KARAOKE IN JAPAN
Japan's cities are covered with numerous karaoke shops open all hours of the day and night. Whether it is a Sunday afternoon or 3 a.m., chances are you can find a karaoke shop open. There are a number of branded shops such as King of System and Big Echo with similar rates, song choices, and other offerings.
Renting a Room
When you visit a karaoke shop, they will ask how many people and for how long do you want to stay. There are themed rooms and larger rooms available for extra fees at some locations. Standard rooms will have a television screen, a karaoke machine with touch screen, seating, two microphones, and a table to place drinks and food. There is a phone in the room to call for a drink or food order as well as extend your time. Do not expect the person on the other end to speak English. Karaoke shops can get quite busy on the weekends; especially in the evenings.
Karaoke is charged by 30 minute and 1 hour blocks of time. The weekday rates are generally half the cost of weekend rates. There are unlimited time options available during certain non-peak hours (usually very late at night). Some shops will charge very high premiums on weekend peak hours. Expect to pay around $2 to $3 per half hour per person (not per room) during weekdays and $4 to $6 per half hour per person on the weekends. Depending on the time, shops may require a drink purchase per person to get a room.
Drink and Food Options
You can purchase unlimited drink packages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for your rental time. Prices are per person and vary depending on the packages and time of room rental. You may also purchase individual beverages as well. Food options are available at some locations. You can place orders with the room rental or later from the phone in the room. Don't forget to ask for drink refills as time flies fast during karaoke.
The karaoke machine has an English option for selecting songs on a touch screen. You can search by artist, category, song name, and other search filters. The library of songs is massive. There are plenty of Japanese and American songs to sing. The variety of music genres is also impressive. You will find everything from the disco era, classic rock, modern pop, electronic dance music, and much more. The issue is more about having a limited time to sing your favorite songs versus finding them.
Karaoke is a great activity for small groups or even just the experience. While it can get quite expensive when going on the weekend and including a drink package, it is a worthwhile experience. Definitely take an opportunity to try it out on a future trip.
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