Ever thought of driving a real AE86 on the famous mountain roads of Japan, but do not possess a driving license, or travelling on a tight budget? Well, I have just the solution for you! Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited at Sega Tokyo Joypolis, Odaiba is where you should be heading to, in your next Japan trip.
To get there from Tokyo Station, you can take JR Yamanote to Shimbashi Station, then switch to Yurikamome Line and descend at Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station. Walk west direction towards DECKS Tokyo Beach shopping mall, until you see a long escalator going up. Use that and you’ll find Sega Joypolis right away!
Sega Joypolis is an amusement center where you can spend all time playing the latest Sega arcade games. Full day pass cost about ¥3,900. In my case, I only went for Initial D arcade game that cost ¥600 per game, plus additional entrance fee of ¥500. ¥1100 might be expensive for some, but it’s an experience you can never find anywhere else. :)
Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited is a driving simulator that employs the use of Initial D replica cars mounted on mechanical platform to produce absolute driving feeling when on board. Wow!
The three cars offered are Bunta Fujiwara's Subaru Impreza WRX STI Coupe (GC8), Keisuke Takahashi's Mazda RX-7 (FD3S), and of course, the main star of the Initial D series, ...
... Takumi Fujiwara's Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex (AE86). All the arcade cars were replicated to look 100% like the ones in you read/watch from Initial D.
I was amazed by the detail and the mint condition of those cars, especially the Trueno AE86. It is the oldest car among the three, and yet still looking so pretty and clean. I am a huge fan of the hachirokus, so there is no reason for me not to drive it, right? :)
Being one of the main attractions at Sega Joypolis, and because of the popularity of Initial D, a waiting time of minimum 30 minutes can be expected depending on the crowd.
When I was queuing up, I realised that YOU CAN'T CHOOSE THE CAR that you want to drive. Uh oh.
Okay, if I didn't get to 'drive' the AE86, perhaps the RE-Amemiya kitted RX-7 would be my next pick. If you're not too selective on the cars and instead, worrying on the foreign language menu on the huge TV screen, don't worry as the lady personnel will assist you thoroughly.
Voila..! Thanks to my incredibly powerful 86 luck that day, I striked the chance to 'drive' Takumi's tofu car. :D
Before stepping in and with the approval of the Sega Joypolis lady personnel, I took a shot of the red zenki interior of the AE86 cockpit.
The 14,000 RPM tachometer (Smiths 12,000 RPM in Initial D story) actually works and it follows the rev counter in the arcade game. No cup holder to avoid public to bring drinks on board. The original 5-speed gear shifter and clutch pedal have been removed and converted into simple arcade style system.
Okay, game start!
The in-game Takumi politely told me that I lost the game because Mount Akina was his home turf. @@" Maybe I should have picked an easier opponent like Itsuki's AE85. :D
The experience playing Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited was great. Being in an Initial D car felt like you're driving the real thing but a little arcade-ish because of the game's physics. The feedback of the machine was quick and responsive, and it did throw me around when I went hard into tight corner.
If you're a car lover or simply an Initial D fan, this is definitely the place for you. This arcade Initial D experience is not available elsewhere but at Odaiba Tokyo. If you're spending your day there, I do recommend you to get the 'full day pass' to try out the Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited infinite times (in case you didn't get the car you want) and also the other interesting arcade games offered at Sega Joypolis!
I will be back! :)
Please enjoy the pictures in the gallery below.