Arcades

Arcades, or Game Centers (ゲームセンター) in Japan are a very different experience from their American counterparts. Whereas American arcades tend to be associated with ticket games like Skee-Ball and decrepit cabinet games from the eighties, the Japanese arcade industry has progressed in a wildly different direction, and new arcade-exclusive games are developed in Japan to this day. Though sparse and difficult to locate online when compared to the more populated regions of Japan, there are a number of arcades in Akita Prefecture, particularly within Akita City itself.

Arcades in Akita City

Akita City is not only the largest city in the prefecture; it is also home to the greatest selection of arcades!

  • Round One Stadium Akita (ラウンドワンスタジアム秋田店) Open from 10 AM to 11:50 PM on weekdays, and 9 AM to 11:50 PM on weekends. ☎ 018-896-6711 map
A favorite of many Akita JETs, Round One is exceptional for the breadth of options it offers. The first two floors are fairly typical, albeit large--the first floor consists of a massive selection of UFO catchers, the obligatory medal games, and a section off to the side devoted mostly to light gun shooters, while the second floor contains mostly of rhythm games and pachinko. The remaining floors, however, offer bowling, karaoke, a roller rink, and too many other amusements to properly list. The first two floors operate under a typical arcade pay-to-play style, while the upper floors require one to pay for a set number of hours, during which one can enjoy any of those floors' attractions for free. It is worth noting that there are also traditional arcade games on the paid floors, including a very impressive collection of light gun shooters, all of which are set to free play mode.
Round One's UFO catchers, another major appeal of the establishment, are very distinct, and require a notably different set of tactics in comparison to the setups found in most arcades. Though Round One first timers should approach with caution, once one understands their quirks they trend towards the winnable end of the spectrum, and the staff at this branch is generally quite helpful. Of equal importance is the fact that Round One has one of the most varied selections of UFO catcher prizes in the vicinity, and is well worth a visit if you're sick of 75% of the machines in any given arcade being dominated by 'Kantai Collection' or 'Love Live' merch.
The parking garage is free, and finding a parking space tends to be easy even during the busiest of times.
  • Sega World Akita (セガワールド秋田) Open from 10 AM to midnight. ☎ 018-864-8421 map
Located exactly one block west of Round One, the Sega World is perhaps the most traditional arcade experience to be found in Akita City. Expect a first floor full of UFO catchers and medal games, a decent selection of rhythm games, and a second floor devoted to the typical eclectic mishmash of card, puzzle and fighting games. The UFO catchers in Sega arcades tend to be quite difficult, but ultimately winnable, and the staff are usually quite friendly. This particular Sega World is also notable for being remarkably smokey, particularly in the vicinity of the medal games, and those less tolerant to the smell of tobacco may find the atmosphere uncomfortable as a result.
  • Akita Forus (秋田フォーラス) Closed forever. map
Formerly located in a corner of the fifth floor of the Forus department store, next to Akita Station. Died alongside Forus itself in early 2017.
  • R-BOX Alve (R−BOXアルヴェ店) Open from 10 AM to 10 PM from the start of November to the end of February, and 10 AM to 11 PM from the start of March to the end of October. ☎ 018-831-1600 map
Located on the first floor of the Alve shopping center, just outside the east entrance of Akita Station. The game selection is sparse, consisting primarily of a corner devoted to rhythm games, but said rhythm games are much more varied and up to date than their unimpressive quantity would suggest. The arcade is mostly devoted to UFO catchers, which occasionally contain surprisingly appealing and winnable prizes, as well as a sizable purikura section.
  • Mansaido (万SAI堂秋田店) Open always. ☎ 018-880-2652 map
Though not an arcade in the traditional sense, Mansaido earns a place on this list by way of its collection of UFO catchers, which rivals many of the actual arcades in the prefecture in terms of size. They sometimes stock interesting and uncommon prizes, though many of the catchers themselves fall into the borderline unwinnable category. More worth visiting for the sake of the remarkable selection of retro and modern games than for the arcade component itself.
  • Don Quijote Akita(ドン・キホーテ 秋田店) Open 9 AM to 2 AM. ☎ 018-864-3810 map
A generally unremarkable selection of UFO catchers, child-oriented games and a single Taiko no Tatsujin machine, lodged into a corner of the first floor of the Akita City Don Quijote. Hardly worth the trip on its own merits, but if already in Don Quijote for other purposes, it could be worth a glance.

Arcades in Odate

Odate may be a smaller town, but it still has some arcades!

  • Namco Arcade (namcoイオンタウン大館西店) Open from 10 AM to midnight. ☎ 0186-42-4997 [1]
Namco has a decent selection of large plush and snack crane games, Purikura machines, music games (including Taiko no Tatsujin with two possible songs), and some panchinko style games. This is the place where you will often find the young adults (18-26) in the area. It has the only MaiMai machine in Odate and the surrounding area. Also noteworthy are the Mech Pilot games in the back corner where you actually enter a capsule to play. It will occasionally smell like smoke, especially late in the evening. The workers inside are very kind and will help with crane games if they see you struggling.
  • Odate Itoku Shopping Center (いとく大館ショッピングセンター) Open from 9 AM to 8 PM. (It closes one hour before the grocery closes.) ☎ 0186-49-1717 [2]
Itoku Shopping Center has an arcade on the 3rd floor, next to the Godzilla slide and Daiso. You can find a nice selection of small toy crane games, a few large plush crane games, a large number of Gotcha Gotcha machines, Purikura boxes, a few music games (including Taiko no Tatsujin with three possible songs), and only a couple pachinko style games. A lot of the machines are older and potentially broken. Local younger students and families with young children frequent this arcade on weekends. Smoking is not allowed. There is often only one worker, so finding someone to help you with crane games or machines eating your money can be problematic. This is a good arcade to visit while shopping for other things in the center.
  • Aeon Super Center Odate (イオンスーパーセンター大館店) Open from 8 AM to 9 PM. (It closes one hour before the main store.) ☎ 0186-44-6800 [3]
Main Arcade
Aeon's main arcade is at the far west end of the store, near the restaurants. You can find many crane games for small and large toys, a wide selection of children's arcade games, some small children's rides (like the quarter plane machines in the US), a few Purikura boxes, some pachinko-style games, and a Taiko no Tatsujin machine with three possible songs. The large crane games tend to be more expensive at ¥200 per game. There tends to be only one worker, so finding someone to get you a bag for your winnings or help move crane game prizes isn't easy. Families with young children are often in this arcade, especially during weekend afternoons.
Sub Arcade 1
A smaller "arcade" is located between the cute stuff store and a small clothing store. It has rows of Gotcha Gotchas and a couple of crane games in the back. The crane games are cheaper - 3 plays for ¥200 - but they are much more difficult to win.
Sub Arcade 2
Another small arcade is located in the video game section of the main store. This mainly caters to children and often the few crane games and machines involve video game characters.

Arcades in Noshiro

Arcade options in Noshiro city are limited, but generally exceed expectations, given that there are no dedicated arcades in the city whatsoever.

  • Noshiro Aeon (イオン能代店) Open from 8 AM to 10 PM. ☎ 0185-55-2355 map
Despite being fairly desolate and practically abandoned on weekdays, the arcade in the Noshiro Aeon Center is surprisingly serviceable. Occupying the bulk of the third floor of the building, the arcade is home to a wide range of UFO catchers, a decent purikura corner, a large number of gatcha machines and the usual selection of pachinko and coin games. As far as actual games go, there's not much to speak of, with only the obligatory Taiko no Tatsujin, a transformers light gun game, and a single, seemingly misplaced Jubeat machine.
Entertainment in Akita
Sports Running • Bicycling • Soccer • Basketball • Cricket • Ground Golf
Martial Arts Kendo • Kyudo • Judo • Naginatado • Karatedo • Sado
Outdoors Hiking/Climbing • Camping • Rafting • Skiing and snowboarding
Leisure Onsen • Movies • Museums and zoos • Ramen shops • Akita beer • Doburoku • Cigar stores • Festivals • Arcades • Taiko