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Girls' Arcades in Japan

Updated on December 1, 2011

When I think of arcades, I think of gender neutral (if not clearly masculine) places. Depending on the arcade, people inside will either be a mixture of guys and girls... or almost entirely male, and most of the games present will be oriented toward sports or shooting.

Japanese arcades fundamentally changed the way I look at arcade games, because, while they do house some great fighting and sports-oriented games, they also have incredible games with decidedly feminine themes!

This refreshingly femmy games pack the strongest punch in arcades that are specifically targeted toward girls. There are, as it happens, quite a few of them throughout Japan!

Though claw crane games are pretty common in all countries, those in Japanese arcades oriented toward girls are stuffed with the CUTEST things! Also, the dancing games go way beyond basic DDR in terms of creativity. Take, for example, Para Para Paradise (PPP), an arcade game that detects your arm movements as you follow an avatar on the screen in busting sweet Para Para dance moves.

shibuya, tokyo:
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

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The arcade in this video is located in Shibuya, Tokyo.

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Perhaps the most influential, popular, and iconic girls' arcade game installment in Japanese arcades (and now, in many American arcades) is the purikura booth. Purikura is Japanese for "Print Club." Purikura booths are basically traditional photo booths with a ton of added features.

Purikura booths started out offering just simple enhancements- printing stickers instead of plain photos and adding the ability to embellish portraits with little stars and other cutesy images on top of your photo, for example- but have since become super-advanced production booths equipped with Photoshop-like image editing abilities, green screens, and more.

You can actually see the effect that the growing popularity of purikura has had on Japanese culture by seeing how normal photos have evolved over the years. Back in the '80s, most folks looked quite conservative in photos- even smiling was not the norm. Today, poses are extra cute, and even the traditional peace or victory sign is seen as mundane. Girls instead opt for modified peace signs, other hand signals, and carefully angled faces (to maximize that uber-kawaii sweet spot they've honed in over 100s of mini photo shoots).

Though I'm obviously over-excited about purikura, it is just one of many fascinating Japanese arcade games targeted towards predominantly female audiences. If you find yourself in the country, you MUST keep a lookout for girls' arcades, and keep a pocket full of loose change so you can have a go at the fun games once you come across one!


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    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm a big fan of kawaii games too, alipuckett! I hope that you'll have the opportunity to visit Japan soon, since the country is SWIMMING in 'em!

    • alipuckett profile image


      6 years ago

      This is so freaking cool! My boyfriend and I were just discussing boy video games vs. girl video games over the weekend. I love cute (er - kawaii!) games with cartoonish characters, but he's all about realism. Your video makes me want to hop on a plane right away. I had no idea girl arcades even existed. Great hub! Thank you!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for stopping by, y'all!

      Thanks for pointing that out, Happyboomernurse, and also, there are quite a few purikura booths in the States already, so keep an eye out for 'em!

      You should TOTALLY open a franchise, Patty!! I'll go into business with ya!

      And good point, TransferAmerica. They need to get on the whole translation thing.

      I SO hope you'll be able to visit Japan someday soon, oceansnsunsets. You'll love it! And next time you go, DSPickett, you really have to keep an eye out for these femmy arcades. They're too cool!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Oh Simone, do you love Japan or what? I love these videos that you have been doing, it makes me want to go to Japan more than I ever have wanted to go before. You know so much about this country, and this is just another example of how totally unique and different it is. I would have never guessed they had such girl focused arcades or games like this. The Purikura sounds neat! It looks like an experience all its own. Thanks again for sharing another Japan experience with us.

    • prey profile image


      6 years ago from places you should hope we never meet

      Simone, your content is so refreshing and your original content is unlike none.

      Thank you for that


    • DSPickett profile image


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I do adore Japan, and can't wait to go back. I had no idea about these arcades for girls, but it sounds like Purikura would go over well here in the US too. I did visit a gigantic arcade in Odaiba, and got in trouble when I tried to take a picture inside of it.

    • Angelique Newman profile image

      Angelique Newman 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great hub Simone! The title totally grabbed my interest; I love the idea of more feminine arcade games :-) voted it up!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Why can't we have some of the same kind of fun in the Midwest? Perhaps I'll open a franchise...

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Loved the idea of a Purikura booth. I could definitely see that taking off in the United States.

      Interesting hub. Thanks for sharing it.

      Don't know if it's a temporary Hub Pages computer glitch but for some reason the main photo in this hub didn't show up when I viewed it. There was just a large square blank area with the words: "Girls' arcades in Japan are super cute- er- kawaii!" printed underneath the blank space.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • stugod profile image

      Stuart Goddard 

      6 years ago from Bradford

      Are there any "What the Butler saw" Ones for old demolition contractors he he.

    • mjfarns profile image


      6 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois USA

      Voted up, thanks for the tip! I'll have to be on the lookout for Purikura booths. It sounds like something my eleven year old daughter would really like.


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