There was something I 110% wanted to try while in Tokyo, other than amazing Raman, it was Purikura. I have a love for photo booths and world wide I have spent more than I care to admit.
Purikura – Print Club
The best ¥400 around £2.70 I spent was on a fun sheet of stickers. These fun photo booths are a little different from the ones found in the Europe and America. They have room for you to stand and take either full body pictures or at least from the waist up. You then get a fixed amount of time to customise your pictures with frames and stickers. A few moments later you get an 6x4in sheet of colourful fun.
Where to find Purikura
These fun and slightly addictive photo booths can be found in a few different places. In Harajuku (原宿), there were whole stores dedicated too these, in other places I found them in amusement arcades, the game centres that are a loud assault on the senses. Some of the them are in dedicated female only areas and other are reserved for couples. The only intimidating thing about using a Purikura is which machine to choose.
How to use a Purikura
Photo booths all work on the same principle, they take a selection of photos and display them on one sheet or strip. These booths though are like a mini photoshoot, either as a group with your friends or just on your own like I did. The more people the cheaper it works out per person.
How am I not super awkward like I am in all my other photos I hear you cry. Well. 5 seconds before taking photos the machines give you poses to copy. No more awkward standing with your arms folded. Think peace signs, hands under your chin all cute and even bunny ears. You don’t have to copy the poses but it really takes the stress out of it all.
The only challenging part of editing your new cute photos is the hundreds of choices. You get to add stickers, stamps, text and your own hand writing to your pictures. The machines come with a high quality touch screen and pen. Along with the “cuteness” you can add, you can also give your self a little body modification often with comical consequences. Bigger eyes? Tick.
Some arcades have costume hire. I stumbled across this rack while I was wandering around the machines. There was no attendant so I choose one of the maid style outfits and popped into one of the booths to take some pictures. It was a fun addition and added some variety to my collection.
Now some places charge for rental especially if they are a little more fancy. They ranged from ¥300 to over ¥1000 for the really fancy ones. You can not leave the Purikura area in costume, any damage will cost you and the costume rental seems to close an hour or two before the store.
The other exciting part of Purikura is that you can email yourself a link to to the pictures so you can easily upload them to social media. Or you can download them into an app. Frustratingly though as a non Japanese speaker/reader I could not for the life of me work it out. I guess there is always next time.
I hope this post was helpful? Go forth and find all the photo booths. And also read about Vending machines