I figured if I’m going to start this I might as well start it with the “big dog” so to speak. Right in Tenjin area of Fukuoka city (the heart of the city) lies, Tenjin Taito Station. How fitting that within the heart of the city lays the heart of the Fukuoka and by extension, the Kyushu scene. Tenjin Taito Station (or “Tentai”) is the spot for Fukuoka’s fighting game (arcade) scene. While other arcades do well this is without a doubt the place where the best players gather on a regular basis. Tentai is located right in the center of Tenjin. Less than 5 minutes from both the Fukuoka City subway Tenjin stop and the Nishitetsu Tenjin stop.
While Tentai is quite large, boasting multiple floors the only floor worth your time for the people that are reading this is the basement. That’s right; all the highly “competitive” games are in the basement. It’s darker than the rest of the arcade and it’s one of the few places where people can smoke. So you’re guaranteed to leave smelling worse than when you went in (though they have added air filters as of late).
Tentai’s most popular fighting games in my experience are Tekken (of course), Street Fighter IV and Gundam (it always has a lot of people playing). They have what I would consider to be the most consistent players. My experience is with Street Fighter (and the Nesica games) and I can tell you that those guys love to get together to play. Weekends of course are the best time to go (starting Friday night) and there is a high chance you will run into Mizoteru, (Blanka), Darui (Dhalsim) or EX Pugera (#1 ranked Fukuoka player). But there are plenty of incredibly strong players that you’ve never heard of that play here. The street fighter community is so connected that they arrange meet ups through Twitter and Xbox Live with players from other parts of Japan who are coming visit Fukuoka. Just recently, Tokido, Mago, Fuudo, Bon-chan and Nyan-shi came to visit Fukuoka and stopped by to play. Also Sasaki (Cody) has also passed through here. This is also the only spot in Kyushu that Daigo will be stopping by on his Battle Tour. So expect others from Kyushu to come to Fukuoka to challenge him.
Street Fighter players are in lucky because the game is actually 50 yen to play. So 100 yen nets you 2 credits. Every month or so Tentai also hosts a Street Fighter “Day of Thanks” where on a Saturday, you pay 200 yen (roughly $2.00) and you can free play Street Fighter IV from open until 5pm. These events naturally bring out EVERYONE. Due to the relationship that Capcom has with arcades here in Japan it’s very easy for arcades to do this for Street Fighter. Unfortunately it isn’t the same for the other games. Tentai pays Capcom a monthly fee which allows them to keep all the profits which can then be passed on to the customers in the form of free plays (or 50 yen plays). The other games take a percentage of every 100 yen placed into the machine making that impossible…or at the very least, difficult for arcades to do from a business perspective.
This is the main arcade for the Nesica system games (Blazblue, Persona, etc) as well but the community isn’t as tight as the SF community, but you will still run into Fukuoka’s best. There aren’t many videos of the Kyushu FGC out there on the internet so you may have never heard of some of these guys and yet a few you may have, Mucchi (Carl and others), Gackt (Hakumen), Tomio (Platinum and others), Tocchi (Relius), Naokaka (Taokaka and others) and while he doesn’t live in Fukuoka City, Shingo (Bullet and also Akihiko in Persona) also comes through here when he is in the city.
Tentai is also the home of the very small but incredibly enthusiastic Chaos Code community and if you ever get a chance, talk to these guys. They are super nice guys..and they are pretty godlike at Chaos Code. This also where Guilty Gear heads come to play.
Tenjin Taito Station Arcade Cabinet Information:
- Street Fighter IV: 5
- Nesica: 7 and 1 two player setup that is mainly used for people to practice without having to worry about other players.
- Tekken: 6
- Gundam: 4
- Chaos Code: 1 (But this will change as CC will likely become a Nesica game)
- Guilty Gear: 2
- Virtua Fighter: 5
- Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: 2
- Melty Blood: 1
- And others…
The above is as of 3/16/2013
From the Nishitetsu Line:
IRRELEVANT! None of you will be coming from the Nishitetsu Line. Only I come from the Nishitetsu Line because I live here. But if by some chance actually are coming from the Nishitetsu. After getting off the train walk to the main exit. Go through the turnstile and head directly down the large set of stairs in the center and you will see what the foreign community of Fukuoka refers to as “The Big TV” it’s the major meeting point in Tenjin (it’s like Tenjin’s version of the Hachiko meeting spot). Make a left from there and walk straight, past KFC and past the pachinko parlor and Taito Station should be on your left.
From the Tenjin Station (subway):
Find Exit 6. You may have to cross over to the other side of the station which will make you walk through the underground shopping mall for a bit…DO NOT ENTER THE UNDERGROUND SHOPPING MALL JUST WALK STRAIGHT ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE.
Follow exit 6 out of the subway and then make a right. You should see a shopping arcade in front of you called “Shintencho 新天町”. Make a left and then take the first right at the next intersection. Keep walking straight for less than 5 minutes (you will pass KFC and a pachinko parlor) and Tenjin Taito Station will be on your left…you can’t miss it…seriously, you can’t. Enter the arcade and bear right towards the stairs that head into the basement and there you are.
Word of Advice: Don’t be so focused on getting to the arcade that you don’t take the time you look around you. Fukuoka is famous for being the city with what many in Japan consider to be “Japan’s most beautiful women” so yeah…enjoy the view. (^_^)