Inside Anata no Warehouse: A Seedy Japanese Dystopian Arcade in Kawasaki

Inside Anata no Warehouse: A Seedy Japanese Dystopian Arcade in Kawasaki

Run-down, seedy and smeared with filth. Anata no Warehouse in Kawasaki is an arcade that’s not for the faint-hearted.

Tokyo is a wonderland filled with all things quirky, and just when I thought the city couldn’t get any more unique – it does. Nestled in Kawasaki lies Anata no Warehouse (or Kawasaki Warehouse), an arcade that attracts both gamers and non-gamers alike.

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In case you were wondering, Anata no Warehouse is no ‘Timezone’, nor is it the usual music-blaring-claw-machine-filled kind of arcade. The building is modelled after Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, an area demolished by the government in 1994. The walled city brought ‘seedy’ and ‘dodgy’ to a whole other level – within its boundaries, organised crime, drugs, (illegal) gambling and prostitution were commonplace.

dystopian arcade tokyo

The decor is impeccably realistic; you enter through a set of heavy-set doors to uncover an entire world built on the foundation of filth. The walls are grimy, and the entire place is dirt on crack. Fake posters plaster the walls, and moisture stains fill every crack. Rooms are fitted with stained glass, through which mannequins masquerading as prostitutes lie clad in lingerie. Lilting strains of orchestral music pipe in through the walls, punctuated with entire dialogues in Cantonese.

Dilapidated signboards adorn the walls, while the pillars are in a state of disarray. In fact, it felt as if the entire place were to crumble down any minute. Cool? Very much. Creepy? Without a shred of doubt. Warning: it might take a little more than the usual amount of courage to explore this warehouse.

However, make it past the initial ‘Silent Hill’ extravaganza and you will, with much relief, rediscover a state of normalcy, where a hodgepodge mix of gaming machines lie scattered about the premises. And yes, Anata no Warehouse is a fully functional arcade, so these machines do work! In fact, the sounds emitting from these machines were a rather welcome nullification of the creepiness that hung in the air, and were a great relief.

This is a real vending machine that dispenses actual drinks. Would YOU buy a beverage from this? I think I’d rather stay thirsty, thank you very much.

The arcade consists of another four floors, consisting of:

2F: Game Floor

The atmosphere will get decidedly less and less scary as you advance up the levels. The second floor is filled with gaming machines, including the usual suspects such as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Street Fighter and the like.

There are also tons of claw machines, at which my total lack of mind-arm coordination failed me miserably. Should you prove to be more adept, however, the prizes offered are of an interesting variety. I even spotted Calbee potato chips tubes that were the length of my entire arm!

I discovered these little nifty gaming pods at one end, which were really interesting to observe. I’ve never seen anything like this! I have no idea how the gamer enters the pod, but once in, they’ll be fully immersed within the game. I’m assuming there’s surround sound in there too, making it one heck of a gaming experience.

3F: Medal Game Floor

The third floor has an entirely different vibe altogether – the large gaming machines cast iridescent neon shadows onto the walls, with the different beeping sounds culminating in a cacophony of delightful chaos. I‘m not very sure how these games work, but they seem to be coin operated and award you medals of some sort, which you could then exchange for prizes at the counter. However, I might be wrong about this – I was too overwhelmed by everything that was going on to observe the proper mechanics of the game. Try them for yourself when you visit!

A little virtual horse racing area was tucked away in one corner. The various betting booths had little tables at the side, which gamers used to hold their drinks and chips. From the looks of it, they’ve probably been there for quite a while!

4F: Billiards & Darts

The fourth floor is perhaps one that is best enjoyed with friends – the billiards and darts floor. Interestingly, a hellish Trevi Fountain takes centre stage. Or perhaps, in this case, interesting might not be the accurate expression to use. Visiting with friends can, and probably does, feel like a pretty good idea.

This floor was rather empty when I visited, and seemed strangely quiet in comparison to the previous floors. I suppose this is where gamers go for a spot of peace and quiet!

5F Internet Warehouse

I didn’t visit this floor, but I’m assuming that it’ll be like a LAN shop on hyperdrive.

I’m probably the furthest thing from a gamer, but paying a visit to the Anata no Warehouse proved to be a massive eye-opener. Because where else in the world can find such a realistically themed arcade that will have you torn between being wow-ed and having the beejeebies at the same time?

In fact, simply entering the warehouse is an experience in itself – you either enter via a creaky walkway suspended over suspiciously neon glowing water, or through a set of large red metal doors.

When translated to English, the Chinese words on the door read “Welcome”. And that’s exactly what visitors are invited to do; they’re welcome to enter and explore – if they dare!

To get to Anata no Warehouse, take the JR Tokaido line from Tokyo Station to Kawasaki Station. It’s a short 18-minute ride and will only cost about 300 yen (~SGD4). The warehouse is a short five-minute walk from the station, and it’s easy to spot the building – befitting of the theme, its exterior is old and rusty, standing out like a sore thumb amidst the modern buildings.

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An exploration of the Anata no Warehouse is, in every way possible, an adventure. Are you up for it?

About Author

E-lyn Tham
E-lyn Tham

Having a strong conviction that getting lost is just another adventure in itself, E-lyn takes particular delight in wandering stranger lands, inhibitions and fears thrown asunder. There’s so much left in the world to see, and there’s nothing she would like better than to spend her days dreaming whimsical, thinking adventure, and laughing curious.


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