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. Past few years has seen a decline in arcades/game centers, so you may have better luck scouring your local Aeon or Itoku malls.

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.
  • Soyu Game Field Goshono (ソユー ゲームフィールド 御所野店) Open from 9 AM to 10:30 PM. ☎ 018-889-6549 map
Located on the 2nd floor of Aeon Goshono Mall, this place is pretty big. It has dedicated areas for children, UFO catchers, pachinko, slot, and medal games, and video games, though their selection is largely specialty arcades such as Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade, House of the Dead, Fate/Grand Order Arcade, and music games rather than standard cabinet games such as Tekken or Street Fighter. Even when the mall is closed, it's still accessible via the Playland entrance. It has a variety of the newest games and they run specials on certain days, for example on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for 500 yen you can play all the music games you want from 5PM until closing (ask about their SGF Music Heaven special).
  • Rock 'n Bowl (ロックンボウル) Open from 9 AM to 5 AM. ☎ 018-831-6900 map
If Round 1 is the bowling and entertainment center of Akita, Rock 'n Bowl is the miniature fun sized version. They offer karaoke, bowling, and arcades but in a much smaller scale. They do keep their facilities relatively updated though with a fair variety.
  • Brooklyn Strike Game Center (ブルックリンストライクゲームC) Open from 6 PM to 5 AM. ☎ 018-823-5654 map
Another small bowling alley owned by the same company that owns Rock 'n Bowl, but this one has a dedicated game room, as notated by the sign "GAME" above it's door. The building looks like it's seen better days but it is much nicer inside (though it's lit up nicely at night). They even do a kind of cosmic bowling! The arcade area is separate on the first floor, even though it looks dark, it's usually still open. It does smell like smoke and it's relatively minimal with most of the arcades being music games (although they're at least updated). Probably only ideal if you're in the Kawabata area and just passing by. Parking is at a premium unfortunately as it's right in the middle of the Kawabata area.
  • Bandai-Namco Akita OPA Amuse Park (秋田OPA アミューズパーク) Open from 10 AM to 8 PM. ☎ 018-838-1703 map
Rather easy to miss if you're looking at a map, it's located just outside of Akita station west exit (towards ALVE). When you're exiting the station, go towards Topico, alongside the Hotel Metropolitan Akita, and those buildings. You can enter through the glass doors next to Starbucks into the mall. Take the escalators in front of the entrance downstairs and you'll be right there. It's a small row of UFO catchers and arcades, though they mostly have Bandai-Namco and Sega arcade games (along with a Korean dance game, Pump It Up).
  • 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 Daisen

  • Plaza Capcom Omagari (プラサカプコン 大曲店) Open from 9 AM to 9 PM. ☎ 0187-86-3444 map
This is located on the 2nd floor of the Omagari AEON mall, next to the Cinema. Despite being a Capcom game center, it doesn't have many Capcom games as one might expect. While it's a large game center, it's largely filled with UFO and prize games as well as medal games with a fair amount of video games. You can find some older selections or games you might not find at other game centers, such as puzzle games, an older Mario Kart 2, even a House of the Dead 4 machine.

Arcades in Kitaakita

Takanosu just got an update.

  • Game Field Takanosu (Itoku) (ゲームフィールド鷹巣店) Open from 9 AM to 9 PM. (It closes one hour before the grocery closes.) ☎ 0186-69-7799 map
While not as large as Odate's Marchen Land in their Itoku, Takanosu has a few machines that might help pass the time. They have a new selection of UFO catchers, cranes, all with updated prizes, and a few of the newer music and specialty video games along with some new games for the kids.
  • Rith's Child Takanosu (Aeon Town) (リスチャイルドたかのす店) Open from 9 AM to 8 PM. (It closes one hour before the grocery closes.) ☎ 0186-62-5070 map
Main Arcade
Located right between the food court and the bathrooms, it's got a lot of the kiddie game up front but when you move towards the back, you'll find some racing games like Wangan Midnight, shooting games like Ghost Squad, then you'll see the music games, an air hockey table, and their wide selection of medal/prize games. Towards the bathrooms, you'll find lots of UFO catchers, a couple purikura machines and more machines for the kids. If you go farther right into the mall towards Seria, there's another area full of more UFO catchers, purikura machines, and much older arcade games in the back (including a Battle Gear 3 racing game).

Arcades in Odate

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

  • Namco Arcade - Aeon Town Odate (namcoイオンタウン大館西店) Open from 10 AM to midnight. ☎ 0186-42-4997 map
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.
  • Marchen Land - 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 map
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.
  • Molly Fantasy - 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 map
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.
  • Soyu Playland Sofia Itoku Acros (プレイランドソピアいとくアクロス能代店) Open from 9 AM to 9 PM. ☎ 0185-54-7788 map
Tucked away in the far back corner of the Itoku, it has a bit of a limited selection of games and UFO/crane games to choose from. They do have a quite handful of newer games, not a bad way of killing a few minutes while shopping at the rest of the shopping center.

Arcades in Yurihonjo

Very few options despite being a rather large city.

  • Rith's Child Honjo (リスチャイルド本荘店) Open from 9 AM to 9 PM. ☎ 0184-28-0010 map
You can find a fair amount of games and prize machines in the back left area of this very large Aeon. They do seem to cycle through some older games and swap out for newer ones from time to time.

Arcades in Yokote

  • G3 Poros (G3ポロス横手南店) Open from 9 AM to 9 PM. ☎ 0182-35-2340 map
Located in Yokote Minami, this big Aeon arcade has quite a few things for folks of all ages. Good variety of arcade games as well.
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