Pachinko in Iidabashi Tokyo / 飯田橋のパチンコ

Possibly the most bizarre game I have ever seen, Pachinko (パチンコ)is well…. imagine a combination of a slot machine and pinball minus the flippers, I guess that is the only way I can even start to try and explain it.

As gambling in Japan is illegal there is a series of strange systems in place with regards to collecting your winnings. You play the game to win trays of ball bearings, when you decided you have won/lost enough of these ball bearings to stop playing you stumble to a counter where the balls can be exchanged for paper tokens, you must then leave the palor to find a conveniently positioned shop completely separate from the parlour that just so happens to exchange paper tokens for money or prizes.

Pachinko is very popular in Japan and there are thousands of Pachino Parlours all over Japan, the atmosphere is always loud and smokey and packed with men and women alike. Although this looks simple there is defiantly some skill involved, the one time I tried to play I ended up going though about 2000¥(£17.00) in 10 mins with no real winnings.

If you want to try something very Japanese (and don’t mind loosing a few thousand yen) its worth giving a shot, I took the picture above outside a small Pachinko parlour in Iidabashi Tokyo, but you will be able to find them near all the main stations, especially around Shinjuku.