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.
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.
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.
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.