Purikura: Snapshots of A Japanese Craze in Hawaii

dave poore
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Purikura: Snapshots of A Japanese Craze in Hawaii

I seriously feel like I just came back from Japan. My sister and I (and my Chiweenie pup!) spontaneously decided to try out Purikura and see what the hype was about. It’s those fun sticker photo booths that started in Japan 20 years ago before exploding in popularity worldwide. The craze somewhat dwindled over the years but has just recently made a comeback, migrating overseas to places like Hawaii.

Getting silly with the sis and pup and Purikura. Check out how freakishly big it made our eyes!

Each machine has a specific theme. We chose the Mickey Mouse and vintage pearl themes; both outlandishly silly in their own way. Stepping into the booth made me feel like I just got thrown into a techno/rave unannounced and underdressed. The bright white lights, blaring music and some random Japanese voice shouting at us got us giggling almost instantly. What the heck is going on?

I can already tell what I’d be like if I went to Japan – wandering around cluelessly. Everything’s written and spoken in Japanese; needless to say, we were both a bit confused. We eventually figured it out though. You choose a few backgrounds, pose for the camera and 1-2-3! Bright flashes from all angles make you feel like a celeb strutting the red. We only found out later that there are separate booths translated in English that make the experience less puzzling but just as fun!

Next, you go into another booth that’s got an even crazier vibe. Be prepared to race against the clock when it comes to editing the pictures; a countdown from about five minutes creates a speed frenzy among the group that leaves heads boggling! Add doodled heart stamps, write with funky fonts or just leave it as is. Your eyes will also look noticeably bigger in the pictures, which make them even funnier. Get as silly as you want. Stick them in your wallet, on your luggage or on your dog.

VIDEO: Jump into a photo booth, and see for yourself; Purikura in Hawai is fast, funky and fun!

Purikura is short for “Purinto Kurabu,” which means “print club.” The phenomenon can be found in other parts of Asia – Taiwan, Thailand and Korea, as well as Europe, Indonesia, the Philippines, Canada and now Hawaii.

We weren’t the only ones who couldn’t stop laughing. Giggles and girly shrieks came from the neighboring booths; from the outside, bunches of legs huddled together meant the fun had already begun. FunPix offers private in-store Purikura parties, where you can wear one of their many costumes or wigs and take up to 120 photos.

It can be found right outside of Waikiki on the ground floor of a tall, mirrored building (across from the Hawaii Convention Center). J-Pop music blasts loudly from inside FunPix and makes it pretty easy to find with photo machines taking up the entire store and leaving only a tiny strip of walkway in between. Flashy lights and colorful Purikura posters brightening the room.

Some machines have even made their way around the island and can be found in other stores as well, but the home base remains in Honolulu. (I recently spoke with the owners, who said they’ll be moving to McCully Shopping Center in December, with more space and more machines. Same hours as below, except they’ll be opened later.)

That definitely qualifies as one of the silliest things I’ve ever done. (You’ll see in the pictures and video how much fun my pup had…Not!) Purikura’s so much better than a typical sticker machine. Those other ones are like the grandmas of photo booths, very conservative and safe. These outrageously colorful sticker pictures are packed with fun and make me giggle every time I see them. Show your friends back home your wild Hawaii vacation with Purikura stickers; it’s definitely got so much more to it than a postcard ever will!


• Opens Mon-Thurs 12pm-8pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 10am-6pm • Century Center 1750, #101 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96826 • 808-949-9091 • $8 per sheet of photos • Validated parking; Near bus stop *NOTE: Funpix will be moving to McCully Shopping Center next month


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