Fukui cafe targets air gun fans


A cafe in Fukui Prefecture that allows customers to shoot airsoft guns is becoming increasingly popular with women.

Out of 2,000 members at Shooting Cafe Rock On, roughly 30 percent are female, with many visitors apparently getting hooked on the toy guns and purchasing them.

Inside the cafe, on a busy shopping street in the city of Fukui, the high-pitched sound of plastic bullets hitting metal targets can be heard. Customers wearing protective goggles and with serious faces are seen holding airsoft guns in a rear area partitioned off by a curtain.

“I feel a strong accomplishment from hitting the right target,” said a female office worker in her 30s, admitting that no matter how busy she is, she manages to visit the cafe at least once a month.

“No one should hesitate (just) because it sounds like (a man’s) hobby,” she laughs.

Customers do not have to bring their own airsoft guns.

The cafe offers a variety for a fee. Owner Nobuyuki Iwabori, 56, who has 30 years of experience, shows patrons how to handle the toy guns and helps select guns that seem to match their physique and mood.

“Since airsoft guns are often considered a dangerous hobby, I wanted to prove (they are) fun if you (use them safely) and properly,” Iwabori said.

To attract a wider range of customers, Iwabori designed the shop as a cafe that offers light meals.

Customers can try out hand-held guns for as little as ¥1,000 for 20 minutes. For female groups of more than five members, a girls-only party plan is available at ¥1,500 for 60 minutes.

“There are countless ways of enjoying this hobby. You can even act (like) your favorite movie stars or anime characters,” Iwabori said.

The cafe offers airsoft guns like those used in popular animations such as “Lupin III” and “City Hunter.”