Pachinko: An Entertaining, Classic Japanese Game of Chance

Updated October 15, 2019

Pachinko is a game of chance, aka gambling. But gambling isn’t legal in Japan so you win metal balls instead — which a nearby shop buys from you.

Be careful. Pachinko can suck away your money quickly. It’s a blast to play, but don’t let yourself become addicted. Just play to experience it and then check it off your list.

I’ll be honest, there was a time when I enjoyed pachinko more than I should have. It’s deceptively fun at times. Almost taunting. The thrill of the win is incredibly tuned in — to the point you may not realize you’re throwing away a lot of money in the process.

I gotta say though, these games really can be a lot of fun. Some of the most incredible animations and sounds can be found in these machines. They make American slot machines seem like early 1990’s kids toys.


Maruhan is a big chain of pachinko parlors. I prefer it because the one near me is no smoking and the floors are carpeted so it’s a little quieter inside (I’m not sure if all the Maruhan locations are smoke free though).

Maruhan (multiple locations) #pachinko

+For the uninitiated, the game of pachinko is a cunning combination of a pinball machine and a slots game. The way it works is simple. To play you need to convert your money into a number of large silver ball bearings – very similar to the ones used in pinball machines.

These are then fed into the pachinko machine where, with luck, they are caught within the numerous traps on the board, each one earning you a different level of reward.JapanTravel

+Here’s the trick: the amount you twist controls the speed at which the balls shoot out the top. Tiny adjustments change the ball’s path as it bounces down through the pins. Your job is to find a sweet spot where the balls jump consistently into that little hole at the bottom.Japan Today

+The object of the game, in the most simplistic terms, was to fire balls that will then fall through a maze of metal pins. Try to capture as many balls as possible in the center hole, which will then allow you to play a virtual slot machine and increase the potential of releasing more tiny balls directly into your winnings basket.Bucket List Journey

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