The Japanese may be workaholics but they also like to get out and about and have some fun. Evidence of this can be found throughout Tokyo where you will find countless game centres to enjoy arcade games and sports for nominal fees. One such place is the Ikebukuro Batting Centre which is about a five minute walk from Ikebukuro station, right next to Sunshine City.
It is located on the roof-top of a seven-story building, there are around seven batting cages as well as one pitching cage, ping-pong tables, a basketball shooting game and a variety of other arcade games.
For each variation of amusement, there is a coin slot to pop in a couple of 100 yen and play away. Machines inside will change 1000, 5000 or 10,000 yen notes or if you’re unsure of anything ask for help at the information desk.
The batting cages range in speeds from 90km/h to 130km/h which can’t be adjusted, so be sure to check the speed which is noted on a sign outside the door to each cage. We made the mistake of going straight to the 130km/h pitcher which left us in a daze as the balls fired out of the opposite wall in a blur.
Like the majority of batting cages, the pitcher is complete with a video hologram projected on the wall to add to the experience. Each cage comes complete with helmet and a choice of a small or large bat and costs 300 yen for 20 balls.
The balls will start firing soon after you’ve inserted the money so make sure you’re ready to try your best to hit a home run. They will fire automatically every five seconds or so up until the last pitch, you’ll know it’s over when the balls stop firing.
If you’re a beginner, we’d recommend starting at 90km/h and working your way up, definitely don’t go straight to the 130km/h cage like we did. The place closes at 11pm so it’s the perfect after work activity to release any stress, otherwise it’s a good way to spend a leisurely hour or two on the weekend or in the holidays.