When I first went out to Kawasaki with my camera in tow, this was not the post I was intending to write.
I mentioned back in my August Diary that I’d made a pit stop at a mystery location to take pictures for an upcoming blog, and that mystery location was in fact, Anata no Warehouse. My original idea was to upload a joint blog post that covered both the Warehouse arcade and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum as two places which took their respective themes to the next level. But that was before the news broke that the Warehouse would be closing its doors to the public on November 17th, 2019.
Instead of scrapping my post entirely, I decided to turn this into a little photo tribute of what may have been the coolest arcade in the Kanto region, if not the whole of Japan.
I have historically had bad luck at arcade games so usually I avoid playing, but Anata no Warehouse was the place where I won my first prize from a crane machine. That’s not to say their games are easy, and I have definitely not been able to replicate it again, but I can still look at my Kakashi Hatake figure with a little bit of pride.
It’s not the games that make the Warehouse so cool, though.
The place is unique because of the theme, which is modeled on the Kowloon Walled City of Hong Kong. It’s an experience when you walk in, setting it apart from the standard ‘sanitised’ look of the other countless game centres in Japan. Sure, the floor which houses the UFO catchers still has the same kind of feel, but the entrance is where a difference really counts.
The first floor (or ground floor for the Brits reading this) is mainly dedicated to the theme, and you can hop across a luminescent green pool Takeshi’s Castle style, only the stepping stones are actually stable and there are handrails for safety. Then, as you circle round to the escalator, the corridor is made to look like Hong Kong’s underbelly, even with some windows so you can peek into the neighbouring rooms. The attention to detail is amazing and even if you can’t go into the rooms themselves, it gives the place a realistic edge.
The next floor carries on the theme, with some arcade games embedded into the walls.
They’ve recreated a little corner of a neighbourhood, and if you look up you can see that they’ve replicated it even down to the washing hanging on the line. An air hockey table stands in the corner, and it feels retro enough to fit the theme.
On the other side of the floor, you can find the UFO catchers and crane machines you’d expect from a regular arcade, and even though this area hasn’t been made to look any different it doesn’t matter too much. I tend to gravitate towards what I call the ‘takoyaki games’ which have a takoyaki tray with one dent painted a different colour, and a bowl of ping pong balls. The goal is to pick up the balls with the (pretty small) crane and drop them into the tray, aiming for the place with the different colour. This kind doesn’t drop the prize down and you do have to ask for it.
I personally really like those machines even if they are kind of difficult. The balls often bounce all over the place and rarely fall where you want them to, so it does seem more up to chance but if anyone knows a trick please teach me!
This was how I won my Kakashi figure. I’d already paid 200 yen to attempt it and brushing it off as my usual bad luck, I went to see what the other prizes were. Once we looped back, however, Kakashi was still there and I figured I could try one more time. I inserted another 100 yen coin and to my absolute surprise, the ball bounced snugly into the yellow slot. I literally cheered out loud.
On the top level you can play typical pub games like pool and darts, and even though I’m not great at either of those, I can still have fun playing them. When I went up to take pictures, I remembered giving myself a rib fracture because I was coughing too hard. That incident was the catalyst for me seeing a doctor, and a year later I found out I had a milder form of asthma that only manifested itself after I moved to Japan.
It turns out I’m allergic to Japanese summer, guys.
I still had a great time that day though, and even though there are other places that do the same kind of games, there are none that I’ve found which match the originality of the Warehouse. I think if you took all the sections separately, it wouldn’t seem all that great but combining them all into a package deal really worked. Check out the slideshow below to see some of the shots I took!
I may have cracked a rib there, but damn, I’m gonna miss Anata no Warehouse.
Is this somewhere that you’d have liked to visit? Do you have anything like this in your country or area? Leave me a comment!