A maze of around 450 weird and wonderful claw machines filled with incredible treasures.
Japan is home to thousands of claw machines, known in Japan as Catch UFO Where crane gamesand if you’re looking for the best place to try them, you can’t go past Daily Tottekiya Tokyo Honten.
Located in the city of Yashio in Tokyo’s neighboring Saitama prefecture, this arcade center is hallowed ground for crane game enthusiasts, as it houses 448 machines. While this branch bills itself as the best crane game center in the universe, its sister store near Gyoda, by comparison, is said to be the best in the world.
▼ Tottekiya on a daily basisa place so impressive that it is often featured in YouTuber videos.
Upon entering the store, you’ll be greeted in the land of claw machines with a few 10 yen ($0.07) games lined up cheerfully in the entrance area, giving it the feel of a festival plaza. There is also a selection of other low-cost machines that offer eight games for 100 yen.
These games are undoubtedly popular with children, and according to Mr. Kanai of the public relations department of Toyo, the company that operates the facility, the parking lot is so crowded on weekends that it is unable to accommodate all cars that want to ride.
▼ It’s easy to see why the place is so popular with families.
There are hundreds of machines lined up to suit people of all ages and tastes, and you can easily spend an entire day here without getting bored.
There are various prizes to be won, including official character goods, gadgets, stuffed animals, sweets, food…The list is lengthened increasingly. There’s no crazy method here either, with different machines lined up next to each other, doing things intentionally chaotic to add to the fun treasure hunt atmosphere.
Once you find a machine you like, it’s best to give it a try, because with so many rows and center passes, you may never go back to it again.
▼ No wonder they call it the best claw machine arcade in the universe!
Unlike other game arcades in Japan, the wide variety of UFO sensors here is truly amazing. Additionally, there are some designs that you won’t find in regular arcades, such as machines that are operated by hand, using infrared sensors instead of buttons.
▼ There are also other surprising machines, like this one containing a freezer full of ice cream.
Another unusual find is the row of “Catch Mottainai(mottainai roughly translates to “such a waste“). These are filled with food products that have recently expired or are close to their expiry date.
▼ Have fun and avoid unnecessary food waste at the same time!
Some of the machines are equipped with smaller, slim machines, which issue special tickets to players who use them, whether or not they win a prize. This service is known as “Mottekiya“, and once you have collected a certain number of tickets, you can redeem them for prizes.
▼ Some of these prizes include snacks, which are lined up on shelves like a mini supermarket.
Perhaps some of the strangest machines here are those filled with fruits and vegetables.
▼ Make a bet on a machine and you can win a pineapple prize!
Oddly enough, the solid but warped surfaces of a vegetable then make it quite easy to acquire with the claw.
▼ Woohoo! Proud winners of a potato!
Looking around me, I discovered other machines filled with carrots and onions. Along with the potato, these root vegetables are commonly used in japanese curryso we decided to see if we could actually make ourselves a curry by earning the required ingredients.
▼ After a few tries at the onion machine, we succeeded!
Some claw machines can be frustrating to use, due to sneaky tactics like weak claw arms, but these machines didn’t appear to have any malicious settings, which made them fun to use.
▼ Picking up the carrots took a few tries, but again we were successful.
Out of the corner of our eye, we spotted a rice machine, so we walked over to it and couldn’t help but laugh at the claw, which was shaped like a spoon. Since curry rice is usually eaten with a spoon, we took this as a sign that we were on the right track with our ingredients.
▼ A few attempts here, and we were the proud owners of an instant rice pack.
All we had left to find now was curry, and judging by that microwave corner, where customers can warm up their edible prizes, it shouldn’t be too far away.
It ended up taking a while to find, but eventually we stumbled upon this machine full of packets of curry roux.
This machine also used the spoon claw system, but for some reason the packs proved difficult to obtain. This was probably due to its smooth surface and soft contents, but we were determined to persevere, even after spending 500 yen on the machine.
Time and time again, the claw of the spoon slid mercilessly over the surface of the package, and at one point seemed to push the product away from the edge above the drop slot.
Confused, we pushed coin after coin into the machine…1,000 yen…then 2,000 yen. At the end of it all, we could have eaten a fancy curry at an upscale restaurant in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district with all the money we invested.
▼ Laborious inch by inch, the spoon slowly pushed the package to the edge.
Finally, after exchanging at least three 1,000 yen bills for coins, we pressed the button one last time, and… the bundle sank into the tray below with a satisfying snap.
As we reached out to retrieve the redhead, we weren’t sure whether to feel sad or happy. In the end, however, we decided to forget about the money we had spent and instead focus on making the best curry possible.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought of finding a machine with brushes to scrub the vegetables, so we had to settle for a net to scrub our potato.
Taking inspiration from a kitchen hack we recently saw online, we used a pair of kitchen scissors to dice half the onion and put it in our one-person Petit Home Maker jar. .
▼ After adding the other vegetables, we added our super expensive curry roux and let it cook.
Once it was ready we tried a spoonful and were delighted to find that it was surprisingly delicious! Although the roux is rated as “medium spicy”, it turned out to be spicier than expected and in the end we were happy with our more expensive than normal meal.
It was fun looking for food at the arcade center, so if you’re as obsessed with curry and UFO sensors as we are, be sure to stop by Everyday Tottekiya to try out the best machines around. universe.
With 448 machines on site, the store is not far off the Guinness World Record held by Sega arcade Shinjuku Kabukicho in downtown Tokyo, which houses 477 claw machines. It’s not always about quantity, however, as Tottekiya has game settings that make it easy to win prizes, cheap machines and a “crane game advisor” to give you one-on-one help and advice if you need it.
Considering that some machines in Japan are notorious for fooling users hundreds of times, it’s always nice to find a center that goes out of its way to make sure its customers go home happy, and given its popularity, it’s is a great place to catch a prize!
Tottekiya Headquarters in Tokyo
Address: Saitama-ken, Yashio-shi, Kamibaba 460-1
460-1 Kamibaba, Yashio City, Saitama Prefecture
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Images © SoraNews24
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