Were you born in the 70s or 80s? Then I am sure you remember SEGA’s „MEGA DRIVE“ console. It had these cool games with Sonic the Hedgehog and his fellows, running super fast through a colorful side scroll world. I remember these days very fondly Did you know that there is a place in Tokyo where you can actually dive into the world of SEGA? Yup, that’s “Joypolis”.
“Joypolis” is a huge indoor entertainment facility inside “DECKS Tokyo Beach” at Odaiba. Joypolis spans over three floors (9600 square meters or 103333 square feet!) with all kinds of hi-tech rides and retro games to enjoy.
Before you enter, you have to decide what kind of ticket you want to buy. For us foreigners (and foreign residents) the 1-day passport is the most reasonable because they have a 400 Yen discount if you show your foreign passport! Yaaay!! If you are just accompanying your kids or just want to look around before trying anything, you can also buy an entry ticket and pay for each ride inside the facility.
Behind the “Joypolis” entrance there is a big open space with a stage – showing several laser shows every day. While I was letting the atmosphere sink in, suddenly I felt something move above my head. When I looked up, I saw a roller coaster wagon shooting through the air; twisting and then disappearing to …somewhere. Wow.
The ride is called: “Gekion Live Coaster”. When my friends and I went to “Joypolis” that ride just teamed up with the famous anime “Neon Genesis EVANGELION”. In the little wagon, you have a bar in front of you – very much like the safety restraint in every rollercoaster. But this safety bar has three buttons. Our car started to move and stopped in front of a screen (with an “EVANGELION” theme). Colored balls appear on the side of the screen and we had to push the buttons rhythmically following the music every time the balls hit a marked area. If you are into rhythm games, I guess you get what I mean.
After clearing each screen, everyone’s score appears and you’ll know who (of the up to four persons) has won. Then, suddenly an alarm rings and the rollercoaster speeds up, turns and twists. You shoot through the air, go all around the entrance area and …then the ride is over. What the…!? This was for sure the first time in my life I had this kind of game-rollercoaster-mixture.
All Joypolis attractions are set out this way. Each has a quite unusual mixture of two things you might know…but not in this kind of combination.
Like “VR” (virtual reality) and a “House of Horror”. That’s what we tried next… I don’t want to spoil the experience for you, but let me say just one thing: why on earth are the Japanese so good in creating scary stuff??!!
My personal favorite was the attraction “Unsearchable – The orb hidden in basement”: players get locked up in a room and have 8 minutes to solve several riddles in order to get out. Sooo much fun (especially in a large group of people)!!
Also, there was “Lola and Carla the Beauty Contest” (only in Japanese – but still great!) where you have to try your best to become a host or a hostess at a club somewhere in Tokyo. First, you have to answer several questions placing your name card on a table with a monitor inside it. You get a score depending on your answer.
In the end, you have to pose for several – well, “sexy” – photos in a photo booth. In the end, you get your favorite photo with your score printed on it. I know I’m repeating myself, but: Just wow!
Japan has a large number of amusement parks, the most famous ones being: Tokyo Disney Resort, Universal Studios (Osaka), Fuji-Q Highland (in Yamanashi prefecture), Hanayashiki (retro park at Asakusa)… well, and then there’s Joypolis, which is a 100% indoor park (with a roller coaster) – so it’s perfect for rainy days or if you have a group of bouncy kids to control.
It’s also the only park focusing on video games and VR. Roller coasters exist in many countries, but “Joypolis” has a unique mixture of lo-tech and hi-tech attractions you won’t find ANYWHERE ELSE. Trust me. Joypolis is crazy – and that’s the best thing about “Joypolis”. It’s a must-see in Tokyo!
Address: 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Ticket Prices (December 2016):
Without foreign passport: Yen 4300, (after 17:00 Yen 3300)
With foreign passport: Yen 3900, (after 17:00 Yen 2900)