Strrrrrike! Though bowling and boring sound suspiciously similar when katakanized, it doesn’t have to be a drag! We recently went Tokyo bowling after a lengthy hiatus and it was pretty fun, even though our left butt cheeks were mysteriously sore for two days after.
If you like to throw heavy balls long distances at inanimate objects under flashing neon lights, we’ve got some ideas for you.
This 54 lane alley has bumpers for the kids and auto-scoring machines on each lane. The cost is 570 yen per game (add 50 yen on weekends) plus 350 yen for shoes, making it a decent deal wethinks. Super bonus is the roller rink in the same complex for maximum nostalgic fun.
If you’re a night owl and black lights are also your thing (you have a lava lamp at home, don’t you?), EST Shibuya is a fun and central spot. Open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 a.m., this 30-lane game center also has billiards, darts, and karaoke. Games are 600 a pop and shoe rental is 300 yen.
The Bowling Center at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel is not fooling around. With 80 lanes on two floors, this is one of the bigger bowling alleys around. Games start at 570 yen (and go up to 670 on evenings and weekends) and shoe rental is 310 yen. They have a pro shop, as well as a small video game area for those who think ボウリング is ボーリング. Oh yes we did!
Hyperlane, just a skip and a hop from Ikebukuro station, is great for insomniacs and other people who keep odd hours: the place is open 24/7/365. Yup, it never closes. Games start at 450 yen and go up to 650 during peak weekend hours, with shoes costing 350 yen. Being a student or becoming a member (a member’s card is 200 yen) will save you some dosh, so if you’re an area denizen, it might be worth your while.
Copabowl in Shinjuku offers about 30 lanes on two floors, but you can’t beat the location. Open 365 days a year, they’ve got black light, and bumper bowling for the kids and inept on the third floor. Games go for 5-670 yen apiece and shoes are 310 yen.
Odaiba is not a terribly exciting place but there are a few things to recommend it. If you like shopping centers and outlets, it’s got those. Knock-off Statue of Liberty? She’s there too. Sad-looking beach? Check. But you can cobble together a few things to make a trip there worthwhile, and the bowling center at Leisure Land is one of them. With 44 lanes, they’ve also got karaoke, darts, and video games on site to keep you busy. Games start at 450 yen each and shoe rental is 350 yen.
Station: Tokyo Teleport
Right between Mita, Hinode, and Tamachi Stations is the 34 lane alley Tokyo Port Bowl. Their offerings are pretty standard, though they do stay open until 5 a.m. on weekends. Games start at 520 yen and shoe rental is a further 300. Pool tables and a restaurant on the premises if your fingers start cramping up.
Stations: Mita, Tamachi, or Hinode
While it’s not our favorite, the student-oriented but somewhat pricey Round One franchise is also a place to find bowling lanes. Look out for giant bowling pins on buildings scattered around the country.
Keep in mind that bowling alleys in Tokyo can be extremely busy on weekends and evenings and are likely to get booked solid; going during off-peak hours or making an advance booking is recommended!