Game Cafe Bun Bun

Scouting Yokohama Shops and Cafes

As I mentioned last post, I’ll be moving to Yokohama soon. Curious what my gaming options would look like, we decided to swing by some game shops and cafes after checking out apartments. I’ll add a list of Yokohama shops, similar to my Tokyo list, once I get to know the area a bit better. Now to the shops!

Yellow Submarine – Yokohama

The first stop was the Yokohama branch of the game shop chain Yellow Submarine. Located to the West of the station, it’s located in a lively shopping district. Yokohama is a large city, so I was expecting the shop size to match, but it was actually very small shop split into three floors without a play space. The first two floors were collectible card game floors, while the top floor was the combined board game and TRPG floor. While cramped, they had a number of games. Wanting to check out where I could play games, we decided to move onto a nearby board game cafe.

Official Shop Page (Japanese)

Jelly Jelly Cafe

Jelly Jelly Cafe was a short walk down the street from Yellow Submarine. This well known game cafe chain had a fashionable interior and the staff was very nice and friendly. Hoping to find a place to play D&D, we asked if they happened to have it. The staff we asked wasn’t familiar with it, but rather than leaving it at that, asked for more details so that she should learn more about it. As it happened, a group of foreigners had stopped by earlier that day and asked the same question, so she was surprised that it came up twice in the same day.

It was my first time being to a Jelly Jelly Cafe, but I was impressed by its accessibility. The staff explain the game rules, as well as recommend games for you. One thing that surprised us was the ratio of men to women, with it being roughly equal.

Official Shop Page (Japanese)

Game Cafe Bun Bun (ゲームカフェぶんぶん)

Taking a short train trip from Yokohama station South to Kannai, we visited Game Cafe Bun Bun. Split into the cafe proper and the free play space on the floor above. This place was certainly bustling, and they had a gaming mixer event that night.

The owner apparently has a love of old movie posters and it was certainly an at home ambience.
The owner apparently has a love of old movie posters and it was certainly an at home ambience.

 

Where Jelly Jelly Cafe felt accessible to a wide range of players, Cafe Bun Bun felt like it was catered to analog game aficionados. While mostly board games, they did have a bookshelf of TRPGs. They run a number of events, including monthly board game socials.

The staff were friendly and approached me a couple of times as I waited in the hallway to check if I was lost.

The third floor is the area where you can bring your own games, food, and drink. The owner’s interest in movies posters is on display here as well.

Official Shop Page (Japanese)

Rigoler (リゴレ)

Our final stop was in Chinatown at a cozy shop Rigoler (リゴレ) with a few tables and an amazing manager, which was probably the highlight of the night for me. A game shop with a small play space, the atmosphere was immediately welcoming. This is a new shop that just opened up five months ago. In addition to being friendly, the owner was very knowledgeable about various types of games, from board to TRPG to miniature as well. And lucky for me, as it turned out, he was looking to put together a Dungeons and Dragons 5e game. The shop shows as a labor of love for him.

 

Looking from the shop portion towards the play space
Looking from the shop portion towards the play space

The shop puts on a variety of events, including those for young kids. Among introduction to Catan and Carcassonne, there is also an English Werewolf game and traditional Chinese games events.
The shop puts on a variety of events, including those for young kids. Among introduction to Catan and Carcassonne, there is also an English Werewolf game and traditional Chinese games events.

List of play space rates and a flyer for an intro to board games course for 500 Yen.
List of play space rates and a flyer for an intro to board games course for 500 Yen.

An event poster for a riddle put on by the shop
An event poster for a riddle put on by the shop

The shop is putting on a puzzle solving event. A very rough translation of the sign is:

Rigoler - a boardgames shop in Yokohama Chinatown
One day a mysterious message and puzzle arrived for the shop owner Nobu. 

Can you solve the riddle of another black ship hidden in Suruga Bay? A boat is ready, so can you investigate and find the key to this enigma?

Something about the keywords "ship" and "sea" piqued Nobu's curiosity, so he took the puzzle to his friends at the Spirits of Sailors Tall Ship Company. After discussing it with their members, they were able to somehow figure out that the riddle involves a sea map and is scattered about Chinatown. Despite gleaning it's location, they couldn't solve the crucial portion of the riddle. Games and puzzle solving, not the ocean, are strengths of this game shop owner. The sailors know the ocean, but are complete novices when it comes to solving puzzles. Therefore, the owner of Rigoler Nobu and the Sprit of Sailors are forming a commission to recruit puzzle solvers far and wide.
Admiral's grandchild...
Chinatown...
Another black ship...
We're recruiting people to participate in the commission and try to solve the puzzle together.

The additional notes posted on the flyer read, “Recruiting (urgently) Chinatown investigators!”, “A simple riddle that anyone can do”, “Call the shop owner”, and “A walk-and-eat mystery”

Official Shop Page (Japanese)

And more…

As evidenced by this listing there are a lot of board game cafes and shops opening up in Kanagawa, including a board game recycle shop that I hope to check out sometime.

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