Karaoke in Japan: Weird, Fun, and Different Karaoke Concept Shops

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Karaoke in Japan: Weird, Fun, and Different Karaoke Concept Shops

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What is karaoke? The word karaoke is actually a combination of two words. Kara in Japanese means empty, and –oke is short for orchestra. Therefore, karaoke means an empty orchestra. Karaoke is an extremely popular form of entertainment where a karaoke machine plays instrumentals of popular songs and people will sing along as lyrics are displayed on a screen.

Karaoke is popular with all generations in Japan and is an easy place to waste just a couple hours, or to even stay for the night if you’ve missed your last train. Most karaoke shops are open throughout the night, though night prices are generally expensive.

Since karaoke is so popular all over Japan, there are numerous chain stores offering karaoke services. For the most part, the chain stores are similar, but to distinguish their store from other stores they might concentrate on certain concepts to gain a fan base. Most people in Japan have their “favorite karaoke place”. The concepts can be to establish themselves as luxury for those who enjoy extravagance, to be as cheap as possible, to offer good service, etc.

An average karaoke establishment though, will have a few sofas, a karaoke box, and services for foods and drinks. Many often offer cosplay and tambourines that you can use freely. There have been more and more karaoke boxes that have taken concept karaoke boxes to the next level.

Here’s a few of them:



1kara is for those that don’t like to sing in front of others, or for those who want to practice singing professionally. As the name shows, 1kara refers to karaoke for one and are karaoke rooms that are designed for only one customer. The rooms offer headphones and condenser microphones, so you can concentrate on your own singing.

Taking advantage of this karaoke space for one, 1kara also offers the space for those learning English. They offer online English courses within these karaoke boxes if you make a reservation beforehand, so you can concentrate on studying in these karaoke boxes as well.

1kara Website

Train Room

This year in July, a new type of karaoke room opened in Joysound in Shinagawa as a collaboration between Keikyu (a private railroad company) and Joysound that completely reproduces the interior of a train within a karaoke room.

One room offered at this location has projectors on both sides and a drivers seat, so you can feel as if you’re truly steering the train. Within the karaoke songs are even tracks of the train announcements, so you can practice saying the train announcements as well.

The second room is a replication of the inside of the train car with train seats and hold-on straps.

Keikyu Train Room Website

Concept Rooms at Pasela Akihabara Showa-Dori

In Akihabara, is a karaoke store that specializes in concept rooms and is a must for game and anime lovers. The two main types of concept rooms here are the nostalgia rooms and the collaboration rooms.

Collaboration Rooms:

The collaboration rooms are rooms that are made in collaboration with certain games or animes like Monster Hunter, Evangelion, Final Fantasy XIV, etc. They even offer food and drinks that are inspired by the rooms!

Nostalgia Rooms:

The nostalgia rooms are rooms that are designed in Showa period (1926-1989) style. If you want to feel to take a step back in time and experience Japan during the Showa period, try out one of their 4 nostalgia rooms.

Pasela Concept Rooms Website

Foot bath room

How about a nice foot bath while you sing? Fioria Aria Blu, a karaoke establishment specializing in luxury karaoke rooms has just what you need. The bath tub has LED lights so you can truly relax in extravagance while singing your favorite songs.

Fioria Roppongi Website

CoCo Chanel Room

There’s another luxury karaoke room recommended for all those who love the color pink or Chanel. This store is located in Kabukichō, in Shinjuku with the concept of Coco Chanel.

Babel House Website

Did you find any karaoke places you’d like to visit? Although all the karaoke places are fun on their own, these concept karaoke places offer a whole new karaoke experience. Make sure to try them out when you visit Japan!

If you want to find out which karaoke machine model you should use when you visit these shops, check out this article:

Joysound? DAM? Become a Pro and Choose the Perfect Karaoke Machine Model for You!


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Born in US, currently a student in Japan. Loves Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

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