Do you love music? Have a favorite song that you can’t get out of your head? Want to relieve a bit of frustration about your friend who ate the last piece of cake without asking? Then why not get it all out by going in and belting out all of your favorite songs at karaoke? Japan is one of the best places to go to karaoke for, all within a reasonable price might I add when compared to other countries. It’s time to compare and find out which has some of the best deals.
Singing to Your Heart’s Content. Karaoke in Japan!
Let this hard-core karaoke addict guide you through your karaoke journey.
<I could make a whole other blog on karaoke bars, but for now, let’s stick to karaoke franchise companies that are popular in Japan.>
Options for Karaoke
If you go to karaoke often, then you know you have two options to choose from when it comes to karaoke box options. DAM or JOYSOUND.
There are noticeable differences between the two when it comes to the equipment, songs, music videos, and options to affect your voice on the karaoke machines.
Personally, I’m a fan of going to DAM now that I’ve been using it almost weekly for the last three years. On the other hand, prior to that, I swore to only use JOYSOUND because I thought that the microphone options made my voice sound better. Now that I’m used to DAM’s equipment and microphone, I think my voice sounds great with it as well.
One thing that I love about JOYSOUND is that it’s very easy to navigate and it offers the option for English speakers to attempt Japanese pop music or anime songs with romaji (English pronunciation of the Japanese word). That option isn’t available with DAM music. So if you’re hoping to at least try popular Japanese music even though you don’t know any Japanese at all, your best bet is to go to JOYSOUND where you can read the romaji that hovers above the top of the kanji. The songs are also really easy to navigate as there’s a section clearly marked for English songs that you can choose from. It’s extremely foreign-friendly. 🙂
DAM’s equipment is great because it allows you to do so many different options with your voice. You can alter it to sound like a man’s as you sing into the microphone, sound like an alien, or even do a duet as it allows you to sing with a woman/man over laying with your voice. (The girls and I love to use it when we sing I’ll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan haha)
Additionally, the backup vocals that come with most of their songs really make it worthwhile as it feels like you’re giving a concert and singing your best!
The song options are also great, especially if you’re into music from America and the UK. Both karaoke machines offer English music, but I feel that there’s a wider variety when it comes to DAM’s music. So if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to sing goodies like Paramore, Panic at the Disco, or even go further back to Madonna and ABBA, don’t hesitate to go here as they’ll probably have the song you want. To make it even better, they don’t just have sections for English songs. They have a section where you can choose Chinese, Korean, or Philippine songs and you can search for them in those languages.
So…..Which Is Best?
Overall, both are great karaoke machines to use, it’s just a matter of finding which one has the most songs that you like and then going from there. I personally mostly go to karaoke because it’s how I practice Japanese and learn new words/phrases, so I often choose DAM as they have more of the songs that I like WITH the music videos, like Utada Hikaru, Ayumi Hamasaki, Chanmina, Ado, and more. But I also choose which one I go to based on if I’m going alone or depending on the friend group I go with. Either way, by yourself, or with friends, it’s a very fun time.
Both JOYSOUND and DAM have apps that allow you to easily connect your phone to the receiving device and search for music on the app so that you can send it to the receiver. It’s so easy to do and it’s a lot of fun to have your screen name pop up with your own little character as the song you select gets added to the queue. Whenever my friends see me pull out my phone and send my selection to the screen, they say I’m a pro/veteran when it comes to karaoke. I recommend downloading the app because it also lets other people search on the handheld receiver while you use your phone.
Just a few notes on things you should keep in mind when you are booking a reservation or just walking in.
Of course, the weekends are extremely busy as most people have free time to let out their stresses and frustrations through singing. If you can, I think the best time to go is in the afternoon on a weekday when everyone is at work or school because it’s also cheaper when you go before 7 PM for most places.
Unfortunately, if you’re in popularly frequented areas, it’s going to be more expensive. Going to karaoke around Umeda can be quite difficult sometimes and I almost never go at night time due to the prices being expensive. If you go to areas that are nearby, like Juso or Minamigata, it’ll be cheaper than what you would pay in Umeda for the same time and day that you go.
Always keep a lookout for discounts and specials. I cannot stress this enough. As someone who goes to karaoke about two or three times weekly, I have mastered trying to capitalize on any specials or discounts that I can find haha. For example, if you become LINE friends with some karaoke places they’ll send you discounts or some percentage off when you apply to be friends.
5 Karaoke Places
Jankara is one of the most, if not, the most popular place to go for karaoke. There are so many locations all around Japan and it’s really easy to book a reservation through their app. As long as there aren’t so many people, you can make a reservation 10 minutes before going in for the reservation. They offer both JOYSOUND and DAM at their locations, but it definitely depends on where you go. Not to mention they also offer many different drinks for you to try, both soft drinks and alcoholic drinks (soft drinks are free). Make sure to check the area you’re in because their prices vary depending on if you’re in a busy city or not.
One of the best things about this is that if you have the app and show your membership QR code every time you go, you get a mini discount for being a member. So make sure to download the app!
(Just so you can see how big of a difference the time makes, I’ve attached two pictures of the prices for one of the Jankara’s around Umeda)
<I put it for three hours for one person in the afternoon compared to in the evening>
Big Echo isn’t a personal favorite of mine as the prices are a bit expensive. After going to the places I listed below, you’ll see how paying so much for a couple of hours seems a bit unreasonable to me. While I’m not the biggest fan, they do have good service and you can also make a reservation online or on your phone, so those are some good points about it. They also have coupons that you can easily access on their website, so that’s a big plus.
I’ve only been to Round1’s karaoke booth once. I recommend it if you’re already paying for a full-day pass to explore around Round1. It certainly isn’t worth it if you’re just going to Round1 only for the karaoke. If it’s included in your package of fun, I would do it just to experience it at least once. Other than that, it’s just a regular karaoke place that’s a bit overpriced.
Now time for my favorite places where you will get more bang for your buck.
I recently became a fan of this karaoke place just last year. There aren’t so many of these around unfortunately, but the prices are so good! You can basically spend 7+ hours in karaoke with free drinks for ¥1500. If that doesn’t sound like a deal, I don’t know what does! It depends on the time you go, but if you go from morning time until 7 PM, it’s a bit cheaper than the ¥1500 for their free time service. The ¥1500 free time choice is from 7 PM until closing (depending on the day, that can be until 1AM!). This is definitely one of the best places you can go!
I don’t think there are many Comic Buster‘s around, but this is one of my go-to places. They have different packages available and it’s very easy to make a membership. All you have to pay is a one-time fee for the card (but they have an <free> app now, so you may not need the handheld card anymore), after that you can start using a point card to get rewards and eventually get ¥500 discount off of the overall price. (Also using PayPay gets you rewards when you pay using the PayPay app)
Whenever I’m in Tanabe for work, that’s my go-to place most of the time as they have an all-you-can-drink free service with some of the yummiest ice cream and hot chocolate for only ¥1320 for their three hour package. (Plus I go there so often that they send me a New Year’s card with a ¥500 discount)
Perform Your Karaoke Concert!
Now that you learned a bit about some of the karaoke places, I hope you can go to a place that suits your musical needs and that allows you to sing out to your heart’s content. Please make sure to keep everything I said in the back of your mind when you’re deciding so you can get your money’s worth while also having a great time. Since I go to karaoke so often, don’t be surprised if you hear me singing crazy songs in the booth next to you haha.
Enjoy your singing adventures!