The 10 Best Video Games Set In Japan
By Phoebe Lily May Hewitt
Published Jun 14, 2021
Japan always makes for a great setting in video games. These are the best titles that are set in the country.
Being the epicenter of gaming and futuristic culture Japan has been seen time and time again at the forefront of the gaming industry, having?inspired many of our favorite Pokemon regions as well as many other games choosing to celebrate its fascinating history and culture.
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We often find ourselves?wanting to escape our own world for somewhere new,?whether that be in the realms of fantasy or visiting countries that fascinate us.?With thousand’s of years of history and a unique culture like no other, Japan has made the perfect escape and setting for some of our favorite games; Whether it be on the busy streets of Shibuya or within the fictional district of Kamurocho. For those looking to explore modern Japan to the full, here are 10 of the best:
Linking the worlds of the Fire Emblem series and Atlus games; Tokyo Mirage Sessions?#FE Encore sees a group of rising stars that must battle against an interdimensional evil threatening modern-day Tokyo the only way they know-how. With music and style!
This turn-battle-based RPG sees the combat and characters of Fire Emblem blended with some fantastic Japanese tunes; giving fans?the Fire Emblem musical they never knew they needed, all set against the bright lights of Tokyo– you can even visit Hachiko’s statue on the Shibuya Scramble!
A hidden gem from the 2012?Playstation Store; Tokyo Jungle is a rare open-world arcade experience taking place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo where humans have disappeared and animals have taken charge.
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Being able to choose from a selection of animals from a tiny vicious Pomeranian (seriously) to a dinosaur, your ultimate goal is to survive by finding food, procreating, and most importantly, fighting for your life all while trying to piece together just what happened to Tokyo’s humanity. It a lonely depiction of Japan’s capital–with moss-covered skyscrapers and abandoned streets–but nevertheless still shows the city’s unique urban charm, albeit with a lot more feral Pomeranians.
Hailed as one of the hardest horror games around, Fatal Frame?has a combination of utter creepiness and killer gameplay that made has made it a fan-favorite within the horror genre since its release back in 2001.
It’s a survival horror game set in 1980’s Japan that sees you wielding nothing but a camera as you explore a house full of Japanese folklore-inspired ghosts. If that’s not terrifying enough, it’s also known for having some of gaming’s most?horrifying jumpscares.?(Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
Hailed as the top visual novel of the decade;?Steins;Gate, the sequel to Chaos;Head, follows protagonist Rintaro, a scientist obsessed with time travel who has the innate ability to see when he and others have changed the world’s timeline.
Set within a modern-day Tokyo and filled with complex and lovable characters, an emotionally charged plot, and a well-delivered and truly unique time travel?device in a modified microwave?and a cell phone trigger system. This is a game where changing time can mean as?little as reshaping a moment or as much as altering the game’s entire ending.
Sitting amongst a list of genres as a detective-style, school life horror-mystery;?Danganronpa follows a group of Japanese school kids forced to murder one another in a ‘Killing Game’ at the hands of Monokuma, a remote-control teddy bear that woke up and chose violence.
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Playing as Makoto Naegi, you seek to discover who’s behind the Killing Game’s brutality whilst simultaneously trying to not get killed yourself. Despite its grisly premise, the game has garnered worldwide popularity and acclaim for its incredible characters,?dark humor, and ability to keep you guessing until the end.
Persona 4 is a coming-of-age story set in Inaba, a quiet rural town in Japan that finds itself at the center of a serial killer’s murder plot leaving the protagonist and his friends to set off on a journey to find and deliver the culprit to justice.
Persona games are known for being long, with?Persona 4 being no exception. Needing you to juggle your hunt for the serial killer alongside acing your schoolwork, having a potential romance, working a part-time job, and?exploring the distorted world found?within a television channel each night. Standard stuff.
Another game set within the bustling Shibuya district; Square Enix and Jupiter’s The World Ends With You is an action role-playing game that follows Neku Sakuraba after his death?and entry into a three-week event called ‘The Game’.
In The Game, Neku is paired with another player each week and tasked with exploring Shibuya whilst completing combat-based missions. With a unique battle style unique to the Nintendo DS and perk mechanics that revolve entirely around pins and an?iconic Square Enix fashion sense.
The spin-off to the hugely popular Yakuza?series; Judgment follows the story of former lawyer turned private investigator Takayuki Yagami as he turns to the criminal underbelly of Kamurocho to investigate the murder of three Yakuza members.
Even without the incredible story Judgement offers its fans a lot to do, containing?an abundance of hidden content for you to discover?either during or after the game’s conclusion. So get ready to hit the streets of Tokyo as you play some iconic games at Club Sega, go on a date, or even take up the ultimate challenge of finding and petting every stray cat in Tokyo.?Because why not?
Revered as the best Yakuza game of all time?by critics, Yakuza 0?follows Kazuma Kiryu before the events of the original series as he’s framed for murder and forced to rebuild his reputation within the Tojo Clan from the ground up.
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Set within the fictitious entertainment and red-light district of Kamurocho. It features the Yakuza staple of abundant kooky side missions and hilarious?minigames ready to while away the hours on. You can even pay a visit to Osaka’s Dotonbori!
Persona 5 is perhaps the most-loved and polished of the Persona series; following Joker – a high school student who around attending class, hanging out with friends, and working a busy part-time job as a florist must also juggle his night-time alter-ego Phantom Thief.
Other than its fantastic supernatural combative elements and narrative, Persona 5 is one of the best representations of classic Tokyo slice-of-life within the video game industry. It perfectly represents numerous Tokyo districts taking inspiration from real-life locations such as the busy Shibuya streets, famous shops, train stations, and even cafes featuring some iconic Japanese?treats and snacks.
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About The Author
Phoebe Lily May Hewitt
(57 Articles Published)
Phoebe is originally from England but has decided to have a break from the rain and is now freezing herself in Calgary, Canada. She worked as an archaeologist for 5 years but unlike Lara Croft, never got to fight a T-Rex. She’s still scared of Lavender Town.
From Phoebe Lily May Hewitt