From our special envoy in Tokyo and Osaka

This is a star destination with a cheeky tourist growth of over 500% since the year 2000. Tourism in Japan is nourished by the image of a country that combines tradition and modernity, and it focuses very strongly in the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, it is to see the cherry trees in flowers and local temples.

However, there are a myriad of other subjects attractive. The major sporting events that japan will host in 2019 and 2020 will certainly generate tourism of the fans. The rugby World Cup (September 20 to November 2) will follow a quantity of other events: surf (from 7 to 15 September), volley-ball (14 September to 15 October), handball (30 November to 15 December), swimming (2021), and the highlight, the olympic games of Tokyo in the summer of 2020. Gold it is there, in the vibrant bustling capital of Japan, that plays the pilgrimage related to video games, niche tourism, very popular with the 20-40 years.

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To understand this, it is necessary to go back a few years back. If the first video game comes not from japan but from the technological Institute of Massachusetts, in the United States, the rise of the genus is intimately tied to the land of the Rising Sun. In 1978, the first arcade machine to global success is developed by Taito: this is the game Space Invaders. The success is such that Taito deploys a 100,000 arcade machines in Japan in less than a year. Two years later, Namco, and with Pac-Man , set the seal on the success of arcade games and strengthens its internationalization. And then the consoles have democratized even more the kind.

today the names such as Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Mario, Sonic, Zelda are well-known in the world. Even the american Atari has a connotation in japanese. The game Pac-Man even had to be called “Puck Man” but, for fear of vandals in the US, which would have replaced the P with an F, the name has been changed.

In Tokyo, three quarters of videogames

Be player in Japan is not a question of sex, nor is it a question of age. This is probably the reason why the culture of the video game is so strong today. An integral part of the identity of the japanese, to the point that the prime minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Mario during the announcement of the olympic Games in Tokyo. Moreover, it is in the lively capital of the country that the “gameurs” are their main points of rallies, in three districts, called Akihabara, Nakano Broadway, Odaiba.

Reflection of the brand Taito Station and a view of the Sofmap Akihabara in the background. The epicenter of the “geekitude” of the japanese. Le Figaro

Akihabara: , nicknamed Akiba or Electronic town, it is the Mecca of male and female players, even if in recent years the outbreak of the “maid cafes” encroaches on the territory of the video game.

wandering in this district, the tourist will find shops to giants like Sofmap or small shops on streets adjacent to the main thoroughfare. The rooms of the arcades are not left out, with the famous building Taito, which offers two floors of machinery to clamp, two floors of arcade machines – including a sample of old games – but also a floor dedicated to music games, the most popular of recent years. Not to mention the myriad of shopping opportunities.

● Nakano Broadway: right next to the metro Nakano, the shopping centre Nakano Broadway, is a true time capsule. In the middle of the fifty shops specializing in collectibles, you will find several brands oriented video games is rare, and therefore expensive.

Two rooms of arcades continue to be full in the evenings and on weekends: Game Namco for fans of fighting games lately. And Nakano TRF for the retro-gamer, specializing in fighting games in 2D.

Diorama of Gundam at the last floor of the shopping center DiverCity. Figaro

● Odaiba: and the artificial island of Odaiba, originally built for the defense of Tokyo towards the end of the Nineteenth century, is today a tourist flagship of the japanese capital. For panoramic views of Tokyo bay and its mini-statue of liberty, for the complex Onsen Monogatari – a sort of Disney world of the japanese bath – but especially for the district DiverCity and his Gundam giant.

A Gundam of more than 20 meters high

Gundam is the brand of the robots the most famous in Japan. The island of Odaiba has a replica monumental of more than 20 meters high, animated to fixed hours. It is the equivalent in the geek world clock of Prague. The shopping center DiverCity has several shops dedicated to the culture of the video game, a space of virtual reality.

For reasons that are (complex) of copyright, the bars video games are scarce in Tokyo, it is better to try his luck in Osaka to enjoy the atmosphere of retro-gaming of quality, such as the bar Space Station.

shop Super Potato in Osaka, japan. An absolute benchmark of the genre. Guarded by Mario, and Solid Snake, symbols of the two ages of the video game. Le Figaro

True phenomenon of society the mode of retro-gaming has exploded in the past ten years. Probably related to the fact that the generation 80, now thirty years old, is evidence of nostalgia for the games of his childhood. The cartoon High Score Girl on Netflix is a perfect illustration of this period is blessed by all the players. It is rumored that an editor visionary is positioned on the rights of the manga, several years ago, and it could come out in France in 2019…

The popularity of retro-gaming has had a negative impact: the prices of the games, time flew away, to such a point that to do good business, it is sometimes better to go bargain hunting to flea.

YouTube channel Benzaie TV has completed fifteen episodes around the phenomenon of collectors of video games in Japan. The second, on flea markets, is a perfect guide to get started without breaking the bank.

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