Everyday UFO Catcher Amusement, a crane game center in Gyoda City Saitama Prefecture, claims to hold the world record for the most crane games in one store. Tripadvisor says that it is a Guinness World Record, but the official website does not claim it as a “Guinness Record”. Moreover, the actual official Guinness World records attribute the award to Apina Kitakan in Miyagi prefecture. Which has a whopping 515 crane games in their store. Meanwhile, Everyday UFO only has around 300. I don’t know how they get away with claiming they are the world leader, when evidently they are not. And it is also a bone of contention with many people who went out of their way to visit the store.
Crane game culture Japan
For the record, I am no expert on crane games by any means. I try not to play them actually, because I do find them quite addictive once I get started! But they are hard to avoid in Japan. Plus, I’ll fess up easily; I do find them very exciting. I remember the very first time I played one in a hotel in Minakami many moons ago. But I had beginner’s luck and secured a teddy bear on my very first go. So then before I knew it I had put around a hundred euro into the machines and walked away with eight teddy bears worth about forty euro!
There are crane games, or UFO catchers as they are called in Japan, everywhere in Japan. Even the local supermarkets tend to have a corner with a few. Visiting an arcade to play the crane games during school holidays is really popular with kids and families. People hone their skills and get to know which machines are the easiest to win. But they still must spend a fortune. My own kids love to play them too, given a chance. The coolest thing they ever won was a pink skateboard worth 15000 yen. Even better still, my daughter won it for just 500 yen or two plays. Machines that have expensive prizes in them are more expensive to play and more difficult to win.
Everyday UFO Catcher
I had no particular interest in visiting Everyday UFO Catcher. But on one of our trips to Gyoda City in 2021, due to traffic on our usual route, Google maps directed us to use a route that passed by this store. And (unfortunately) we got stuck at a red light by the game center. Well, my kids eyes instantly honed in on the “most crane games in the world” advertisements plastered all over the building. Later in the year, when my middle daughter’s birthday came around, she said all she wanted for her birthday was to visit the world’s largest crane game center! Her birthday wish came true. Thankfully she won something, but not as easily as at the UFO catchers at Peony Walk. I think the UFO catchers at Round1 in Ageo are also easier than the ones in Everyday.
Everyday UFO Catcher may not be the largest, but it is probably the most famous among English speakers. This arcade has featured on countless English language Youtube and social media videos all over the world. And it is not just on English language Youtube videos, within Japan there are hundreds of videos about the location. Moreover, it has featured on numerous TV programs.
Don’t believe the hype?
Initially the hype about the place was all very positive. But as more and more people visited the location and realized that it was just “hype”, the reviews became more and more negative. Not only is it being the largest ‘fake news’, they also make several other false claims. For example, the one that irks me most, “the easiest catches in the world”! However, it is not all bad! And with winter holidays on the way, it might be of interest to those who want to entertain the kids for a couple of hours on a rainy day. Furthermore, there is a lot of good to be said for this crane game arcade too…
Large crane game arcade
The store might not have the most crane games in the world, but with approximately 300 crane games in the one location, it is definitely on the larger size. Furthermore, the building is quite spacious spread out over two floors. They do have a good choice of prizes. They claim that they have the “largest amount of prizes in the world”. I have no idea if that is true, but they do have a large selection. They have plenty of character goods, technology goods, toys, household goods and even food. Moreover, there is a crane game with real natural gemstones.
What I did like, in particular, about this store is that they have some machines on the second floor that are easy to get a prize from and only cost 100 yen for five plays. The prizes are really small, like candy or fake jewels, but at least you can ensure a child walks away with something. Also, they have some free events for the kids on the second floor too. I really liked the cool photo props too! For example, you can be a human prize in a giant crane game! To be honest, having read many bad reports about it online, I wasn’t expecting much. So I was actually pleasantly surprised. However, one last gripe: they say on their English website that their staff are “Crane Game Advisors” certified by the Japan Crane Game Association and that they are trained to help. This was not my experience.
|Address:||644-1 Shimooshi, Gyoda, Saitama 361-0037|
|Hours:||Midday to midnight on weekdays|
10 am to midnight on Saturday
10 am to 11 pm on Sunday
|Cost:||On average 100 yen for one play. Machines with expensive prizes cost about 300 yen for one play. The cheapest machines cost 100 yen for five plays.|
|Access:||Everyday is located on route 17 at the intersection of route 66. Parking is free and plentiful, but they get so much business its not unusual to have to wait for a parking spot during holiday periods or weekends.|
By public transport; its about a 35 minute walk from Gyodashi station.
|Online:||Official English language website |
Official Chinese language website
Main Japanese site
|In the area:||▶Mustard Seed: an old train carriage converted into a Railway Restaurant|
▶Cherry Blossoms at Sakitama Kofun Park
▶Sakitama Shrine | GYODA