Video games are a huge part of Japanese culture. The country has turned out some of the best games and consoles of all time and the popularity of the genre is never waning. The continued focus on these games means that businesses have found ways to incorporate them into their everyday practices.
Across Japan, Arcade Bars have opened up allowing gamers a social opportunity to come and play games in public, while sharing a drink with a friend or perhaps a stranger. These locations are perfect for any tourist who wishes to experience part of the Japanese gaming culture. Here are 10 Arcade Bars in Japan that every gamer has to visit.
10 CONTINUE OSAKA
Game Bar Continue in Osaka is a little different from many other Arcade Bars. The focus is very much on the history of the industry and it is in fact incredibly well decorated with old games and consoles. There's a wide variety of drinks to enjoy and a great atmosphere.
There are a number of games that you can play also. While there are not many consoles to play them on there's actually a bucket full of cartridges that any customer can use if they so wish. It's a good social hang out spot and one that seems to be growing more popular over time.
9 GAME BAR A-BUTTON TOKYO
Tokyo is not only home to a lot of talent within the gaming industry, but it's also famous enough to actually be featured in video games! Its rich history, therefore, should naturally be celebrated with a gaming bar.
Game Bar A-Button may be small and a little dingy but its an absolute must for any fan. There are some lost treasures hidden amongst their walls and what's more, many developers and industry talents actually hang out there to talk shop.
8 SPACE STATION OSAKA
Space Station Osaka is one of the more high end establishments on this list. A relatively more modern version of the Arcade Bar, the focus is on both the drinks and the consoles themselves. It, therefore, manages to strike the right balance.
There's a huge menu to choose from, with many of the drinks having a retro theme. The space feels big and modern but there's a number of classics to choose from if you want to take a step back in time and experience some true Japanese gaming.
7 16 SHOTS TOKYO
Unlike some of the other Arcade Bars on this list, 16 Shots in Tokyo actually encourages you to bring your own handheld device along. While the drinks are fantastic and there's a cozy atmosphere to the space, it's most fun to talk to the other customers.
Many of the people who enjoy 16 shots are actually part of the industry and are enjoying the bar for a drink after work. There are many places of inspiration for these developers, with old video game commercials playing nonstop on one of the screens in the bar.
6 FAMICON BAR DENDO OSAKA
The Famicon Bar Dendo in Osaka isn't as talked about as some of the others on this list. There's plenty of monitors to choose from in the establishment and enough alcohol to enjoy the evening with. The bar really pushes Nintendo games especially.
There are some absolute classics to experience here and any retro gaming fans will immediately recognize the games that the walls are decorated with. The place has a dive bar feel to it but this makes it feel all the more unique.
5 THE SHOOTING BAR TOKYO
The Shooting Bar, set up by EA in Tokyo, is a little different from other options you can visit. Every game in this location is based on a shooting aspect. The bar is therefore lined with console guns you can pick up and use on many different video games.
These locations are popping up not only around the country but around the world. With such a big culture for this kind of experience in Japan however, any gamer would be part of the club if they managed to have a go in an EA bar in Tokyo itself.
4 SHINJUKU GAME BAR TOKYO
It's difficult to pick one game bar in Shinjuku as there are so many. There's a constant revolving door of Arcade Bars in the small section of the city and many are actually kept incredibly secret.
This is therefore a general recommendation of the area itself. If you are a gaming fan and wish to visit some genuinely niche places then head over to one of the dozen game bars in Shinjuku. Each has a similar feel but a unique twist.
3 CAPCOM BAR TOKYO
The Capcom Bar in Tokyo has only just closed recently, but there's always a chance of a revival under new management. With the popularity of the location and the industry for this kind of Arcade Bar, it's sure to make a comeback very soon.
If we are lucky enough to experience this return therefore, then the Capcom Bar is a must-have for any gaming travel enthusiast. Kitted out with so many Capcom classics, this isn't just a bar but a cafe as well, serving some brilliant food. The theme is present throughout.
2 GAME BAR GLUCK TOKYO
Game Bar Gluck, or Glueck isn't a normal Arcade Bar. In fact, its focus isn't on video games at all but instead on board games. Taking on the popularity of video games wasn't enough for this small bar, so they took the story elements of that experience and turned it into the board game paradise.
These games range from simple card games to complicated quests that are more like Dungeons & Dragons than anything else. Fans can break up the screen staring with a touch of Japanese culture that they may not have experienced yet.
1 P-GO IZAKAYA GENKINOKAKERA TOKYO
Another unique place on this list, P-GO capitalizes on the success of the game Pokémon Go. Its popularity has continued to soar in Japan and the owner of this bar and cafe wanted to give the community somewhere to go when out playing the game.
The food is Pokémon themed and there are regular events held in the bar and cafe in order to bring fans together. Not only this, the owner actually goes out of their way to introduce players to one another and allows them to share their knowledge of the game.