Japan offers a wide range of hobbies and activities for any age group. Whether it is karaoke, cosplay, video games, sports, drinking (that’s a hobby, right?), dancing, hiking, or air soft, it is all available; one just needs to know where to look. For those who are into board games, don’t worry, the Japanese kept in mind that hobby too. All over Japan are board game shops.
For any fan of board games, Yellow Submarine should be the first stop! With many locations throughout Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, Yellow Submarine usually has the largest selection of board games for purchase. Yellow Submarine carries both Japanese indie games and heavy Euro games. Many of the Euro games are in English with Japanese rules taped onto the back of them. Some of the Japanese games also come with English instructions, but it’s definitely rarer. Some Yellow Submarine stores hold card tournaments like Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh. Also in Nagoya, there is Banesto, a smaller store but with a great stock of board games as well. Other shops such as Kiwi Games and DDT in Osaka offer a wide selection of games not only to buy, but also to play within the store.
Kiwi Games is located in Denden Town, on the second floor of the Yamada Building. The building is off the main road and might be difficult to spot. Look for the sign with the cute kiwi out on the road right outside the building. To play the games, one pays an hourly price of 500YEN on both weekdays and weekends or 1,000YEN for all day on weekdays and 2,000YEN on weekends. There is also a 3-hour deal of 1,200YEN. For an extra 300YEN one can have access to the drink bar, which offers a wide selection of soft drinks. Kiwi Games is a very popular place, mostly on the weekends, so a reservation is highly recommended and can be obtained with a simple phone call. In addition to the games for play, they have a wide variety of games for sale. The shop floor and the game area are divided into two separate rooms.
At DDT, a similar system is in place. For an all day pass on weekdays it’s 1,000YEN and on weekends it’s 1,500YEN. There is no drink bar, but they do have a water cooler and snacks are allowed at the game tables. At DDT, there are over 500 games available to play! The selection is quite overwhelming at first, but the staff is willing to provide their recommendations. If wanting to try out a new game but unsure on how to play, a staff member will help explain the rules and even play through the game until no longer needed! Before playing, one has to make a membership which takes less than 5 minutes and entails filling out a form asking your name, address and phone number. After a membership is made, a card is given along with a lanyard. One wears the lanyard while playing games and returns it to the counter when finished. Their purchasable game selection is smaller than the games to play, but good games can still be found!
These are just to name a few of the board game shops throughout Japan! Many of them offering unique games as well as popular big sellers! For more information on these stores, please check out the links down below!