A maze of around 450 weird and wonderful claw machines filled with amazing treasures. 

Japan is home to thousands of claw machines, known in Japan as UFO Catchers or Crane Games, and if you’re looking for the best place to try them, you can’t go past Everyday Tottekiya Tokyo Honten.

Located in Yashio City in Tokyo’s neighbouring prefecture of Saitama, this arcade centre is sacred ground for lovers of crane games, as it’s home to 448 machines. While this branch touts itself as the best crane game centre in the universe, its sister store at nearby Gyoda, by comparison, is said to be the best in the world.

Everyday Tottekiya, a place so impressive it’s often featured in YouTuber videos.

Upon stepping inside the store, you’ll be welcomed to the land of claw machines with a few 10-yen (US$0.07) games merrily lined up in the entrance area, giving it the feel of a festival square. There is also a selection of other low-priced machines that offer eight-time plays for 100 yen.

These games are no doubt popular with children, and according to Mr Kanai from the public relations department of Toyo, the company that operates the facility, the parking lot gets so crowded on weekends that they’re unable to accommodate all the cars that want to get in.

▼ It’s easy to see why the place is so popular with families.

There are hundreds of machines lined up to suit people of all ages and tastes, and you could easily spend an entire day here without getting bored.

There are various prizes to be found, including official character goods, gadgets, stuffed animals, sweets, food…the list goes on and on. There’s no method to the madness here either, with different machines lined up next to each other, making things intentionally chaotic to add to the fun, treasure hunt-like atmosphere.

Once you find a machine you like, it’s best to give it a try, because with so many rows and passageways in the centre, you may never find your way back to it again.

▼ It’s no wonder they call this the best claw machine arcade in the universe!

Unlike other game arcades in Japan, the wide variety of UFO catchers here is truly astounding. Plus, there are some models you won’t find in regular arcades, like machines that are operated by “hand power”, using infrared sensors instead of buttons.

▼ There are some other surprising machines as well, like this one containing a freezer full of ice cream.

Another unusual find is the row of “Mottainai Catchers” (mottainai roughly translates to “what a waste“). These are filled with food products that are either recently expired or close to their expiration date.

▼ Have fun and prevent unnecessary food waste at the same time!

Some of the machines are equipped with smaller, slim machines, which issue special tickets to gamers who use them, regardless of whether or not they win a prize. This service is known as “Mottekiya“, and once you collect a certain number of tickets, you can exchange them for prizes.

▼ Some of those prizes include snacks, which are lined up on shelves like a mini supermarket.

Perhaps some of the weirdest machines here are the ones filled with fruit and vegetables.

▼ Take a gamble on a machine and you can win a prize pineapple!

Funnily enough, the solid yet misshapen surfaces of a vegetable make then quite easy to acquire with the claw.

▼ Woo hoo! Proud winners of a potato!

Looking around revealed other machines that were filled with carrots and onions. Along with the potato, these root vegetables are commonly used in Japanese curry, so we decided to see whether we could actually make ourselves a curry by winning the required ingredients.

▼ After a couple of tries at the onion machine, we had success!

Some claw machines can be frustrating to use, due to underhanded tactics like weak claw arms, but these machines didn’t seem to have any malicious settings, which made them fun to use.

▼ Scooping carrots took a couple of attempts, but again, we were successful.

Out of the corner of our eye, we spotted a rice machine, so we headed over to it, and couldn’t help but giggle at the claw, which was shaped like a spoon. Given that curry rice is usually eaten with a spoon, we took this to be a sign that we were on the right track with our ingredients.

▼ A couple of attempts here, and we were the proud owners of an instant rice pack.

All we needed to find now was some curry, and judging by this microwave corner, where customers can heat up their edible prizes, it shouldn’t be too far away.

It ended up taking a while to find, but we eventually came across this machine filled with packs of curry roux.

This machine also employed the spoon claw system, but for some reason, the packs proved to be hard to get. This was probably due to its smooth surface and soft contents, but we were determined to perservere with it, even after spending 500 yen at the machine.

Time after time, the spoon claw ruthlessly slid over the surface of the pack, and at one stage it seemed to be pushing the product further away from the edge above the drop slot.

Flustered, we pushed coin after coin into the machine…1,000 yen…then 2,000 yen. By the end of it all, we could’ve eaten a posh curry at a high-class restaurant in Tokyo’s swanky Ginza district with all the money we’d invested.

▼ Inch by painstaking inch, the spoon slowly pushed the pack towards the edge.

Finally, after exchanging at least three 1,000-yen bills for coins, we pressed the button one last time, and…the pack plodded into the tray below with a satisfying thwack.

As we reached in to retrieve the roux, we weren’t sure whether to feel sad or elated. In the end, though, we decided to forget about the money we’d spent, and instead concentrate on making this the best curry possible.

Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to find a machine stocked with brushes to scrub vegetables, so we had to make do with a net to scrub our potato.

Taking cues from a cooking hack we recently saw online, we used a pair of kitchen scissors to dice up one half of the onion and popped it into our one-person Petit Home Maker pot.

▼ After adding in the other vegetables, we added our super expensive curry roux, and left it to cook.

Once it was ready, we tried a spoonful and were pleased to find it was surprisingly delicious! Despite the roux being classified as “medium spicy”, it turned out to be spicier than expected, and in the end, we were happy with our pricier-than-normal meal.

It was fun to forage for food at the arcade centre, so if you’re as obsessed with curry and UFO catchers as we are, be sure to stop by Everyday Tottekiya to try the best machines in the universe.

With 448 machines on the premises, the store isn’t far off the Guinness World Record held by the Sega Shinjuku Kabukicho arcade in downtown Tokyo, which is home to 477 claw machines. It’s not always about quantity, though, as Tottekiya has game settings that make it easy to win prizes, cheap machines, and a “crane game advisor” to give you one-on-one help and guidance if you need it.

Considering that some machines in Japan have been known to deceive users hundreds of times, it’s always nice to find a centre that goes out of its way to ensure its customers go home happy, and given its popularity, it’s a great place to snare a prize!

Arcade information
Everyday Tottekiya Tokyo Head Office / エブリデイとってき屋 東京本店
Address: Saitama-ken, Yashio-shi, Kamibaba 460-1
Hours: 10:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.

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