A Guide to Karaoke in Japan featuring the Most Popular Chains

When you think of  karaoke, maybe you picture a single spotlight on a stage, groups of friends gathered on barstools trying to convince some unlucky member to go up and sing their heart out in front of a bar full of strangers. In places like the US, karaoke is a public affair, in which it’s almost guaranteed someone will sing a Journey song (and at least one person will be wearing a cowboy hat). But karaoke in Japan is an entirely different thing.

Karaoke is all about creating an intimate atmosphere with friends, family or co-workers, and enjoying music alongside food and drink. (And for some people, karaoke is done completely alone). When you come to karaoke in Japan, you rent a private room for a set amount of hours, often with some sort of soft drink or alcohol all you can drink bar. These kinds of facilities, popular across Asia, are referred to as ‘boxes,’ or KTVs.

Renting and Using Karaoke: the Basics

  • Decide Rental Time, Number in Party
  • Complete Registration
  • Select Drink Plan and Room

When you first enter karaoke, there will be a reception desk where you will be asked the number of people in your party and the amount of time you will be renting your box. One thing to keep in mind, is that by opting for the Free Time option which offers unlimited time (in many cases this plan comes with the unlimited soft drink bar as a free add on too) you  get great value compared to renting by the individual half hour and extending your time.  After making your basic selection, you will be asked to make a members card. Registration requires a valid phone number for contact and an address in Japan. (Many places will not be very strict with the address being your permanent address.) Even if it is optional, make sure to register in order to get the discounted rates.

Photo Credit: https://jmty.jp/saitama/sale-oth/article-258rn

From there, you’ll select your room. There are variety of designs and karaoke machines. The front staff will help you figure out which machine in best based on factors such as the selection of Western songs or the current top pop hits. Finally, an essential for staying hydrated as you belt out your favorite tunes with friends is the selection of the drink plan. Most places will offer ‘drink bar,’ which includes unlimited drinks for the entirety of your rental, and will require a minimum one-drink order. Non-alcohol and alcohol options are both available, though you will have make a call to the front staff to order alcohol.

After being shown to your room, you’ll find your basic karaoke setup: a large TV monitor where the lyrics for your song will be displayed over background music videos. (Get ready for 90s fashion and charmingly awkward situations)

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Photo Credit: https://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ001027709/

There will be 2 or more microphones in every room, and at least one tablet-sized remote control panel for adding songs to your lineup and ordering food and drink.

Photo Credit: https://shop.r10s.jp/19box/cabinet/2013-11/tm10.jpg

Rooms also come with accompanying musical instruments such as maracas or tambourines for jamming alongside the music. Multicolored lights with dimmers are there to set the mood, and each room has a telephone anchored to the wall for contacting the front staff.

For visitors who don’t speak Japanese, karaoke always has plenty of English language songs. You just might need to change your display language before you get started. As shown in the photo above, the remote is pretty user friendly and usually includes pictures for guidance, but in case the language button isn’t available in English, look for and select the following characters: 言語 (gengo)

Popular Commercial Karaoke Chains

So now you know how to karaoke, but let’s take a moment to talk about where to go. We gathered the top commercial karaoke chains to offer you a service and price comparison based central locations.

1. Karaoke-kan

Photo Credit: http://shop.jiyugaoka.net/karaokekan

Easily recognizable for its bright blue lights and red lettering, Karaoke-kan is one of the most popular and ubiquitous karaoke chains in the Tokyo area and the surrounding regions. With some chains offering customers the option of singing while cos-playing, the chain is especially popular for high school and college students. The chain’s concept is ‘simple luxury’ which manifests in the bright design of the foyer and the chic selection of rooms. Check out the weekday day rates for affordable prices across locations.

Karaoke-kan Rates (Shibuya location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

Mon-Thursday Before 19:00

90円

30 Min. Rate

Sat-Sunday, National Holidays Before 19:00

130円

30 Min. Rate

Mon-Thursday After 19:00

400円

30 Min. Rate

Fri-Sunday, National Holidays After 19:00

490円

Free Time

Sunday-Thursday  

23:00~5:00

1,490円

Free Time

Friday-Saturday, National Holiday

23:00~5:00

1,990円

Offficial Site: http://karaokekan.jp/index.html

2. Big Echo 

Photo Credit: https://page.line.me/pti7037o

Big Echo has a number of brands under its larger parent company. Within the brand itself, the romanized Version (Big Echo) and the katakana version (ビッグエコー) offer different levels of service, with Big Echo targeting a more mature audience with its step-above options in food and drink. An interesting feature of the Big Echo brand is its ever-changing line-up of collaborations. For example, with the recent release of the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, 3 locations across the country opened special rooms redesigned with photos of Queen from their tours in Japan. And customers can enjoy 5 specially remastered Queen songs complete with live concert footage at all locations. Specialty rooms will be available until February 28th. For those in Tokyo, head over to or call the Ginza location to reserve the room.

Big Echo Rates (Shibuya eki-mae location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

Before 19:00

180円

30 Min. Rate

Before 19:00

400円

30 Min.  Rate

After 19:00

240円

30 Min. Rate

After 19:00

490円

Free Time (3-Hour Plan)

Before 19:00

900円

Free Time (3-Hour Plan)

Before 19:00

1574円

Free Time (Unlimited)

Sunday-Thursday 

23:00~

1520円

Free Time (Unlimited)

Friday-Saturday, National Holiday

24:00~

2490円

Official English Site: https://big-echo.jp/welcome-big-echo/

3. Karaoke No Tetsujin (Shibuya Center Gai Location Rates)

Photo Credit: https://matome.naver.jp/odai/2142346214049526801/2142352949604490403

For those with a love of the alternative. from Visual Kei, to anime, Karaoke no Tetsujin might be the best place for you to get singing. This chain is known for its enormous catalog that pulls from several different karaoke makers, and the surprising breadth of genre that includes K-POP and the heavily synthesized Vocaloid. Come here to geek out, and if it tickles your fancy, try the free cosplay.

Karaoke No Tetsujin Rates (Shibuya Center Gai Location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

Before 19:00

80円

30 Min. Rate

Before 19:00

180円

30 Min.  Rate

After 19:00

380円

30 Min. Rate

After 19:00

480円

Free Time

11:00-20:00

480円

Free Time

11:00-19:00

1,480円

Free Time

Sunday-Thursday  

23:00~5:00

1,480円

Free Time

Friday-Saturday National Holiday

23:00~5:00

1,980円

Official Site: https://www.karatetsu.com/

4. Shidax (Shinjuku Kabukicho Club)

Photo Credit: http://www.hira2.jp/open/banban-20160927.html

The Shidax company is known for its restaurant karaoke combinations. At Shidax, you can order full course meals and choose from a wide selection of party plans. Their ever revolving menu measn that the food stays interesting. In the middle of your busy travels, coming here is the perfect way to grab a meal at an affordable price and take a breather in your own private space. Also, check out how the Kabukicho branch has the cheapest day rates of any of our featured chains!

Shidax Rates (Shinjuku Kabukicho Location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

Before 18:00

30円

30 Min. Rate

Before 18:00

175円

30 Min.  Rate

Mon-Thursday

After 18:00

400円

30 Min. Rate

Fri-Sunday, National Holidays

After 18:00

475円

Free Time

11:00-18:00

800円

Free Time

Sat-Sunday, National Holiday

11:00-18:00

1,000円

Free Time

Monday-Thursday  

18:00-25:00

1,800円

Free Time

Friday-Saturday National Holiday

18:00-25:00

2,100円

Free Time

Monday-Thursday  

23:00-29:00

1,000円

Free Time

Friday-Saturday National Holiday

23:00-29:00

1,975円

Official Site: https://www.shidax.co.jp/karaoke/

6. Cote D’Azur 

Photo Credit: https://triveransaruku.top/entry/2017/08/25/100034

Cote D’azure offers an attractive space with clean design and drink and food menus with adult customers in mind. Choose from their wide selection of room styles, and order one of their seasonal treats. For the fall offerings, sample hearty fare such as the mushroom cream risotto, or satisfy your sweet tooth with desserts and sides such as the chestnut matcha parfait, or a plate of crispy sweet potato fries with maple syrup drizzle.

Cote D’Azur Rates (Roppongi Location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

Before 18:00

110円

30 Min. Rate

Before 18:00

160円

30 Min.  Rate

Sun-Thursday

After 18:00

380円

30 Min. Rate

Fri-Saturday

After 18:00

460円

Free Time

Open-20:00

500円

Free Time

Sat-Sunday, National Holiday

Open-20:00

800円

Free Time

Monday-Thursday, National Holidays  

18:00-5:00

1720円

Free Time

Friday-Saturday  

18:00-25:00

2,000円

Official Site: https://www.cotedazur.jp/

7. Jankara (Osaka, Dotonbori Branch)

Photo Credit: https://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ001127876/

Of our suggestions, this is the only one that you won’t find in Tokyo. The beloved Osaka Jankara. Jankara has incredibly flexible Free Time plans, with three time windows to help you save money. Weeknight free time is also a steal, as you can get in as early as 19:00. Of all their collaborations, we found their VR experience to be the most unique. Offering 5 feature videos, let the VR experience take you under the seas of Okinawa or to the heights of a speeding roller coaster. This is just one of the many collaborations and quirky rooms you can reserve at Jankara.

Jankara Rates (Osaka, Dotonbori Location, for registered members)

Weekday

Weekend

30 Min. Rate

9:00-19:00

140円

30 Min. Rate

9:00-19:00

190円

30 Min.  Rate

Sun-Thursday

After 19:00

370円

30 Min. Rate

Fri-Sunday, National Holidays

After 18:00

460円

Morning Free Time

6:00-11:00

1,200円

Morning Free Time

6:00-11:00

1,380円

Afternoon Free Time

15:00-21:00

890円

Afternoon Free Time

Sat-Sunday, National Holiday

15:00-21:00

1,360円

Evening Free Time 

Sun-Thursday

19:00-6:00

1,150円

Evening Free Time

Friday-Saturday, National Holidays

(Unlimited)

19:00-6:00

2,070円

Official English Site: https://jankara.ne.jp/en/

Happy Singing, Everyone! 

GetAroundJapan is a travel information website of Japan. We cover different topics from the essential travel tips and the latest news about discount transportation passes to the list of SIM cards sold in the major airports.

GetAroundJapan is a travel information website of Japan. We cover different topics from the essential travel tips and the latest news about discount transportation passes to the list of SIM cards sold in the major airports.
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