Pachinko — the most famous Japanese gambling game

Though gambling is often linked more with Western culture, it is enjoyed around the world. Not only that but there are different countries with their own gambling history and popular games. Japan is one of these countries. They have their own hugely popular game, Pachinko, which we will discuss right here.

What is Pachinko?

Pachinko is a Japanese game that’s available both as a recreational arcade-style game as well as for gambling. Pachinko games actually resemble games found in traditional Western casinos — in fact, they look very similar to slot games.

These games can be found throughout Japan. There are numerous Pachinko parlours that will also feature a variety of slot games or Pachislo games as well. In fact, these venues now look more like casino venues than ever before. On top of that, modern Pachinko games are now customizable too, meaning these games offer even more fun.

What Does Pachinko Mean?

What’s fun about this, is that the name is actually derived from the sound the game makes. Pachin is considered to be the sound of these land-based versions of the game. The ‘ko’ added at the end simply means ‘small, or little’. As such, the game name is simply a descriptor of the way the game looks.

Additionally, the name is linked to ‘pachi pachi’ which is the sound of clapping hands, but also the sound of a firework explosion.

How to play Pachinko

Pachinko is actually a very straightforward game to play. When you sit at the machine, you simply have to put in the money on the left side. Once this is done, the game will be activated, just like any other arcade game. Press ‘play’ and the game will begin.

As the player, all you need to do is hold down the button to release the balls. You will need to keep holding that button down so that the balls shoot out. However, you will need to aim the balls to the top left corner of the board.

Different games have varying additional features though. Many Pachinko games have bonuses and jackpots to claim too. When playing these versions of the game you will need to have other strategies in place. For instance, some games should be played with the dial on medium, while others will need you to shoot the balls at full strength.

The aim is for as many balls as possible to land in the catchers that are placed throughout the machine. When a ball lands in the catcher, this will trigger a payout or a prize.

Can You Play Pachinko on the Internet?

It will come as no surprise to learn that Pachinko has made its way to the online format. Even better, just like slot games, there are numerous Pachinko games available for free online too. However, they do mostly cater to the Asian market and are not as commonly found at Western online casinos. Sites such as lists gambling sites tailored to the Japanese.

Playing Pachinko online is the same as playing it in a parlour though. Similarly, there are different rules for the different games, which does mean you will need to check out the specifics before playing.

Pachinko Prizes

There are a wide range of different prizes you can win when you play Pachinko. For instance, it’s possible to win cash prizes. If you want to do this, you will need to exchange your Pachinko balls for tokens. But you can get other prizes too. You can actually win fun prizes such as watches, pens, lighters and more. Some of the bigger prizes that have recently been added include TVs, bicycles, and even small gold ingots.


Pachinko is an exciting game that’s reminiscent of a pinball machine. However, unlike pinball, there’s a chance to win prizes. If you can get those balls to land, then you can go home with some cash or even some substantial prizes. While it’s not so mainstream for westerners just yet, if you head over to Japan, it’s worth checking out a Pachinko parlour for some fun.

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