Most countries have arcades, but game centers in Japan operate on an elite level comparatively. One of the most famous game centers in Japan is Taito Station, with a few locations throughout the Tokyo Prefecture.
Taito Station offers the classic games that game center enthusiasts have come to know and love, interspersed with an abundance of modern activities and traditional arcade games played throughout the world.
About Taito Corporation
Taito Corporation, the company that operates the Taito Station game centers, was started in Japan in 1953 by a businessman named Michael Kogan.
Taito Corporation is responsible for some of the most famous and adored arcade games of all time, including Space Invaders, which is a part of the Taito Station logo.
Taito Stations offer a variety of amusement for people of all ages at affordable prices.
The Iconic Red And White Storefront
It’s very hard to miss a Taito Station game center when you’re walking down the street. Each location has a large red sign with the Taito Station name and a Space Invaders character in white.
There is often other signage on the building in red and white, and in multiple languages.
When you enter a Taito Station, you’ll find a sign that advises you of the areas within the station, as well as which floor that area is on. Many of these game centers have multiple floors for endless hours of fun.
Floors are also often dedicated to a specific type of game, so you can explore levels depending on what games you’re in the mood for.
Types of games include traditional and modern arcade games, video games, crane games, pachinko-style games, racing games, and much more.
Taito Station Akihabara
The Akihabara location is very difficult to miss, with its facade being all red with white lettering. It’s a close walk from the JR Akihabara Electric Town exit if you’re in the area and not sure where to go.
This location has a mixture of crane/catcher games, video games, arcade games, and photobooths.
This Taito Station game center is actually the largest of its kind in the world. Since Akihabara is a hub for gaming and technologically-driven entertainment, it’s the perfect location for this giant game center.
One of the biggest draws to this location includes its Super Mario and Mario Kart games.
Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit
This Taito Station is just a short walk from Shinjuku Station, a very large train terminal in Tokyo. You can find the game center in the Kabukicho district in Shinjuku, which also boasts many restaurants and shops.
Nishi-Shinjuku Taito Station
The Nishi-Shinjuku Taito Station has unfortunately closed its doors recently, but thankfully, another Taito Station isn’t that much farther away. This particular game center is found close to the western exit of Shinjuku Station.
While this particular location has been a mainstay in the neighborhood for quite some time, the pandemic hasn’t been very friendly to these interactive game centers.
Thus, this location ended up closing its doors in March of 2021.
How Taito Station Game Centers Stand Out
Taito Station locations offer many of the games that hit a sense of nostalgia with older folks, while simultaneously appealing to younger generations with games based on popular culture and games with modern graphics.
Given that they can be enjoyed by so many, they are a big draw for locals and tourists who enjoy having some innocent fun.
Taito Stations are also very big, so there’s a bounty of games spread out over multiple floors, giving you hours upon hours of new games to try.
The games also don’t cost a lot of money to play, so even those on strict entertainment budgets can indulge in some merriment at one of these game centers.
While Taito Stations draw in gamers from all over the world, you don’t have to be an avid gamer in order to enjoy yourself. Plenty of games can be easily grasped by beginners, and there are games that will appeal to all skill levels.
UFO Catcher Games
A UFO Catcher game is one of the main draws for Japanese game centers. These challenging games have you try and guide a catcher that looks like a UFO to try and capture a prize. If you are able to close the hooks onto a prize, you’ll be able to take it home with you.
A UFO Catcher game isn’t that different from a crane game easily found in arcades around the world.
Crane games come in other designs throughout game centers in Japan, but UFO Catchers tend to be the most well-known crane features of Japanese arcades.
Purikura Photo Booth
The purikura photo booth allows you to produce your own mementos of your Japanese trip through a state-of-the-art photo booth experience.
You don’t go inside a cramped, rectangular booth; the area is large with a plain backdrop.
Once you’ve finished taking your photos, you can use the computer system to change the background, add effects and details, and truly customize the photo to your liking.
You can also add stickers and text to your photos to create your own personalized piece of art.
Taiko no Tatsujin
Taiko is a Japanese drum, and the traditional instrument has made its way into the gaming world with Taiko no Tatsujin. This game allows you to play a taiko drum along to various songs from multiple genres and is easily one of the most favored games in Japan.
This game will give you directions for how and where to hit the drum as you follow along to the music.
You can make this game as simple or as challenging as you’d like with various difficulty levels. You can play it by yourself or battle it out with a friend.
More Musical Games
Dance Dance Revolution is easily one of the most entertaining arcade games of all time. This interactive dance game is also huge in Japan and can be found throughout Taito Station centers.
Essentially, you step or jump on directional arrows while following along with the directions on the screen, set to popular music.
Another popular arcade game that has been transformed into popular apps includes Jubeat. This game has you tap on squares to follow the beat of a song.
Another more interactive music game that doesn’t require you to jump in Groove Coaster, where you try to press controls according to music and instruction while a rollercoaster is simulated in front of you.
Gundam is an extremely admired anime series in Japan, so of course, there are games based on the much-loved series. One such game, Kido Senshi Gundam: Senjo no Kizuna, actually mimics the experience of being in a Gundam suit as you play inside of a pod.
You get to battle opponents within the robot suit. Even if you’re not familiar with the Gundam series, you can enjoy this game.
Another classic fighting game, Tekken, draws in crowds young and old. The experience at a game center is quite similar to the classic game, but with better graphics.
There is also the well-liked Sonic Blast Heroes game, where you can put on some boxing gloves and take some shots at a punching bag as part of the game.