Anata no Warehouse (Your Warehouse) or Kawasaki Warehouse is an arcade centre inspired by Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. Designed by Taishiro Hoshino in 2009, this five-storey building's interiors also gives off a dystopian aesthetic while recreating the famed Walled City.
Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City was known as a "city within a city," was a hugely and densely populated housing settlement. Originally starting as a military fort, the City transformed into an urban settlement during the British rule. In the 1950s to 1970s, the City became a hub for triads, prostitution and illegal practices because the whole City was largely ungoverned.
An estimated 33,000 (some reports say 50,000) people lived within the walls, squashed into 2.6-hectares (roughly the size of two rugby fields). The City was demolished in 1993 despite outspread protest among its residents.
Anata no Warehouse recreated the City down to precise details, this includes the signs, aesthetics and even sounds which you will hear upon entering. By studying old photographs and even importing trash from Hong Kong to Japan, the signs are also hand painted just like it was in the City to truly transform the place into the famed cramped City. As a Hong Konger, I felt like I was not in Kawasaki anymore.
From the entrance, you will be greeted with the sign written in Chinese that this is Kowloon Walled City with accompanying sound effects. Immediately, you would hear Cantonese-speaking voices with gritty windows. If you peak through one of the windows, a recreation of the City's heaven for prostitution can be seen.
As you take the escalator up, the facade of the City becomes much clearer with store signs, mail boxes, wall postings and a meat vendor stall that you could still see (and try) in Hong Kong today. A poster of Bruce Lee could be seen from the inside of one of the apartments. From here on, the City and dystopian aesthetics mix with the arcade games and there are plenty to choose from.
The City can also be described as a building block, with residents using ladders to go from one "apartment" to another. This can be felt to as you go another floor up and feel closer to the recreated houses matched with clothing lines, broken windows and a balcony filled with plants.
Besides the City-inspired interior, the warehouse is a full-functioning arcade. Claw machines, purikura, racing, street fighter and dance-dance revolution are among the classics you can indulge yourself. Given the warehouse's semi-creepy vibes, only those over 18 are allowed to enter.
While the top-floor is nothing like the others being Greek themed, it does offer pool tables and darts among others. As you exit, a seemingly dangerous river of acid awaits which you have to cross through the ragged stones. The design of the entrance is a yin-yang, a great way to welcome anyone.
Anata no Warehouse is a must for thrill-seekers and entertainment lovers that want to do something that's a little bit off the beaten path.
10 minutes walk from Keiyuu-Kawasaki Station
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