Karaoke カラオケ is a popular activity in Japan, and there are karaoke boxes all over. In Okinawa, there are several places try this beloved activity.
Karaoke in Japan is different than in the US… you do not sing in front of a crowd of strangers. You (and your party) are assigned a room, so you are singing with just your friends, coworkers… or by yourself!
Hitori-karaoke 一人カラオケ is 1-person karaoke. Maybe this sounds weird to you, but it is incredibly relaxing and a great way to get rid of stress. You can sing as loud and as long as you want, without caring who is around. Plus, you get to pick all the songs. I have done this quite a few times before, and I enjoy much more than I thought I would. I know some people who go to hitori-karaoke just to practice for the real thing!
When you rent a karaoke room, it is usually by the hour and size of the room. Usually places have special pricing plans. For instance it is always cheaper in the mornings and on weekdays, but you if you want to sing a lot, they have all night deals, too. Often times you can get unlimited soft drinks bar with some of these deals. Some places even have fancier sound system upgrades.
Once you settle on your room, you will be given microphones and touchscreen tablets (most places this is multilingual now) to control the video screens and choose songs. You might be seriously surprised at the enormous selection of foreign songs… just use the search function to find artists, songs, genres. There will also be food/drink menus in the room, and a telephone to call the desk for ordering food. Sometimes as a foreigner it is a bit intimidating to use the phone to call in orders, but I usually do not have too much trouble with this.
Some places to try karaoke in Okinawa are:
- Utamaru 歌丸
- Tomato とまと
- Big Echo
- Croquette Club コロッケクラブ
- Maneki neko まねきねこ
These are chains with a few locations, but there are several more smaller places, too many to list!