New arcade boasts 6 floors of fun in Tokyo’s Akihabara district
Stars and Stripes April 20, 2023
A new arcade in Tokyo’s Akihabara district boasts six floors of challenges, from Gundam fighting to claw machines and Taiko drums.
No wonder Namco Akihabara opened shop in Japan’s anime, video-game and electronic retail hub. It competes for consumer time and yen coins with a cluster of similar arcades.
In the basement you’ll find more than 40 stations for a Gundam-themed fighting game. It’s similar to other fighting games like Street Fighter or Tekken in which multiple players choose a character and fight until only one is left standing.
The first and second floors are stocked with claw machines filled with figurines and plushies of characters from popular anime like Pokemon, One Piece and Dragon Ball.
The claw arms have varying strengths, so you may need a couple of tries to gauge the strength of each machine’s grip. I found that most of the claws were very weak and gripping the prize inside difficult.
Each attempt at a claw machine costs 100 yen with a sixth, free attempt added if you pay for five attempts at a time. A change machine near the escalator will break up your paper bills into coins.
Most of the third floor is dedicated to a Taiko drum game that is popular in arcades across Japan. The game has a variety of songs to drum along with, and you can use your own drumsticks if you choose.
In the back are video games with anime themes, the most notable being JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
The fourth floor is occupied by a gachapon forest. Gachapons are machines common in Japan that dispense a variety of small toys in plastic capsules that typically cost between 100 and 500 yen. Each machine displays a picture of the prizes you have a chance of winning. The machines on this floor cover a wide range of themes, including animals, food, Gundam and popular anime.
After receiving a prize from the gachapon machines, return the empty capsule to the capsule return machine in the corner next to the escalator to the fifth floor. This gives you a chance to win more prizes, and the directions are posted on the capsule return.
The fifth floor opened recently and is designated for trading card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!
The walkways on the floors with claw machines and in the gachapon forest are narrow and you may not have the ability to turn around and travel against the flow of traffic depending on how busy those floors are.
I recommend bringing a backpack to hold your winnings, but plastic bags are available on the second floor for a small fee.
On the QT
Directions: A short stroll from Akihabara Station’s Electric Town exit. Address: 1-15-9 Sotokanda, Chiyoda city, Tokyo 101-0021
Times: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Costs: 100 yen for most arcade games
Food: You’ll find plenty of snack options in the area.
Information: 03-6260-7400; Online: bandainamco-am.co.jp/game_center/loc/akihabara