Get your karaoke playlist ready
Do you like to sing? Does the idea of singing in front of a bunch of strangers terrify you? We found the answer in Japan – Karaoke Box!
Private Karaoke Rooms
Karaoke Box is where you rent a private room in 30-minute increments. Each (relatively soundproof) room is set up with a karaoke machine, quality speakers, two microphones, a table, seating, etc. Basically, you are set up with everything you need to sing to your heart’s content. Room size varies depending on how large your group is, and some karaoke box facilities have as many as 50-60 rooms!
Woopy Karaoke – Kyoto, Japan
While staying in Kyoto, we spent a lot of time in the Fushimi Sake District (click here for a related post about an awesome sake tour we went on). As it turns out, the karaoke place recommended by our AirBnb host was in that same area and was within walking distance of our accommodation. It is called Woopy Karaoke.
Fill out a Form
When we went in the first time, we were asked to fill out a piece of paper with our name, number of people, and how long we wanted the room. All of this was quick and relatively painless with significant help from the Google Translate app.
The cost during non-peak hours was 200 JPY (around $1.77 USD) per person, per half hour. We opted for one hour. This place also required that you order one drink per person. We ordered a pitcher of beer for 1,560 JPY (around $13.84). Note that the drink does not have to be alcoholic.
Time Flies By
In each room is a tablet that allows you to choose your song, change the key/tempo, adjust music and microphone levels, tweak the echo effect on your voice, and change the overall level of the sound in the room.
The karaoke system used was called JoySound, which had a very good selection of English songs. You would be hard-pressed to not find something you like – oldies, country, R&B, rock, rap, etc. The problem is, if you don’t already know what songs you want to sing, your time gets eaten up very quickly just searching for music.
Bring a list of music with you!
Ten Minute Warning
Before we knew it, the ten minute warning buzzer went off. What, already?! So we went to the counter and extended for another hour….and perhaps ordered another pitcher of beer (liquid courage).
It is VERY fun.
After hour two, we opted for one more hour much to the amusement of the two employees that were working with us!
We Became Regulars
A few days later we went back. The same two employees were there. After a lot of pointing, sign language, and the Google Translate app, our discussion revealed that there is a discount card that we could sign up for. The discount card was free and saved us 15%!
Apparently, they could see the addiction in our eyes.
The third time we went (which was the day after the second time) we had some technology issues…the tablets died out on us so we had to use some older style interfaces. The two employees were very sweet and provided us with three 500 JPY discount coupons for future use.
Although we were leaving Kyoto for Nara the next morning and wouldn’t be able to use them, this once again showed how hospitable and kind we have found the Japanese people to be during our visit here (click here for a related blog post).
Look at the tablet history and top song lists to get ideas of other songs to sing.
Jumbo Karaoke – Nara, Japan
Once we arrived in Nara we were very happy to see that there was a box karaoke place within a 10 minute walk from our AirBnB. This one, called Jumbo Karaoke, also used the JoySound system so all of the song options were the same.
Jumbo Karaoke was 210 JPY (around $1.86 USD) per person, per half hour, again during non-peak hours. However, this one did not require a drink or food order, and the 210 JPY included unlimited non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, sodas, water, etc.). Excellent!
This meant that two hours of karaoke bliss, including drinks, was less that $15 total!
Warning – Singing in Action!
We won’t get in to details about how many times we have done karaoke here in Japan. Suffice it to say that the staff at the second karaoke place also now know us. Similar to the Japanese toilet seats (click here for our related blog post) we have already started exploring home karaoke units.
If you like to sing in your car or shower and have a secret desire to perform karaoke, but aren’t quite ready for the stage, then you must give karaoke box a try if you ever visit Japan!
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