Hello March! And hello again to all of you after a long absence (we’ve been very busy providing the best escape game experience in Japan). Finally: the weather is starting to get warmer, the days are getting longer, and you can even catch a whiff of the fresh spring air (which is enough to offset the first uncomfortable stages of spring allergies…for now.) But one of our favorites things about March in Japan is Hinamatsuri (Japanese Doll Festival/Girl’s Day). That’s the day (March 3rd) where Japanese people showcase elaborately dressed dolls of the ancient Imperial court on tiered platforms. Originally, the dolls were said to absorb the owner’s impurities and bad luck, and were sent down the river in small boats as a symbol for spiritual rebirth in Spring. In fact, this tradition (called "nagashibina") continues in none other than…Asakusa (Sumida Park), down the road from our place, in late February.
And speaking of Spring Rebirths, we’ve been going through one ourselves. We are now called The Escape Game Nazobako (“nazobako” being the Japanese word for “mystery box”)! It’s all very exciting, and we are sure that it will allow us to creatively expand going forward. But don’t worry! There won’t be any changes to our staff, location, or games. If you loved one of our rooms, come back and play the rest!
Which brings us to our last point. Nazobako is great place to try your hand at an escape
game, whether you’re a fresh amateur or a seasoned veteran. And some of these veteran fans of ours like to come back and play for keeps. Congratulations Team インターナショナル for beating our hardest game, Runaway Bride, with a time of 34:57 and NO HINTS! If you like a challenge and have what it takes, stop on by and give the ranking board a run for its money. See you soon!
It's soon winter, and as days are shorter, Tokyo gets ready for the longer nights: from november, and until up to February, illuminations can be found all over the capital.
Here is our Top 3 of Tokyo's illuminations spots!
1. Ebisu Garden Place
From November 3 till Jan 8, visitors will be able to enjoy a beautiful view with Baccarat Eternal Lights: with almost 100,000 light, as well as one of the world's largest Baccarat chandelier (3 metres large and 5 metres tall!) AND a very nice Christmas Market, the illuminations at Ebisu Garden Place are our number 1 choice!
2. Midtown Tokyo
To celebrate 10 years of Midtown, 510,000 lights will illuminate the place from November 15 till December 25. On top of a Christmas Market, the grass square will feature 7 different displays, so visitors can enjoy a different view each day of the week!
3. Tokyo Dome City Winter Lights Garden
From November 9 until February 18, Tokyo Dome will have some nice feature for couples: thanks to a cooperation with Windows' Kinect, couples who stand in front of the Galaxy Dome and the Milky Way and hold hands will get a surprise!
Where will you go this year?
Another year has almost gone by... December starts today, and Christmas is everywhere! Some of us make plans for Christmas Eve, while others start a last minute DIY Advent Calendar (I personally love them), and get the Christmas tree decorations out of the attic. But what's really on everyone's mind is, of course, the presents! If you are organized, you might even have already finished your Christmas shopping. But if, like me, you tend to push certain (most) things to the last minute...chances are, you still have no idea what to get your loved ones. No worries, here are a few tips to help you make everyone happy!
1. Get them something they like
I know, it sounds obvious, BUT. Remember this ugly Christmas sweater you thought was hilarious AND would suit your great aunt? Well, now you know why she doesn't smile on the Christmas pictures.
It could be a gadget they have been talking about, or a pair of shoes they are waiting to go on sale to buy...be attentive! However, you might want to avoid getting them something that is related to their hobby, for two main reasons: (1) that is something they already enjoy spending money on, and (2) everyone has the same idea!
2. Get them something you like
For someone close to you, it could be a good idea to gift something that you like.
Now be careful, the idea is not to give your best friend a beautiful dress/shirt that you plan on borrowing later! But maybe there is an object that has a particular meaning to you, whether it is because it reminds you of your relation with them, or simply because it moves you. A painting, a piece of music, or your favourite book; let them discover something that they don't know about you, and give yourselves a chance to get closer to each other.
3. Get them an experience to share together
Rather than giving them something material, give your loved ones an experience that they always wanted to try, but maybe never dared to. Do they enjoy cooking? Get them a cooking lesson with a big chef! The same goes with language or music classes, or any other craft. Take this opportunity to share with them something that they love, and maybe get to understand them a little better. It's more original, it shows how much you care, and they will love it!
Now tell us about you: what is on you Wish List this year?
Have you ever wondered what it is like to work as a Game Master (GM)?
Well, today is your lucky day: this blog post will tell you all you ever wanted to know about the job!
Game Masters at Escape Hunt Tokyo work in shifts, as the facility is open everyday, from 10:00 till 20:30, with the last game starting at 19:00. I chose to write about the opening shift, which is the one I experienced the most.
When I open the facility, everything is calm and dark...and sometimes a bit spooky. I hurry and turn the music and the lights on in the lounge, and the day starts!
I personally enjoy this moment of the day, as I have the facility to myself for almost an hour before the first players arrive. I start by setting our 6 game rooms, making sure everything is ready for our players, and I am often in for a surprise: a prop that has been placed differently or is in a odd position, a music that is already on when I arrive... We like to joke about this and already accepted the idea of a ghost haunting our location!
After this I usually have just enough time to check the bookings of the day and e-mail inquiries before welcoming our first players.
Our players are here! When I welcome them and brief them about the game they are about to experience, I like to see the excitement in their eyes. Whether it is a couple, a group of friends, colleagues or a family, everyone looks forward to becoming a Samurai, a Zen disciple or a detective on the trace of a disappeared Bride!
As the game starts, I monitor them through our camera system. Now, I am sure you're curious to know what kind of things we see... I cannot tell you much without spoiling our games, but I can tell you this: although we do hear and sometimes see funny things that we like to share between us, what really makes our day is seeing the players enjoying themselves! Some groups are super enthusiastic from the beginning and celebrate each small discovery and puzzle solved, and we feel like we enjoy the game with them :).
After the game, we have a short debrief with the group, going back on the different highlights of the game: "What was your favorite part of the game?" "You struggled a little on this puzzle but you solved that one so fast!!".
Best moment? When players who just escaped ask us "So, when can we do the next game?"
The next group of players is here! Repeat everything from 10:00, only, each group of players is different. And this is one of the perks of the job: we get to meet lots of people from all over the world, and because they are here to have fun, they are (almost) always in a good mood when they come to us ^^.
It's time for my lunch break! As we are located in Asakusa, one of the most touristic area of Tokyo, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Do I fancy Yaki Soba to go, tempura, ramen, or monja? On sunny days, I take a walk after lunch and go pass Sensoji, Asakusa's famous temple, and Nakamise, where I enjoy looking at all the traditional objects or snacks the merchants offer.
The next game time starts at 14:30, but there is no booking this time.
This is the best moment to do everything that cannot be done when we have players in our rooms: small repairs (in the excitement of the game, some props get a little mistreated...), answering reviews left by previous customers, prepare seasonal events, and even create new games! Whether it is for one of our rooms or for an entirely different project, we are constantly coming up with new ideas for original puzzles.
Coming up at 16:00 is a corporate event: 30 players who have opted for our "Game & Team Building" package. That means a 3 hours event, with a game in one of our game room, and a workshop afterwards. We've got some work to do!
This time, the organization is a little bit different. We make sure we are ready for all eventuality: the group might have trouble finding our location, for example, or come in smaller groups at different times! We do our best so that everyone receives a warm welcome, understands all the game rules, and starts their game on time.
An hour later, everyone is out of their game room; some succeeded and some not, but all had a great time! While the players exchange on their experiences and share on their performance, we get the next step of the event ready.
That includes preparing the props used for the workshop, rearranging our lounge, and making sure one last time that everyone is ready to do their part.
The workshop begins! It is sometimes difficult to get the attention of everyone, especially after something as exciting as an escape game, but soon the conversations stop and we can start phase 2 of the event.
This part is also very interesting as a Game Master because this time, we get to see the players interacting directy, and not only through a monitor. The different ways they approach a tasks, whether someone takes the lead and give directives to others, etc. So many things that we can learn from... But it is already 18:00!
It is the end of my shift, but although I am going home, I am not worried for our players, as I know I leave them in the good hands of my colleagues Game Masters.
Tomorrow will be the same, and yet, a completely different day!
You have just experienced one of our game rooms and had a blast, but realize that the exercice left you starving... The good news is, Asakusa hosts some amaizing Japanese restaurants.
Here's our Top 3:
1. Asakusa Imahan
A Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu restaurant (dishes similar to a hotpot), Imahan is more than a century old. Its fresh ingredients guarantee a delicious meal with meat that will melt in your mouth. It is a little pricey, but definitely worth it! Also, it's just across the street from Escape Hunt Tokyo ;).
2. Sometaro Okonomiyaki
Asakusa is famous for its Okonomiyaki and Monja restaurants, and Sometaro Okonomiyaki is among the best ones. Customers will have the opportunity of cooking their own "Japanese pancakes" and enjoy them the traditional way: on cushions, around a hot plate at the centre of a low table.
Located next to the Sensoji temple, this tempura restaurant was established in 1870. Although it features a traditional garden with carps swimming in a pond, it is most renowned for its fabulous kakiage-don and its hospitality.
If you have the chance to try one of them, let us know what you thought!
We are approaching mid-November, and time has come to enjoy Tokyo's famous Autumn Colors! If you are still looking for a place that will guarantee you the best Instagram pictures of this season, we hope our Top 5 will help!
1. Rikugi-en, or Rikugi Gardens
An Edo-style garden, Rikugi-en offers illuminations for Spring and Autumn, when you can admire the beautiful Japanese cherry or maple trees by night. For a small entrance fee of ￥300, you can enjoy a peaceful evening by the garden's lake.
Recommended viewing period: mid-November to early December.
2. Koshikawa Korakuen
With its construction starting in 1629, it is one of Tokyo's oldest park. The park's main pond, situated at its centre, is surrounded by maple trees; in autumn, their orange and red reflection in the water offer a beautiful scenery. The entrance fee is ￥300, for a best viewing periode between late November and early December.
3. Gingko Avenue, Meiji-Jingu Gaien
The most spectacular Autumn view in the Park is without a doubt its Gingko avenue: 300 metres of golden Gingko leaves, visible from late November to early December. And, the good news is, the entrance is free.
4. Ueno Koen
More than a century old, and with nearly 9000 trees, Ueno Koen is one of the best places in Tokyo to witness the change in seasons. Whether it is for Spring of Autumn, the Park attracts more visitors than any other in Tokyo. The entrance is free, and Autumn leaves can be admired from early November to early December.
5. Kokuei Showa Kinen Koen
Like Meiji-Jingu Gaien, Kokuei Showa Kinen Koen offers its visitors a beautiful alley of a hundred 20 metres-high Gingko trees! In Autumn, the fallen leaves create an amazing golden carpet that stretches on for 300 metres, an absolute must-see in this season.
The entrance fee is ￥410, and visitors can enjoy an Autumn festival with various activities from November 3 to 26.
Which is your favourite spot, and where would you like to enjoy the Autumn colours this year?
Days are shorter, temperatures are going down, and December approaches fast...Christmas is in the air! And to put you in the right mood for the winter holidays, Escape Hunt Tokyo has redecorated it's lounge and prepared a special goodies for you!
～ From November 13 to December 30, 2017 only ～
Enjoy a limited drink...
You just solved one of our mysteries and you want to relax in our lounge while listening to cheerful Christmas songs? Along with delicious snacks, we will serve you our Winter Special hot drink. Come to enjoy our games, and discover our special treat!
...and a new version of our popular game!
As an early Christmas present to all our detectives, and a wonderful way to celebrate the winter holidays, we have revisited our popular Runaway Bride to offer you an exclusive and limited game room.
This year, and for the first time, Escape Hunt is happy to present the first Christmas-themed escape game in Japan: A Christmas Secret.
As something goes wrong at a very anticipated holiday party, you will have an hour to follow the clues and set things right!
Will you take up the challenge and save the (Christmas) day?
The Escape Hunt Tokyo team is looking forward to celebrating the winter holidays with you!