Wondering what’s up with the bright lights and interesting sounds coming from the corner of the bar? That’s Masu’s Pachinko Parlor. Wondering what the heck that is? Well, think of a pachinko machine as a type of upright pinball machine without the flippers. In Japan, pachinko parlors are widespread and similar to casinos, where these machines line the walls. Players fire small metal balls into the machine, which then cascade down through a series of pins. If the balls go into the right locations, more balls are released which can then be exchanged for prizes.
Gambling is illegal in Japan, but Pachinko is not technically considered gambling because users can only win merchandise such as food, beer, shampoo and small appliances. Winners, however, can later exchange these items for cash at designated establishments nearby. The Japanese government estimates that the pachinko industry rakes in about 29 trillion yen (US$300 billion) in annual revenues. To put pachinko’s popularity into perspective, that’s nearly four times the revenue from legal casino gambling worldwide!
That’s pretty crazy! Here at Masu, we play just for fun. And you’re welcome to try it out too. Our Sushi Master is our resident Pachinko Champion and when he isn’t behind the bar, you might find him in the Pachinko Parlor. He’ll tell you it’s all in the wrist. What’s your trick?