Tokyo Metro Train Games – Why do it?
I find these days exploring new cities has become a little predictable. You can research everything about a place before you arrive, from which are the most popular tourist attractions, to which restaurants to go to and what hotels to stay in. Whilst this wealth of information certainly has it’s benefits, sometimes it takes all the spontaneity and adventure out of travel. I have found some of the best moments when I have traveled abroad and indeed in life have been those moments of adventure, when you don’t have everything planned out in front of you and you just see where the day takes you.
When I spotted the poster for the Tokyo Underground Mysteries I decided it would be the ideal weekend activity to help me forget about work and explore some new parts of Tokyo. I didn’t really know much about what was in store for me, but that made it seem all the more intriguing. So, having roped my husband into accompanying me, we set out one October Saturday morning to find out more.
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Tokyo Underground Mysteries – What is it exactly?
Tokyo Underground Mysteries is like a scavenger hunt in which you are told to find certain things, such as an item or landmark, but with a series of puzzles thrown in. Once a puzzle has been solved it will lead you to your next destination, however you must then solve another puzzle to find out where to go next and so on. Some puzzles are quite simple and can be solved at the place you are taken to, whilst others are much harder and require sitting down in a nearby cafe racking your brains and cursing at the cryptic clues for a good hour or two!
How do I get started with Tokyo Underground Mysteries?
Getting started is the easy part, from there it gets more difficult! To begin the game simply got to Ueno station and buy a game kit from the Tokyo Metro pass office. Game kits can be purchased in either English or Japanese so if you want to take a Japanese friend you can try it in both languages!
Each game kit costs 2,160 yen each, and includes a 24 Hour Metro pass which you will use to get around the city when you play the game. Once the pass has been activated you have 24 hours to use it. If you don’t finish the game within 24 hours you can just go back and finish it another day but you will have to buy another train ticket.
Tips for the Tokyo Underground Mysteries
My top tip would be to start as early in the day as you can. Unless you are a genius, it will probably take you a full day (over 8 hours) to complete the game. After I had collected my game kit from Ueno station, I set up camp at a nearby Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. It took my husband and I around 40 minutes to figure out the first set of clues that included the names of the stations we needed to get to first.
Use ALL the materials in your game kit
A lot of the answers can be found using the materials you have in your game kit. Without giving anything away you really need to use everything at some point, so don’t discard or throw anything away. Literally….anything…
Pay attention to things around you
A lot of the puzzles take place in the metro stations, so pay attention to things around you and follow directions closely.
Take regular rest breaks
I would recommend taking regular breaks to stop for coffee and lunch. If you try and plow through the whole game as quickly as possible you’ll probably just end up feeling grumpy and tired!
More brains are better than one!
My final tip would be to do the game with a minimum of two people, but the more friends you can rope into it the better! Although my husband and are were just a team of two, we met a very friendly French couple along the way who we worked with to solve one puzzle we were all struggling with.
If you get stuck – use the online hints
If you are feeling really stumped there is an online hints page which will help you out when trying to solve the clues. These hints vary from pretty vague to extremely useful depending on which puzzle you are working on.
Playing the Underground Mysteries – How I Did
I managed to complete the game and solve all the puzzles, but it was a lot harder than I had originally anticipated. Although it was pretty tiring I had a lot of fun exploring the different stations and got to visit some parts of Tokyo I had never seen before, even if it was just mainly around the station areas.
I hit a particular low point around halfway through the game at lunchtime when it took us around 2 hours to work out one puzzle. I felt very frustrated and was almost ready to give up when my husband finally figured out the answer. Had I abandoned the game without finishing I would have felt really unsatisfied!
I have deliberately not included specific details or photographs in this article in order to not give away any of the answers, but hopefully there is enough information here on what to expect for anyone who is looking to try it out. If you have any questions or you have also completed the underground mysteries let me know in the comments below!
For more information visit the Tokyo Underground Mysteries website.
For more ideas on what to do in Tokyo, check out 5 day Tokyo itinerary for beginners!
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