Unfortunately, the awesome Kawasaki Warehouse Arcade has permanently closed its doors. There are still some pretty amazing arcades in the Tokyo area but nothing quite like the warehouse. If you’re still looking for a top rated arcade, however, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Taito HEY. The Hirose Entertainment Yard (HEY) can be found in AKihabara, of course.
Any visit to Japan would not be complete without a visit to one of their cutting edge, no holds barred, high-tech video arcades. While it’s true you don’t have to look very hard to find an arcade with all of the latest games somewhere near your hotel, if you want to go to the absolute coolest arcade in town, you’ll have to leave the city. Don’t worry, it’s only a short train ride away, but the adults only Warehouse Arcade in Kawasaki is a sci-fi, cyberpunk dreamland well worth another trip outside of Tokyo, and in our opinion the best arcade in all of Japan.
Don’t Miss Out! Visit the Best Arcade in Japan
Also called Anata no Warehouse or アミューズメントパーク ウェアハウス (Amusement Center Warehouse), the warehouse arcade is a five story step into another world. Think dystopian grunge cyberpunk and you won’t be far off the mark. This place has been designed from the ground floor up to the fifth floor to feel, sound, and look like the gritty underbelly of society circa 1940’s Kowloon China. While you would never guess it from the outside–it doesn’t even look like a warehouse, let alone an arcade–the magic begins as soon as you make your way through the entrance.
In total, there are five floors in the Warehouse, the first floor is the covered parking lot and the front and rear entrances. Both entrances are slightly different but both feature sliding doors, loud noises, and the background sounds of street life you would expect to find in the alleys and sides streets of any seedy district in a large city. Of course, being styled after the Kowloon walled city where anything goes, Chinese is the predominant language. While we had no idea what we were eavesdropping on, it still worked to create an eerily exotic atmosphere.
Inside The Kawasaki Warehouse Arcade and Amusement Center
Leave the entrance via the escalator or the elevator to make your way up to the gaming floors above. The second floor continues with the whole dystopian sci-fi setting with very realistic, but thankfully faux, rusty fixtures, stained walls, graffiti, and grimy surfaces. This is where the arcades main floors are located. The second and third floors share a two story street facade complete with shops, a butcher, and overhanging balconies (birdcages, hanging laundry, and all).
There is a small snack type cafe here but we decided to get right into the arcades. We found the claw games, coin pushers, purikura photo booths, pachinko, virtual horse racing, and of course space-based battling games. The third floor had a large selection of retro games and racers that will be more familiar to foreign gamers and more affordable. Be sure and save up those 100 yen coins!
After catching a few UFOs and feeding coins into the claw machines in a vain attempt to win a giant stuffed Pokemon, we continued up into the warehouses 4th floor. For some reason, the theme changed to a Roman temple which was a little strange but still fascinating. In fact, it was oddly familiar. It took a few minutes but we quickly determined this was a reproduction of the Tivoli Fountain in Rome!
This floor is dedicated to billiards, ping pong and darts. You’ll need to register at the service desk before playing these games so be sure and bring a photo id. This was a simple matter of filling out a form and soon we had our handful of darts.
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Now was a good time for refreshments so we grabbed an ice cold coke from the retro vending machine and chose our dart board. There were several groups of people playing already but we didn’t have to wait since there were a few still open. It’s been awhile, but after a few throws the technique came back and we had a great time playing through a couple of rounds of cricket and 301.
Our time in the warehouse was nearly complete but we did pop on up to the fifth floor to check out the cyber cafe. For those into online gaming, or in need of some computer time, this is the place for you. This is also a place to get away from the noisy arcades and pachinko slots below and relax with a cold drink or a coffee and have a snack.
Our Final Thoughts
I love all of the energy and excitement, the sounds, and the action of a good arcade. Even if the Warehouse Arcade was just a large warehouse it would have been awesome. But the level of design and attention to detail in creating the walled city of Kowloon inside the building really is amazing. The overall effect transforms the experience from merely going to an arcade center into actually going into a video game yourself. I absolutely loved it! Finally, don’t let the adults only classification alarm you. That designation is due to the gambling aspect and the fact that they sell some alcohol on the premises.
Getting To The Warehouse Arcade from Tokyo
For this trip we had the luxury of driving ourselves, so we were curious about whether Google maps would lead us there and also whether there really was free parking. It turns out we had nothing to worry about on either point. To be fair, I wasn’t too nervous about driving and it was a straight forward drive with no tricky turns. On the other hand, I wasn’t too hopeful about the parking. The website states that limited parking is available and the idea of finding free parking anywhere in Japan seemed unlikely. However, there were plenty of open spots and the parking was, in fact, free.
No car? No worries, the Amusement Warehouse Arcade is a short 10 minute walk from the Kawasaki station. JR East trains that stop here include the Keihintohoku, Nambu, and Tokaido lines. Visitors arriving on these trains should leave the station from the South East exits 22 or 23 then walk two blocks south on Sakura Dori. The Keikyu metro line also has a stop in Kawasaki and is only a few minutes further walk from the arcade.
Other Places to Go Nearby Kawasaki
- Pokemon Cafe – Nihonbashi, Tokyo
- Cup Noodles Museum – Yokohama
- Sumo Tournament – Tokyo
- Top 6 Tokyo Attractions
- Attend a Yokohama Baystars Baseball Game
The Kawasaki Warehouse Arcade, only a quarter of an hour from central Tokyo by subway, is one of the coolest arcades. Five full floors full of the latest and greatest arcade games, as well as some Japanese favorites. If you are the gambling type or want to take your date to play some pool or darts, this is the place to go.
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.