Relive Your Childhood at These Tokyo Arcades!

Don’t you remember the times when we used to meet our friends at the nearest Timezone and played all our weekly allowance away, where we battled it out for the high score, or collected tickets to win all sorts of prizes. That was before mobile games and PlayStations, and it seems that for most of the world, arcades are a thing of the past.

But not in Japan. This country is known for all its childish wonders, like Tokyo Disneyland, the Doraemon Experience , and Tokyo Legoland. When Japan kids encountered the likes of Pac-Man and Space Invaders back in 1978, they were instantly hooked. And while the boom has definitely passed, Japan’s arcades have become such a  fixture in contemporary Japan there’s no doubt they’re here to stay.

Which is great news for us! Here are the 10 best Japan Arcades in Tokyo to relive those grade school days!

Hirose Entertainment Yard (HEY) by Taito

Tokyo, Japan: Hirose Entertainment Yard (HEY) Arcade by Taito
Tokyo, Japan: Hirose Entertainment Yard (HEY) Arcade by Taito

If the neighborhood arcades are like churches to the Japan gaming youth, then the Hirose Entertainment Yard—or ‘HEY’—is the grand cathedral. With its neon lights and dedicated floors to all sorts of arcade staples, this place has become an icon in itself. Perhaps it’s because HEY has been around longer than most arcades, but HEY is where you can see Tokyo’s most competitive hang out, show off, and swap gaming tips—in other words, an authentic, organic community. But don’t let this intimidate you; the HEY community is very welcoming to noobs and tourists.

  • Address: 1-10-5 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Club Sega

Tokyo, Japan: Club Sega Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Club Sega Arcade (Flickr/Ryan Bailey)

Even in the midst of Tokyo’s electronics Mecca, Club Sega is impossible to miss. At a staggering seven stories tall, Club Sega is Japan’s largest arcade and is a welcoming place for both serious gamers and newbies. People who come in come here to stay, and the building is equipped with coffee, vending machines, and cup noodles for gamers not ready to hit pause anytime soon. As a video game developer themselves, Club Sega’s fifth floor is dedicated to their own produced games. And word on the street is, you can test out some of their new releases here before they even hit the markets!

  • Address: 1-10-9 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Sega Gigo

Tokyo, Japan: Sega Gigo Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Sega Gigo Arcade

Visitors headed to Sega GiGo will be sent on a wild nostalgia trip. Among all of Japan’s iconic arcades, Sega GiGo has the supreme honor of housing the first Pokemon game ever. Another legendary game? Sega Gigo has floors dedicated to the iconic claw machines and capsule toy dispensers we all remember from childhood.

  • Address: 1-15-1 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Game Bar-A-Button

Tokyo, Japan: Game Bar-A-Button Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Game Bar-A-Button Arcade

For something a little more upscale and a little more adult, head to Game Bar-A-Button. As you enter the bar, you’ll see a large HD screen propped over the bar with both vintage and current gaming consoles. Enjoy your cocktails as you speed with Mario Kart. Game Bar-A-Button has managed to keep it both classic and classy, and is a weekend favorite among both the Japan gaming community and travelers.

  • Address: 1-13-9 Taito, Taito-ku, Tokyo
  • Closest Station: Akihabara

Anata No Warehouse

Kawasaki, Japan: Anata No Warehouse Arcade
Kawasaki, Japan: Anata No Warehouse Arcade

For an experience beyond just the arcade games, head to Anata No Warehouse. Not many tourists go here, and for good reason—the place was designed to be a Japan replica of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, and looks just like the former slum town. The arcade is 18-and-over only, and you’ll have to cross sketchy buildings just to get to the games. Surprisingly (or not), the games are the only pristinely preserved things in the entire complex. And while this isn’t technically in Tokyo, it’s so close to the city it hardly makes a difference.

  • Address: 3-7, Kawasaki, Nisshincho, Kanagawa
  • Train Station: Kawasaki

Tokyo Joypolis

Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Joypolis Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Joypolis Arcade

What happens when you combine a theme park and an arcade? You’ve got the incredible Joypolis, which takes the outdoor experience of amusement park rides and combines them with the latest in virtual technology. Its indoor rollercoaster and chilling haunted house are unlike any other in the country. And while you do a heftier price compared to the other arcades on the list, the one-of-a-kind experience is worth it. 

  • Address: DECKS Tokyo Beach 3F~5F, 1−6−1, Minato, Daiba, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Odaiba-kaihinkōen
  • Book Your Ticket With KKday!

Super Potato

Tokyo, Japan: Super Potato Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Super Potato Arcade (image via Flickr/Antonio Tajuelo)

Another homage to the Golden Age of Gaming is Super Potato, also in Akhibara. Going to this place is a nostalgia trip in itself; you’ll find it tucked away in an unassuming back street away from the flashy stores and bustling shoppers.  Here you’ll find old (and rare) favorites such as Super Mario and 007 Golden Eye, and if you head to the top floor, you get to sit on a throne made of NES and Sega game cartridges.

Another thing that draws gamers of all ages, and travelers from all over to Super Potato is its specialty store of rare and quirky gaming merchandise

  • Address:  3F-5F Kitabayashi Building, 1-11-2, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Tokyo Leisure Land

Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Leisure Land Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Leisure Land Arcade (Flickr/Dick Thomas Johnson)

For the less serious gamers looking for a fun but more ‘leisurely’ time, head to Tokyo Leisure Land—another arcade along Akihabara. It provides the same, classic Japanese arcade experience with less crowds and greets visitors with a colorful rainbow at the entrance. Another unique thing about Tokyo Leisure Land is that it has an entire floor dedicated to just music games. Head here for a fun and easy time, but be sure not to confuse it with Tokyo Leisureland—an amusement park on Odaiba Island (but that place is pretty awesome as well!)

  • Address: 9-5 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Taito Station

Tokyo, Japan: Taito Station Arcade
Tokyo, Japan: Taito Station Arcade

UFO machines, Gachapon, and shooting games…what else comes to mind when you think about arcades? Photo booths! And few things make for better travel souvenirs than actual, developed photos. At Taito Station, you can have as much fun with the photo sticker booths as you want: decorate the photos, change your hair color, or try on some wacky effects to make you look like a Japanese cartoon character. And because it’s Japan, you’ve also got the fun option of cosplaying for these booth prints!

  • Address: 1-10-5 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Tokyo Train Station: Akihabara

Now, you’re ready to unleash your gaming skills in Japan, the birthplace of groundbreaking video games! Be sure to rekindle your inner child with KKday’s other Japan tours: