Japan is known for its culture and rigid social rules… but also for its leisure sector, which is particularly dynamic and varied. In Tokyo and in the big cities, technology is at the service of leisure, whether it be sports, games or even in bars. The country has succeeded in a balancing act, retaining millennial traditions while being open to innovation. If you are planning a vacation to the country, then you won’t want to miss out on some typical Japanese recreation, which shows Japanese culture well.
In Japan, karaoke is an institution: it was also invented in the country. Far from attracting a marginal population, it is actually a leisure activity that is favored by a significant part of the Japanese: there are more than 100,000 karaoke bars in the country! Japanese karaoke is also very different from what you can find in Europe. You will appreciate the fact that there is not necessarily a common room: you can indeed book a private room with your friends.
Then it is a place where we spend time. You will therefore have comfortable seats and you can order drinks or a meal directly, without having to leave the room. If you choose to spend an evening at karaoke, choose large chains such as Big Echo or Sidax, to ensure the quality of the service.
The arcades and the Pachinko
Among the places that have a very different reputation in Europe and Japan, we find the arcades. Far from bringing together only geeks, Japanese arcades are actually colorful spaces where you can meet up with friends to share a good time. The variety of games is also much greater, which allows everyone to find their happiness.
Among the favorite games of the Japanese, we find cranes, which are particularly varied in arcades, with of course themes inspired by video games, such as Mario for example. Not surprisingly for the land of karaoke, music games are also particularly popular, like the classic Dance Dance
Revolution. In the arcades, there is also the Pachinko. It is a cross between a slot machine and a video game, with various themes like Star Wars. Pachinko strongly resembles a Western slot machine, which is often found in casinos along with poker or blackjack. The reputation of Pachinko has been cemented by some online casinos like Betway Casino which offer colorful slots like the classic Mega Moolah, or the sparkling Starburst.
Another hobby where the Japanese stand out from other countries: theme parks! The sector is characterized by a very wide variety of themes, which sometimes border on the absurd. Note the Sanrio Puroland, a theme park dedicated to glitter and kittens, or the Namco Namja Town on the theme of Namco video games such as Pac-Man or Tekken.
Among the largest theme parks, however, we recommend that you visit Studio Ghibli, to be projected into the universe of My Neighbor Totoro (1988) or Spirited Away (2001). Adrenaline junkies won’t want to miss the Fuji-Q Highland, which features the most awe-inspiring rides in the country. Finally, gamers will find their happiness at Joypolis, a park on the theme of video games.
If sumos are now clichés, it is not for nothing: their
impressive competitions are typical of Japan, and we find the first mentions of the sport in a book from the year 712! It is the Japanese national sport, and the competitions are highly regulated. A match is therefore a must-see for travelers to Japan.
The country only offers six competitions per year, so you will need to make sure that this coincides with your travel dates. Three of them are held in Tokyo, and the cities of Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka each host a competition. You will need to book your tickets in advance on the official Japan Sumo Wrestling website. Sumo innings are pretty quick, so don’t expect long matches.
So much for the typical unmissable activities when you visit Japan! Did you already know them? Do not hesitate to leave us comments and suggest activities that we have forgotten.