“Show me a man who is good at pool, and I’ll show you a man who had a misspent youth,” my father once said. It was one of those times that made me realize that my father was not the fountain of all knowledge that I had thought him in my childhood because both neither he nor I am any good at pool and, from what my mother says, my father’s youth was even more misspent than mine. And that’s saying something.
Though I may be pretty poor on the pool table, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a game. Ive spent many hours with beer in one hand, cue in the other, trying to figure out the mathematical equations that will get those little balls down the holes; those same equations that I once smugly informed my maths teacher that I would never need in the real world. Sorry, Miss Perkis.
Unfortunately, unlike most bars and pubs back home, where the installation of a pool table is pretty much standard, Japan’s bars are pretty much pool-free zones. However, if you want to get out there and try your luck on the tables, it is possible.
Cue Sports Center in Higashi-Ku is very much in the classic style of the pool hall, boasting in its main hall six regular pool tables and four carom tables. It has yet another pool table in its training room with a treadmill, an exercise bike, and other workout equipment, and there is even a small nap room/baby play area.
Fees for adults are 700 JPY per hour for any of the tables, while college and high school students get a 100 JPY discount on pool. Junior high school students, women, and seniors can play pool for 500 JPY. Pool and carom tournaments are held monthly and cost 2,000 JPY to enter.
If you want to shoot some pool in a relaxed atmosphere with a quiet coffee, a fruity soda, or a frosty beer, head to Cafe Bar Nico in Hatsukaichi. They even have live music events from time to time.
An hour at the table will set you back 650 JPY per person, or 1,500 JPY for a three-hour set, though there is a one-drink minimum. As there is just one table, they suggest that you call ahead to make a reservation.
Situated right in the center of Hiroshima, Hammer is a place where you can cut loose as you shoot some pool. They open at 15:00 and stay open until 03:00 the next morning, catering predominantly to the post-work crowd.
To play on one of their six tables costs 130 JPY per ten minutes up to a maximum of 1,980 JPY, but if you fancy a few drinks, there is an all-you-can-drink-and-play option at 2,980 JPY for two hours. If you want to get serious, they do offer lessons, and there are monthly tournaments.
Round One is a national chain of sports entertainment amusement centers (called ‘spotcha’ in Japan), with a wide array of games and activities to enjoy, including, of course, billiards.
The system is of the ‘all-you-can-play’ variety, as once you have entered, you can stay pretty much all day. As well as shooting pool, you can also take part in other activities such as bowling, batting cages, basketball, karaoke, and much, much more.
Image: By Kamil Porembiński via flickr.com [CC BY-SA 2.0] – Modified
Image: By Andrzej Barabasz (Chepry) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Modified
Image: via https://cafebarnico.shopinfo.jp/pages/3515600/page_202001172138 – Modified