths. They are most frequented by teenage girls or groups of friends. Many offer cosplay opportunities and a beauty corner to apply your make up before entering the booths. The fun is not just in having your photos taken, but also in digitally decorating the photos afterwards at the adjacent booth. Just be aware that many purikura centres only allow men to enter if they are with at least one woman!
Although not as common, some game centres also have a sports area where you can try your hands on baseball batting or catching, soccer kicks, basketball, and more. This is great fun for families with kids or for boyfriends trying to show off their skills on a date.
Bonus: Virtual reality experience
Newer game centres are now starting to introduce virtual reality (VR) arenas and it is definitely something you have to try out for yourself! Find them in Shinjuku or Shibuya when you’re in Tokyo.
Japanese game centres provide plenty of fun for young and old and they are easy to find in the big cities, such as Tokyo or Osaka. It is also a great way to spend an hour or two indoors when it is raining outside. Exploring each floor of a game centre can be an experience in itself, but the adventure lies in trying them out for yourself. Have fun!