Photo By: Claire Heginbotham
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Yokohama
Population
8,489,932

Secret Retro Base

Tired of temples? Go to this secret games base in Kamakura and get your Mario Bros. on.

Visiting Kamakura is a delight for those interested in temples, street food and seaside activities. However, sometimes one’s inner nerd must be satisfied by a different sort of culture. With perseverance and just the right amount of know-how, you could land yourself in retro gaming heaven in this tourist-friendly area an hour (-ish) outside of Tokyo.

A store called the Secret Retro Base is an old-school games shop, a miniature version of the giant game centers you can find in Akihabara. Laid out in one big room, the shop can accommodate up to three separate groups, with a total of eight people playing simultaneously.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham A cute space in Kamakura.

The consoles up for grabs are the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Nintendo Super Famicom Entertainment System (commonly known as the SNES). Both consoles are complemented by an impressive array of games to choose from. Whether you spend your time trying to decipher some of the “Japan only” games or the more international titles is up to you. If you ask, the all-knowing owner will help you out, teaching you the basic mechanics of any game and roughly translating some of the directions.

Some of the classic games include Space Invaders, Mario Cart, Super Mario, Donkey Kong and Street Fighter. Zelda’s existence at this time cannot be confirmed or denied, so you’ll have to go search for it yourself.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham Lots of old school games.

Not only are there video games but there are also a variety of board games to play. A few are English classics and others are uniquely Japanese, tending to be strategic and complicated. For those dragged along by their 16-bit-obsessed friend, there are plenty historical picture books to page through.

Hase-dera Temple

The owner maintains a small snack bar, populated with cheap, sugary goodness. You can try the classic drink of Ramune, which is sold in a glass bottle with a ball that drops into the neck when opened. It is a Japanese drink that is featured in many anime. You are allowed to bring in your own drinks (alcohol included) and food if you wish, so stock up at a convenience store if you plan on staying long.

If you would like to make a reservation or inquiry, you can do so by adding Secret Base (秘密基地 やこぜん) as a friend on Facebook.

Check out more anime and manga tourism in Japan.

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Trivia

Hase-dera Temple

From caves, to ocean views, to grand statues, this Kamakura temple is worth much more than just a quick look.

More

Things To Know

Hours

Opening hours are from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fees

It costs ¥500 and you can stay there as long as you like within the opening hours.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒248-0023 Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Gokurakuji, 2 Chome−1−18, 極楽荘

By train

The games store is a short walk from Gokurakuji station.  Take the  Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) to Gokurakuji.

By foot

Step 1: Exit the station and turn immediately left up the gentle hill.

Step 2: Walk for 2 minutes, following the curve of the road.

Step 3: Next to a curios shop, there are stairs with a few odd little figurines on them. Walk up those stairs, take your first left.

Step 4: You should now be standing at a door, turn the knob to experience gaming heaven!

Step 5: If this is all too much for you, simply follow google to this location:

Where To Stay

Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji
  • Sakanoshita 28-7 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0021
  • 9.3/10
  • 0.3 km
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Guesthouse Kamakura Rakuan
  • Sakanoshita 16-11 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0021
  • 8.5/10
  • 0.4 km
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IZA Kamakura Guest House and Bar
  • Sakanoshita 11-7 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0021
  • 8.1/10
  • 0.4 km
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Traditional Japanese House Near Sea
  • Gokurakuji 3-14-21 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0023
  • 6/10
  • 0.4 km
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