Trading Cash for Tokens???

10 Jun

After our days travel, we got back to the hotel and were anxious to do something. So Mike, Andy, Tiffany, and I decided to wander around Tokyo to find a place to play Pachinko and hopefully win some money. According to, “Pachinko is a mixture of slot machine and pinball.” We found a huge arcade that had almost every game imaginable, including Pachinko and slot machines.

So I went to exchange 1000 yen (about $10) for what I thought would be change, but instead the machine spit out tokens. I didn’t anything of it, I just thought maybe I would have to trade them in later for actual money. I went to a machine and started playing, and as I looked down, I noticed someone had left a cup full of tokens. I felt like I hit the jackpot already!!! I was so excited, I now had all of these tokens to play with. As I was getting in my zone and playing well, Andy (or was it Mike?), much to all of our surprise we could not trade in our tokens for cash value, nor could we get our money back if we had already exchanged our money for the tokens. We were all bummed because we could have all used the extra spending money, but we laughed it off a few minutes later. We played a bunch of other games, found out Andy was a dancing machine, and finally figured out how to take Photobooth pics. It was honestly a good time!!!

The next day we had a meeting at Futurescope, and coincidentally the company was doing a presentation on mobile phone use and Pachinko. He informed us of the Japanese law that prohibits gambling and the whole time I was thinking, “too little too late”. We could have definitely used this info. the day before.

After doing some research for this post, I discovered there is a way to get actually getting money for your wins. According to, “But you can also bypass the law that prohibits gambling in Japan by exchanging the balls first into some special goods and then exchange them for cash at a small window just outside the parlor.” I think even if I had known this before playing Pachinko, I probably still wouldn’t have tried to cash in my winnings…just sounds a little sketchy to me.


One Response to “Trading Cash for Tokens???”

  1. Andrew Beaver June 11, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    Yea, I thought with the popularity of pachinko that it was a gambling thing for sure, but alas, it’s apparently just so fun that the Japanese will play it anyway (as shown by the success of the FutureScope pachinko game). Also, I agree with you in that the law bypassing way sounded waaaay too sketchy for my tastes.

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