Although gambling is technically still illegal in Japan, one form of it has found a way around the legislation and managed to become a huge national attraction. The name of the game is pachinko and it can best be described as a crossover between modern-day video slots and traditional pinball machines.
There are thousands of pachinko parlors scattered all over the country but the biggest ones can be found in Tokyo, the country’s capital. The game attracts casual visitors who hop in for a few rounds as well as hardcore players who know all the secrets of pachinko and spend their time looking for new venues and new machines where payouts are often bigger and more frequent.
Finding Best Pachinko Parlors in Japan
Someone who’s never visited Japan might think that pachinko parlors would be hard to find. After all, gambling is forbidden and these places must be hidden in some way, right? Well, not exactly.
In their current form, pachinko parlors are, in fact, legal, as payout of winnings is never done inside a parlor. Instead, players are given prize tokens they can exchange for cash at a different location. These locations are usually close to the parlor itself but this isn’t always the case.
In Tokyo, you’ll have no problems finding a place to try your luck playing pachinko. They are usually located near busy shopping strips and stations. The biggest such parlor is called Escape and it is a three-store building located in the center of Sinjuku neighborhood. You’ll find countless pachinko machines inside featuring different themes and stories, which make up an important part of the gaming experience.
It is at the places such as Escape that you’ll find the original pachinko experience, which isn’t all that different from the experience inside a casino. Rows of people seated next to each other, swearing, shouting, and even occasionally punching the machines, all hoping for a big win.
But the pachinko industry has to adjust to the times as well. Many Japanese are making a move to online casinos and discovering the attraction of online slots. There are several great sites that offer more information for Japanese people interested in playing online slots such as 6takarakuji.com/カジノスロット/, making it very easy to make the transition.
Realizing that players are starting to seek a quieter and more-relaxed gaming environment, some modern pachinko parlors have changed their business model somewhat. Places like Maruhan in Tokyo offer smoke-free areas and a much cleaner and nicer environment, looking to attract a different type of a player.
Future of Pachinko in Japan
If you’re interested in experiencing pachinko parlors, your best bet is to visit the country in the next few years. The recent gambling bill that allows for actual casinos in Japan combined with the growing online gambling industry could eventually spell the doom of these places that have been hugely popular since the 1940s.
Japanese love their pachinko and these parlors will still be around for some time but things are changing rapidly in the gambling world and actual, full-scale casinos popping up across the country could definitely be a big blow for pachinko.
Like all gambling, pachinko is fine in moderation but the game can be quite time-consuming as it plays much slower than western slots. So, if you’re planning to give these machines a chance when you visit Japan, make sure you plan for it ahead of time. Playing pachinko can be very exciting but this is an amazing country that has so much for you to see and you don’t want to spend most of your time inside smoke-filled pachinko parlors.