A purikura booth with models on the curtains

The Amazing "Purikura" Machines

A Japanese way of memory making

Say you were having an adventurous time in Japan with someone else – perhaps your family or friends – and you definitely wanted to have some visual memories made. In that case, if you want to stick to the “extreme-Japanese-way” of memory making, taking purikura is definitely an option. You get to make your own album original, creative, and most of all, fun to look back at.

So you may be wondering what exactly a purikura is. The original word for this uncommon name is Print Club (purinto-kurabu), which used to be a brand name for this machine where you take pictures of yourself. And they are not just normal self-portrait photos; they come out in sticker forms.

Back in the old days (around 1995) when these exciting photo booths came out, you were only able to take pictures with frames of popular Japanese characters, such as Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, and My Melody, surrounding your excited little smile. But the Japanese were quite ambitious in making this unique machine into something more than frame designs and stamps, something like makeup.

Nowadays, with the purikura machine, you can apply fake eyelashes, change eye and hair color, enlarge your eyes, and make your legs look longer and slimmer. These features are all optional and you can make yourself look way better (or more strange, if you want) in the purikura pictures. This is the reason why it is extremely popular among the fashionable Japanese girls. Of course, you can write or draw anything on the pictures as well with the pen function, and make the photo stickers fun and original.

There are many types of purikura machines these days, and each machine has different features.

Rumor is for those of you who love fashion, since by taking a whole body picture, you can record your entire outfit of the day. And the finished product would make your clothes look even more fancier, so why not?

If you want to have the not artificial but natural look, and still look gorgeous, Lady By Tokyo: Number 3 would be the best purikura machine for you. It is one of the most popular machines among the purikura lovers at the moment, so you know it's good.

Want to make unforgettable memories with lots of your friends? Try out Girls' Photographer – you can fit in the whole crew and also choose the shooting course according to the occasion. Uploading your purikura pictures and showing off your fantastic life on the social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter would be much easier with this machine.

There are more purikura machines that exist in the industry and unfortunately I cannot cover all of them, but I just wanted to say that you should at least try 3 different kinds for the amusing experience.

So, now desperate to try out the new way of memory making? You can find these unique photo booths in amusement arcades (AKA "game centers") all over Japan, or a purikura specialty store called プリクラのメッカ (Purikura no Mecca) if you are lucky enough to find one. There is a プリクラのメッカ in Shibuya Center Gai, so why not go to Shibuya with your favorite people and take one of the most exciting pictures of your travels?

Haruka Saijo
Written by Haruka Saijo
Contributor, Tokyo
A Japanese university student that used to live in Canada, not so Japanese, loves traveling, enjoys experiencing anything new and exciting, and has passion for music.


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