The Allure of Pachinko Slot : How to Play and Etiquette in Japan

June 17, 2024

Pachinko slots (Pachislo) have long been cherished as a unique gambling culture in Japan. While pachinko slot machines may seem complex at first glance, understanding their gameplay and observing proper manners can make them an enjoyable form of entertainment. This article will provide a detailed explanation of the basic mechanics of pachinko slots, how to actually play, recommended machines for beginners, and points to keep in mind.

Introducing Pachinko Slot

Pachinko slot machine in Japan

Pachinko slot is a popular type of slot machine found in Japanese pachinko parlors. This section will briefly explain how to play pachinko slot, its history, and its legal standing in Japan. We will delve into its evolution since the 1960s and its appeal as a form of entertainment within the Japanese community.

What is Pachinko Slot?

Pachinko slot is a type of slot machine installed in pachinko parlors. Players insert medals and spin the reels to align the symbols, aiming to win more medals. Pachinko slot machines have special jackpots called "Regular Bonus (RB)" and "Big Bonus (BB)," which offer the chance to win a large number of medals when hit.

The History and Position of Pachinko Slot in Japan

The history of pachinko slot dates back to the 1960s. Initially, they were simple machines modeled after American slot machines, but from 1977 onward, they underwent a unique development in Japan. The introduction of LCD screens and tie-up machines featuring anime and TV dramas greatly enhanced their entertainment value. Today, the pachinko and pachinko slot industry occupies a significant position within Japan's entertainment industry.

Is Pachinko Slot Illegal?

Under Japanese law, pachinko and pachinko slot are classified as "gaming" and are not illegal. However, the method of prize exchange is regulated by the Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business, etc. (Fueiho). Pachinko parlors operate in accordance with the law, so users do not violate any laws.

Points for Enjoying Pachinko Slot

Playing the pachinko slot machine

Pachinko slot is not just a simple game, but an entertainment that requires strategic gameplay and management. This section will introduce points for enjoying pachinko slots, starting with the basic flow of the game, proper budget management, and how to choose a machine that suits you. It will provide useful information for both beginners and experienced players who want to enjoy the pachinko slot more deeply.

Game Mechanics

The basic flow of a pachinko slot game proceeds as follows.

  1. Insert medals and spin the reels
  2. Stop the reels and align the symbols
  3. If the symbols align, win medals
  4. If bonus symbols align, enter the bonus game

Explanatory image of how to play the pachinko slot machine

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Understanding this flow is the first step to enjoying a pachinko slot.

Budgeting Guidelines

Proper budget management is important when enjoying pachinko slots. For beginners, it is recommended to limit the amount used per gaming session to around 10,000 to 20,000 JPY. For 5 JPY pachinko slots, borrowing 1,000 JPY worth of medals (about 200 medals) allows for around 120 spins.

Tips for Choosing a Machine That Suits You

Choosing a machine that suits you is crucial when starting to play the pachinko slot. Beginners often struggle with this choice. Here are some detailed points to consider when selecting a machine, especially for beginners.

Machines That Can Be Enjoyed with Low Risk and Low Investment

First, it is recommended for beginners to choose machines that can be enjoyed with low risk and low investment. Selecting machines that require a small investment amount allows for longer play time and fully experiencing the enjoyment of the pachinko slot. Additionally, the low risk helps avoid significant losses.

Machines with Simple Gameplay

Next, it is also important to choose machines with simple gameplay. Machines with complex mechanisms may be difficult for beginners to understand and enjoy. On the other hand, machines with simple gameplay are easy to grasp the rules and can be played without stress.

Refer to Online Evaluations and Reviews

Furthermore, utilizing online forums and review sites is also helpful in choosing a machine. Reading the impressions and evaluations of people who have actually played that machine can help find machines that are easy for beginners to handle. Some sites also provide information on the characteristics and tips for playing specific machines, so refer to them as well.

How to Play Pachinko Slot

Playing pachinko slot machines at a pachinko parlor in Japan

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Pachinko slot is a unique arcade entertainment in Japan, and learning the proper way to play is key to maximizing enjoyment. This guide will explain in detail the basic methods of playing pachinko slots, from selecting and securing a machine to the flow of the game and managing medals. This will allow even beginners to enjoy playing with peace of mind and more effectively aim for bonuses.

1. Selecting and Securing a Machine

Once you find a pachinko or pachinko slot machine you like, first check if it is available. If there are medals left in the tray or a water bottle or cigarettes placed on the machine, another player is reserving it. To avoid trouble, choose a machine that is clearly vacant.

2. Inserting Cash into the Sando and Borrowing Medals

Insert cash into the sando located on the right side of the machine. Most places accept 1,000 to 10,000 JPY bills. Any remaining cash in the sando can be retrieved as a prepaid card using the return button. Remember to take it out when leaving your seat.

Cash insertion slot for pachinko slot machines

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When inserting cash into the sando, it is recommended to use smaller bills whenever possible. Inserting a 10,000 JPY note will dispense a large number of medals at once, making medal management difficult. Also, when inserting bills into the sando, ensure they are flat and free of wrinkles or tears before insertion. Bent or torn bills can cause jams in the sando.

3. Borrowing Medals

After putting cash into the sando, pressing the loan button will provide 1,000 JPY worth of medals in the tray. These medals are used for playing the game. Medals are borrowed in 1,000 JPY increments. For example, to borrow 5,000 JPY worth of medals, you need to press the loan button five times. Also, medals can only be borrowed within the amount of cash inserted into the sando. If the sando balance is insufficient, additional cash must be inserted.

4. Inserting Medals and Starting the Game

Insert medals into the slot, with three medals required per game. Inserting multiple medals can be stored as credits, and as long as there are credits, you can press the maximum bet button for subsequent games. After inserting three medals, pull the lever to start the game. 

How to operate a pachinko slot machine

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The reels will spin, and the draw for bonuses and small prizes will take place.There are two ways to insert medals: manually and automatically. To insert manually, put medals into the slot one at a time. To insert automatically, press the maximum bet button to insert three medals at once. For beginners, it is recommended to insert manually. It is best to gradually get used to automatic insertion while understanding the flow of the game.

5. Stopping the Reels

Stop the reels in order from left to right. If the symbols match, medals will be paid out. To stop the reels, press the buttons. Pressing the button for the left reel will stop the left reel. Next, pressing the button for the center reel will stop the center reel. Finally, pressing the button for the right reel will stop the right reel.

When stopping the reels, it is important to align the targeted symbols. For example, to align bonus symbols, you need to stop the reels at the correct timing. Also, to align small prize symbols, you need to fine-tune the stopping position of the reels. These techniques can be acquired through practice.

6. Bonus Hits and Continuing the Game

When a bonus is hit, it is indicated by a reach, performance, or notification lamp. A reach refers to a state where bonus symbols are partially aligned, suggesting a high possibility of a bonus hit. The LCD screen may also display special performances that hint at a bonus hit. If the notification lamp lights up, it is a definite sign of a bonus hit. Aligning the bonus symbols will start the bonus game, and a certain number of medals will be paid out.

Bonus state of pachinko slot machine

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During the bonus game, there is a chance to win more medals than in the regular game. The types and characteristics of bonus games vary by machine. For example, in a bonus game called ART, small prizes will hit at a high probability for a certain period. Also, in a bonus game called RT, meeting specific conditions can transition to an even more advantageous game. To make the most of bonus games, it is important to understand the characteristics of each machine.

7. Managing Medals and Taking Breaks

After using up the bonus, use the acquired medals to aim for the next bonus. When the number of medals becomes large, move them to the dollar box or counting machine. The dollar box is a box for storing medals. Scoop the medals by hand and transfer them to the dollar box. The counting machine is a device that automatically counts the number of medals. Inserting medals into the counting machine will display the number of medals.

Long hours of play can be physically and mentally taxing. Taking appropriate breaks can help maintain concentration and prevent mistakes. When taking a break, be sure to notify the staff and take proper measures. When leaving the machine, count the medals using the counting machine and leave the dollar box with the staff. After the break, receive the deposited dollar box and resume the game.

8. Ending the Game and Exchanging Prizes

When ending the game, move all the medals to the dollar box, measure them at the jet counter, and receive a receipt.

Exchanging medals pachinko slot

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The jet counter is a machine that can measure a large number of medals at once. Scoop the medals from the dollar box and insert them into the jet counter. Once the measurement is complete, a receipt will be issued.

Take the receipt to the prize counter and exchange it for prizes according to the number of medals listed on the receipt. The prizes vary by pachinko parlor. Typically, they include snacks, daily necessities, and electronic devices. When exchanging prizes, check the types of prizes and their availability, and choose the desired prizes.

Recommended Pachinko Slot Machines for Beginners

Below are some popular pachinko slot machines ideal for beginners to explore and enjoy a thrilling gaming experience. From vibrant themes to exciting gameplay, these machines promise hours of entertainment for newcomers to the world of pachinko slots.

Juggler Series

Juggler series pachinko slot

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The Juggler remains a favorite among both amateur and professional players alike. Despite its Setting 6 status, which often results in a payout rate below 95.7% 〜 109.4% on many machines, it continues to draw enthusiasts. The machine's appeal lies in its accessibility and ease of setting identification, making it a preferred choice for players across Japan. Setting determination for the Juggler is commonly based on factors such as the frequency of regular bonuses and the likelihood of grape combinations.

Oki Doki Series

Oki Doki series pachinko slot

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This machine operates between a payout rate of 97.0% to 107.9%. It's an automatic control (AT) machine that increases payouts through a series of pseudo-bonuses, adding about 3.0 bonuses per game. You can win a bonus either by reaching the maximum mode level or by directly hitting a specific combination. The latter option offers a higher chance of transitioning to a preferred mode. Bonuses are awarded during 1G series, and if the machine enters Heaven mode or higher, players are guaranteed to play for 32G or less after the series ends. The higher level Doki-Doki mode has a high loop rate and the potential for big wins with just one lucky hit.

Basilisk Series

Basilisk series pachinko slot

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The machine operates with a payout rate ranging from 97.1% to 119.0%. The "Basilisk" slot machine series comprises three models. "Basilisk Time" is an automatic control (AT) machine that alternates between "Reminiscence Time" and "Contested Shinobi Time." In "Basilisk Time," various mini-characters engage in battles. When selecting a character to fight, it's important to note that the expected outcomes vary based on factors like the number of characters and character combinations being chosen. This machine is particularly beloved by fans of the original manga or anime series, who can enjoy seeing their favorite characters in various extra scenes.

*Payout rate (Dedama Ritsu): In pachinko slots, the "payout rate" refers to the percentage of money that a slot machine is expected to return to players as winnings. Specifically, it indicates the proportion of the total money put into the machine that is expected to be paid back to players as winnings over the long term. This rate is also known as the "return rate" and is usually expressed as a percentage.

For example, if a pachinko slot machine has a payout rate of 95%, it means that over the long term, players can expect to receive about 95% of the money they put in as winnings. This value varies from machine to machine and serves as an important metric for predicting the likelihood and expected value of winning for players.

Enjoying Pachinko Slot: Important Considerations

Pachinko slots can be an attractive form of entertainment for many people, but it's crucial to approach this pastime with caution. This article will discuss the importance of being aware of gambling addiction, managing your budget and time effectively, understanding proper etiquette in pachinko parlors, and handling cash responsibly. By providing specific advice on how to enjoy pachinko slots as a healthy form of leisure, we aim to help you learn how to engage in this activity in a balanced manner.

The Importance and Methods of Proper Budget Management

To enjoy pachinko slots responsibly, proper budget management is crucial. Before playing, consider your income and expenses to determine an affordable amount within your means. Once you've set a limit, strictly adhere to it and never exceed the allocated budget. While it's a good idea to manage your winnings separately and use them for future sessions, be careful not to become overconfident in your success and avoid spending beyond your initial budget. Allocating money to other forms of entertainment can also help prevent gambling dependency. 

If you're visiting Japan, your budget may be particularly limited, so it's advisable to use your money wisely and not exceed your predetermined budget when playing pachinko slots.

Preparing and Managing Cash

When playing pachinko slots, pay close attention to cash preparation and management. Carrying large amounts of cash poses risks of theft or loss, so it's best to avoid doing so. Bring only the necessary amount and use prepaid cards to minimize cash management risks. Be cautious of frequent ATM withdrawals, as they may deepen gambling dependency. Always be aware of the contents of your wallet and strive not to spend beyond your budget. It's essential to act responsibly to avoid causing financial inconvenience to your family or friends.

The Need for Time Management and Tips

Becoming too engrossed in pachinko slots can lead to losing track of time and potentially disrupting your daily life. Before playing, set a clear time limit and regularly check your watch while gaming. Taking appropriate breaks helps maintain a clear mind and avoid prolonged continuous play. If you're visiting Japan with family or friends, remember that your time in the country may be limited, so prioritize what is important to you and avoid becoming overly absorbed in pachinko slots at the expense of other valuable experiences.

Understanding Etiquette and Prohibited Activities in Pachinko Parlors

In pachinko parlors, consideration for other players and staff is expected. Refrain from disruptive behavior such as shouting, hitting the machines, or interfering with others' gaming. Respecting the rules against drinking, smoking, or using mobile phones inside the parlor is important for maintaining a pleasant gaming environment. Avoid conflicts with other players and follow the staff's instructions. Observing proper etiquette ensures your own safety and an enjoyable gaming experience.

Explore Pachinko Slot on YouTube

This informative video offers a concise overview of Pachislot that have garnered significant attention for their unique blend of entertainment and strategy. Ideal for newcomers and seasoned players alike, the video outlines the fundamental rules and the various ways to enjoy these games. Viewers will gain a clearer understanding of the mechanics and appeal of Pachislot through easy-to-follow explanations and visuals. Whether you're curious about diving into these games or simply looking to learn more, this video provides an excellent starting point.

How to play Pachislot and Okislot / pioneerglobal8787


Pachinko slots are a unique form of gambling entertainment in Japanese culture. By understanding the basic mechanics of the game, managing your budget and time effectively, you can enjoy pachinko slots as a form of entertainment. For beginners, it's recommended to choose low-risk, simple machines and play while observing proper etiquette in the parlor. However, always keep in mind the risk of gambling addiction and maintain self-control.

PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer, a seasoned connoisseur in his 40s based in Japan, boasts an unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience within the vibrant landscapes of both drinking and gambling, alongside his well-documented ventures into various red-light districts. This extensive exploration encompasses not just the nocturnal delights of Japan's red-light areas but also its myriad of bars, horse racing, pachinko, and many others. Drawing on his firsthand experiences, he conveys the appeal and characteristics of Japan's diverse adult entertainment districts and his enjoyment of the nightlife scene through his writing for PIJ.

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