Memorable Things to Do While Gambling in Japan

Japanese Flag With a Pachinko and Samurai Background
Everyone knows that Japan is one of the coolest places to visit in the world. Featuring ancient art techniques, fascinating architecture, traditional music, and amazing food, Japan continues to be a hotspot for tourists from all over the globe.

One thing you may not associate Japan with is gambling. That’s because there are currently no casinos in Japan, however, it looks like there will be in the very near future. Even without casinos, there are some interesting things to gamble on.

Let’s take a look at some places you can visit in Japan where you can gamble as well as take in the beautiful culture this country has to offer.

Here are three memorable places to visit while gambling in Japan.

Play Pachinko in Shinjuku and Dress Up Like Samurai

Pachinko is a unique Asian gambling game and is most well-known in Japan. It’s a form of pseudo-gambling that the vast majority of the Japanese population engage in.

There are Pachinko parlors spread all over Japan and if there is one place visitors should go it’s the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building where tourists can easily learn to play Pachinko.

There are over 1,000 gaming machines at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building, consisting of pachinko and pachi-slots. You can get a membership card and rack up points from multiple visits and exchange them for prizes.

Rows of Pachinko Machines at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building

You can possibly exchange your points for cash, but the parlor isn’t officially associated with businesses that will give you money for your points. Your best bet would be to ask another player at the parlor how and where to do this.

The staff at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building speak Spanish, Turkish, Korean, Chinese, and English, and they are more than willing to help you while you are there. Shinjuku has some awesome historic sights to see such as the Shinjuku Samurai Museum. You can get a group tour in Chinese, Korean, English, or Japanese.

Once the tour ends, you can dress up as a samurai, or if you prefer you can wear a kimono instead. Sword fighting performances can also be viewed at the museum. If you want to learn some samurai moves, you can do that as well with the assistance of a choreographer.

You can easily travel from the past into the future by walking down the street from the Shinjuku Samurai Museum to the Robot Restaurant. This place is quite the spectacle, and while you are waiting for a table, you will be entertained by a robot band.

The name Robot Restaurant can be somewhat misleading, as there are only some light snacks available on the menu. The Robot Restaurant’s main focus is the show you will enjoy once inside.

Shinjuku is located in Tokyo, and I’m sure most people don’t think of beautiful green parks when they think of Tokyo but Shinjuku has just that.

At the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, you will enjoy what used to be the Emperor’s private garden. Springtime is the quintessential time to visit as that is cherry blossom season. However, this park is still beautiful all year long.

Horse Racing at the Kyoto Racecourse

Horse racing is extremely popular in Japan, and there are over 20,000 races held every year. Betting on horse racing attracts the most serious gamblers from Japan and around the world. If you want to have the real horse racing experience, you must go to the Kyoto Racecourse in Kyoto.

The Kyoto Racecourse was built in 1999 and can hold 120,000 people. This venue consists of a jump course, a dirt course, and two turf courses. Races are held year-round at the Kyoto Racecourse. Betting on horseracing in Japan can be quite lucrative, so you might just walk away as a big winner.

One of the best things about the Kyoto Racecourse is that it is in Kyoto. Surrounded by beautiful cherry trees on top of a magnificent hill, you will find the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. There, you will find the Jishu Shrine that was built for the god of love.

If you are a fan of beautiful scenery and monkeys, then you will want to visit Monkey Park Iwatayama. Now, consider yourself warned, there are monkeys everywhere, swinging from trees and always looking for an opportunity to steal some food from you.

Make sure that if you have any bags or a backpack with you that you keep them zipped up. These monkeys have no problem going through all of your belongings in search of some food or a free souvenir.

Geisha Women at the Minamiza Theatre Japan

If you are looking for entertainment in Kyoto, the Gion district is just for you. There, you will find geishas, theatres, and some very talented artists.

Make sure to catch a kabuki show at the Minamiza Theatre. A kabuki show is a type of theatre that includes bright colors, elaborate makeup, and ancient dance techniques.

If you are superstitious, make sure you make your way down to the Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine’s magical stone. There, you can write down your dreams and offer it to a magical stone.

While in the Gion district, you can also enjoy great food as there are a huge number of cafes there. A short 20 kilometers away from Kyoto is the town of Kurama. While there you can travel to the top of Mt. Kurama where you will find an amazing Buddhist temple by the name of Kurama-dera. You will also find a beautiful hiking trail located just past the temple.

You will see birds, deer, and monkeys as you travel the trail.

Bet on Bicycle Racing in Omiya-ku

Japan is very famous for its unique style of bicycle racing known as Keirin. Keirin emerged after World War II and is one of the most popular sports to bet on in all of Japan. It consists of nine cyclists doing laps around a velodrome.

Initially, this sport was developed for the sole purpose of being gambled on, but today, it is also appreciated as one of Japan’s finest sports. The Omiya Velodrome is a perfect place to get in on the action of betting on Keirin. Located in Omiya-ku, Saitama, the Omiya Velodrome has an oval whose circumference is 500 meters.

Omiya-ku is usually just thought of as a hub that connects Tokyo to the northern parts of Japan. However, it is an excellent tourist spot as well. Omiya actually means great shrine. There, you will find the Hikawa Shrine that dates back to 473 BCE. Surrounding this shrine are bridges, ponds, and other smaller shrines.

To learn more about Omiya-ku’s history, you can visit the Omiya Railway Museum. Omiya has always been a transportation hub in modern times and plays an important role in the Shinkansen bullet train network.

Among the cool things you will see at this museum is an Imperial carriage that was used by Japanese royalty as well as steam locomotives and model trains from Japanese history.

If you are an even bigger history buff, you will want to make sure to pay a visit to the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. Here, you will find ancient pieces of fine art from 1000 BCE, as well as more modern works from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Visitors can also make folk crafts at some of the workshops that are held regularly. Omiya-ku also has a park that is well-known for its cherry blossoms as well as its apricot and red pine trees.

A visit to Japan wouldn’t be complete without seeing some bonsai masterpieces. At the Omiya Bonsai Village, you will see not only bonsai masterpieces but bonsai related artifacts as well. This village is also home to the Great Bonsai Festival which is held every May.

The Omiya Bonsai Village is only a short walk from Omiya Koen Station which is located on the Tobu Urban Park Line.


Japan is unlike any other country you will ever visit. The beauty of its culture and nature is unparalleled. Couple this with some unique gambling opportunities and you have a potential trip that will change your life forever.

Again, it is anticipated that land-based casinos will soon be in operation in Japan within the next couple of years. So, now is the best time to be thinking about planning a gambling trip to Japan.

Did you enjoy reading about these places to visit while gambling in Japan? If so, let me know in the comments.