Pachinko is a Japanese gaming device used for amusement and gambling.  A pachinko machine resembles a vertical pinball machine, but with no flippers and a large number of relatively small balls.


The player shoots a ball up into the machine, controlling only its initial speed.  The ball then cascades down through a dense forest of pins. In most cases, the ball falls to the bottom and is lost, but if it instead goes into certain pockets, more balls are released.  Wow, how exciting πŸ™‚


Because gambling for cash is illegal in Japan, balls won cannot be exchanged directly for cash in the parlor.  Instead, the balls are exchanged for token prizes, which can then be taken outside and traded in for cash, separate from the parlor.


Pachinko parlors are a lot like casinos in Las Vegas and also often feature a number of slot machines.


The pictures in this post were taken in Ikebukuro, and of course you can find Pachinko parlors everywhere in Japan.  I have never tried this game yet – anyway, Pachinko parlors are too noisy and smoke-filled for me.  Do you regularly play Pachinko?


12 thoughts on “Pachinko

  1. I pass 4 pachinko parlours on the 5 minute walk from the train station to work. I’ve never been inside one, but from what I’ve seen, most people that go in there are either businessmen or old people who don’t seem to have anything else to do. They often have gambling problems, and many don’t look financially well off. I rarely ever see young people go inside one, and if they do, they’re usually employees. Well, that’s the impression I get. And yes, they’re very smoky.

  2. I’ve played pachinko once before. It’s totally not fun and really boring. If you want to waste a lot of money fast, just play pachinko. Pinball is so much better.

    • You got me beat – never tried it (yet). I like gambling, but I don’t normally play slots, instead I usually play Black Jack and sometimes craps or roulette.

      PS. Kids, gambling is not good for you!

  3. Yes, Pachinkon place is very noisy and smoky …
    but miss it.
    I played Pachinko so many times in Japan…like on a way form work to home.
    I have never seen Pachinko here in USA, no one bring it??

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