Japanese Claw Machines

📍 Tokyo & Osaka, Japan

Claw machines are very very common in Japan.
& Unlike in some countries, you can actually win stuff!!

A popular gaming arcade company that we frequented was TAITO Station. They have a bright red colour along with a huge space invader icon as their signs – it’s hard to miss!
Besides claw machines, they also have arcade games, gachapon, and gambling games such as the coin pusher, horse racing, etc. On higher levels, they also have purikura which is Japanese photo booth. Taito Station usually takes up a huge chunk of levels in the same building together, at least from what I noticed.

Wanting to win a plushie from a Japanese claw machine was one of my goals! But even if I didn’t win, I didn’t mind because I had gained a new experience.

There were so many claw machines, it’s actually a mix of wowzah and claw machine heaven. So many machines to choose from, but pick your machine what you want to win! Besides plushies, there was merchandise of anime(s)/manga(s) like figmas, blankets, pouches. Though I mostly saw plushies and figmas as prizes.

Tokyo, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Tips and Tricks - helloteri
Take your pick!

Here is one of the Rilakkuma claw machine that they have at this location.
After many many tries and trying to strategically get the plushie to drop, I got my Rilakkuma!! Although, the one I wanted was Korilakkuma and I was under the impression that you could switch the plushies but I shall explain that later in this post.

Tokyo and Osaka, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Rilakkuma & Korilakkuma - helloteri
Rilakkuma & Korilakkuma

Came back on another day and Taito Station recently put this Agumon (from Digimon) one up, and managed to snag this little guy home as well!

Tokyo and Osaka, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Agumon from Digimon - helloteri
Agumon from Digimon
Tokyo and Osaka, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Pokemon Pikachu and Pichu plushies - helloteri
Pokemon Pikachu and Pichu plushies


In Osaka, I stumbled upon this coin pouch one and I did it on a spur of the moment. And I managed to get the Rilakkuma coin pouch on my first try!!
I was sooo happy, it was an achievement unlocked moment.

Tokyo and Osaka, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Assorted Coin Pouches - helloteri
Assorted Coin Pouches
Tokyo and Osaka, Japan - All you need to know about Japanese Claw Machines - Rilakkuma Coin Pouch - Assorted Coin Pouches - helloteri
With my Rilakkuma coin pouch!


Tips + More on Claw Machines in Japan:

  • There are money changers within the premises and sometimes you have options to choose how you would like your coins to be, for example: 5 ¥100 coins or 1 ¥500 coin. It also depends on how much money you put in, some machines don’t take huge bills but generally, most of them take ¥1,000 or ¥5,000 note.
  • Most machines take ¥100 as the play options are 1 try for ¥100, or 6 tries for ¥500. It really depends on the machine, so you’d have to read it as these were the ones I saw/remember.
  • If you haven’t played claw machines before, you’ll know this now: The buttons to move the claw can only be pressed once! So once you let go, you can’t move that direction anymore. Usually, they’ll specify which direction first, with a number sign on the arrow. The directions are usually left or right, and then forward/up.
    • PS: There are many different mechanics for each machine, you just have to keep an eye out.
  • As I’ve mentioned earlier about exchanging prizes, at Taito Station, some machines have a sticker that specifically says (in English) that prizes are not allowed to be exchanged. So if I wanted a specific item and it wasn’t the one being displayed, I would have to ask an employee to switch the toy/item for me before attempting to snag it.
  • You can ask an employee to help you out with the item you want to win! I’ve heard about this happening but I’ve actually experienced it for myself! He was nice enough to re-position my Rilakkuma to be easier and gave tips on how to win the plushie.
    • Obviously, you can’t do this before even playing as the employees walk about and keep track of things…
  • If you don’t see an item being displayed to grab, you can ask an employee to put one in. Should you want a specific plushie or item, the employees are usually nice enough to place it (never had a bad experience). The item being gone just simply means that the person before you had won the item.
  • I really highly recommend this but bring a set amount of money before playing. Claw machines are highly addictive, almost like gambling and you may find your wallet empty in no time.
  • If you don’t see anything you like, you can check back after a few days as they might have switched the goodies around. I think they do it pretty often too.
  • Sometimes you’ll hear girls screaming too, don’t worry about it – that just means that they won something. Because I screamed when I got my prizes too, hahaha.

This is what I know about claw machines after visiting there a couple of times! I hope this information might help you before you go and attempt some claw catching!

Till next time, ♥



  1. September 9, 2016 / 12:52 PM

    Everything is sooooo cute! I want one of those Pikachus omg

    • helloteri
      September 9, 2016 / 6:54 PM

      My love for Rilakkuma was stronger than Pikachu hahah, but they were all so cute!!

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