Sing Your Heart Out In Any Language: How To Use Karaoke Boxes

Sing Your Heart Out In Any Language: How To Use Karaoke Boxes


Longing to try out karaoke in Japan, but not sure how to go about it? We'll show you how to do it, and introduce some typical karaoke spots.

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by Ito Kentaro

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Everywhere you look in Japan, you will see the word karaoke. It’s no wonder that there are roughly 10,000 karaoke establishments in the country. While you can see the counter from the entrance, it can be hard to step foot inside without knowing how the system works.

Well, what is karaoke in the first place? Let’s answer that question, explain how to enjoy karaoke, and introduce some representative spots to try it!

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Karaoke - How To Enjoy The Services Of A Karaoke Facility In Japan

What Is a Karaoke Box?

Inside a karaoke box, you can sing along to the backing tracks of your favorite songs without worrying about the eyes of people around you. It can also serve as stress relief for solo singers, and it’s a lot of fun to get loud in a big group. Some karaoke places stay open until the early morning, so you can even spend all night doing karaoke.

Any karaoke place, regardless of type, will have at least 100,000 songs available.

How to Use a Karaoke Box

Check In

Go inside the karaoke place and tell the staff at reception how many hours you want to stay, and how many people are in your group. There are several plans that vary from place to place, such as a “free time” plan and a plan that counts time in 30-minute increments. Check in before you go inside your room.


More and more stores offer various items to borrow, like cosplay costumes and mike stands, at the reception desk. Most places will provide these free of charge, so we recommend borrowing some to make your karaoke experience more fun.

The Karaoke Room

Head toward the room with the number you were given at reception. Some rooms even have massage chairs. Most places will call you on the room phone when your allotted time is up, so have fun singing karaoke until you hear the ring.

Drinks and Food

Most places have drink bars and menus for ordering food. You can get your drinks from the drink bar, and place orders for food using the room phone.

How to Use a Karaoke Machine

1) Look for a song using the tablet device.

2) Choose your language. English, Chinese and Korean are all supported.

3) Find your song with the artist or song lookup function.

4) Once your search results are displayed, choose the song you want to sing. There is a robust collection of non-Japanese songs, particularly Asian and Western tracks.

5) Finally, hit the Reserve button on this screen to load your song.

6) Soon after you reserve your song, the background music will start to play. Don’t worry if you don’t remember the lyrics! They are displayed onscreen, so feel free to sing your heart out.

When Checking Out

Once the phone rings, get ready to leave. If the place is not busy, you can also request to extend your time. Return anything you rented to the counter and settle your bill to check out.

Typical Karaoke Spots

We’ll take a look at four typical major karaoke chains.

Big Echo

Picture from the official site
Big Echo has rooms created around various themes, and certain branches have rooms designed in collaboration with artists like Avril Lavigne.


Picture from the official site
With many branches located in cities, and it’s easy to find a Karaokekan, which is part of its appeal. Karaokekan has many karaoke machines available, so you can choose the one you like best.


Picture from the official site
Joysound locations are fully equipped with items for rent and drink bars. Branches with Joysound F1 machines allow visitors to choose from over 200,000 songs.

Cote D’Azur

Picture from the official site
Cote D’Azur has large rooms that are perfect for karaoke parties with a group. Some locations also have entertainment options like virtual golf.

Karaoke boxes have their own unique characteristics, so find the karaoke box that works best for you!

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