The future of Japan’s arcade scene is not looking good. You might want to get some game time in while you still have the chance. If you’re looking for the best arcades in Japan, you’ll probably be pointed to the Taito and SEGA centers in Akihabara. While great in their own right, they’re safe, if not boring choices. Why spend your time playing Pop’n Music in the same old arcade when you can play it inside of a haunted fallout shelter like Anata No Warehouse?
Anata No Warehouse is a mega-arcade located just outside of Tokyo near Kawasaki Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. It immediately stands out from the mundane look of the Japanese apartments surrounding it thanks to its decayed aesthetic, but the outside isn’t the only thing setting Anata No Warehouse apart from other arcades. The inside is a cyberpunk’s fever dream— a science fiction recreation of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City.
The designer’s goal was to accurately recreate the lawlessness of the actual city. The narrow and claustrophobic hallways are lined with exposed wires and pipes. Seedy storefronts are lit by bright neon signs, and peeping in a window reveals a half-naked sex doll sprawled on a mattress. Likewise, the actual arcade is just as memorable.
The second floor of Anata No Warehouse is dedicated to Western and Japanese retro cabinets. The sort of arcade games that had you begging for quarters from your parents while at Pizza-Hut in the 80s. There is even an original (and playable) Street Fighter cabinet. There are also rows and rows of dance games, fighters, shmups, and of course, UFO catchers. So. Many. UFO catchers.
The higher up you go in Anata No Warehouse, the finer it becomes. The top floors are packed with high-end pool tables, ping-pong tables, and dart boards that glow above marbled floors. Higher still, a fancy Internet cafe makes a (slightly) cheaper alternative to hotels for anyone looking to rest. A stark contrast to the vending machines from Racoon City found below.
There you have it. The only thing left to do is take a visit yourself, and the next time someone tries to sell you another Taito chain on the overcrowded streets of Akiba Town, tell them what the real best arcade in Japan is— a sleazy run-down walled city from Kowloon, Hong Kong.