Tired of walking and sightseeing? Want to blow off some steam? Here are some spots within Nagano city where you can have fun! Seeing as this topic is quite different from the usual touristic sightseeing, we’ve put this article upside down and start off with pachinko!


    The super loud, sometimes (oftentimes) obnoxious, impossible to ignore when the doors go open pachinko. You can find pachinko halls everywhere! Interestingly enough, gambling is illegal in Japan!! But, pachinko and horse race betting are just fine! And seeing as they are everywhere, Japanese must be loving them, otherwise they’d be out of business, right? So let’s get with the hype and try some of the stress-relieving gambling. Now, the million-dollar question: how does one play pachinko?

    Please check out this very helpful YouTube video! (By P-martTV)

    A pachinko hall easily accessible from Nagano Station is DivaS. To get there just head towards Zenko-ji Temple and when you see a 7/11 on your left side, go into the shopping passage called Gondo across of the 7/11. Just walk through the Gondo passage for a while and you’ll see “DivaS Gondo” on your left.



    Next up: Game centers! Want to get some sweet stuffed toys from a claw crane or want to beat your best friend at some arcade style Street Fighter or Mario Kart? Or even show off your super taiko drum skills? This is where you have to go! Most places use coin money for the games, so you need 100 yen coins. Didn’t save any? No worries, just locate an exchange machine in the area, pop in that note, get your 100 yen coins and you’re ready to go! Most games are self-explanatory so knowledge of Japanese is not required, just the desire to have fun will suffice! If you are finished with playing games, give “purikura” a try. What is purikura, you ask? They’re only super awesome sticker sheets with mini photos that you can filter and add effects to! It is a bit of ridiculous fun and an unusual souvenir!

    Check out the YouTube video below for a How-to! (By Mie Rose)

    Note: Every purikura machine might be slightly different, but the works are usually the same.

    Don’t worry about group composition for purikura! Just have fun! Please beware, some places may not allow male-only groups, or at least require participants to sign in.

    The game center Round 1 is not close to Nagano Station, but from the number 31 bus stop at the East Exit of the station a free shuttle bus leaves every 30 minutes, so it is very easy to access. If you are only looking for purikura, then please take a look at YAZ which is within a 5 minute walking distance from the station. Just head out the Zenko-ji Temple exit at the station, cross the street and go straight, turn right at the traffic lights and you will find it after a little walk on your right side.



    Last but not least: KARAOKE!! Get your groove on and your vocal chords set, because whether you are a terrible or brilliant singer, you are going to rock the house (or room)! You usually pay per hour and some places come with free drink bars. Also, some offer free time after a certain time – that means you can go all night long for a set price baby, yeah! Pretty much every karaoke offers English on their tablet-like devices on which you search for songs, so just look for that English button! Can’t find it to safe your life? Just quickly ask a staff member and you’re ready to steal the show! Some artist recommendations that will make you a sure hit are old skool hits like the Backstreet Boys, Blues brothers or for more new skool you could go for Adele!

    No need for a How-to video here, because you are a born superstar and you will find your way!

    There are two big ones close to Nagano Station which are Big Echo and Joysound, and Manekineko Karaoke over at Gondo Arcade. Big Echo is a bit nicer looking, but Joysound is a bit cheaper and Manekineko is even cheaper.

    Joysound big booth 1

    Now you are ready to spend any free time you have in Nagano city!