How to karaoke in Japan

12 Sep 2018 in Have Fun

It’s the ultimate fun Japanese experience – and it’s quite different to what you may think!

Think of karaoke and you probably think of singing into a mic in front of a rowdy crowd at a bar. But for most Japanese, karaoke is something quite different.

Karaoke (literally “empty orchestra”) began in the early 1970s in Japan. By the 1980s, it had become so popular that “karaoke boxes” were a regular feature in major cities.


A karaoke box is an establishment with a series of private rooms where you can sing alone or with friends to the music of your choice. While it’s still possible to find Western-style bar karaoke, these are no longer the norm for most Japanese.


When you arrive at a karaoke box, you’ll be asked how long you plan to stay. Most places charge per half hour. You’ll then be shown to your own karaoke room, where a touchpad screen offers a mind-boggling array of songs.


For the best selection of English songs, head to one of the chains like Big Echo or Karaoke Kan (which appeared in the movie Lost in Translation). Change the language to English, then navigate by genre or simply type in the song of your choice. Within seconds, the disco lights will go up and the spotlight will be on you!


In many places, you can control the pitch and tempo of the music. Dressing up is also common, with costumes provided, as well as tambourines and maracas so you can shake in time to the music.


Staying at Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka?


Nearby Ikebukuro Station is home to several karaoke boxes, where you can sing until your heart’s content!



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