BY SCRAP Global Team

NEWS FLASH: Tokyo Metro–The Underground Mysteries is back!
This beloved annual affair which has attracted over 380,000 participants since 2014 was unfortunately forced to a stop in 2020 due to COVID-19.

But we bring good news–the wait is finally over. Now, in 2023, when the pandemic situation has mellowed, we can all resume our favorite outdoor activities, like jumping from train to train while solving puzzles and mysteries all across the city! (Think The Amazing Race x Sherlock Holmes.)

The newest edition “Tokyo Metro–The Underground Mysteries 2023” will begin in Tokyo later this year*. But not only that, SCRAP has launched the Tokyo Metro season early this time–kickstarting the fun by running the very first edition of the Tokyo Metro–The Underground Mysteries event from 2014.

Tokyo Metro The Underground Mysteries 2014 Revival Main Visual

This limited-time event run from December 12, 2022, until March 19, 2023.

If you couldn’t make it to Tokyo to experience it, fret not–We’ve got your back.
The folks at SCRAP’s global team put their bodies and minds to the test to share this event’s journey with you.

Follow our adventure across multiple Tokyo Metro train lines to revisit the original event that forged the concept of city-wide puzzle hunts across the world.

Our journey started at the SCRAP shop in the neighborhood of Kichijoji, Tokyo, where we purchased the game kit and a Metro ticket. This special ticket is of a limited edition design only given to those who join the event. It allows unlimited trips on all the Tokyo Metro lines for 24 hours. If you know anything about Tokyo’s transportation system, you’ll understand how amazing this feature is. Tokyo Metro lines cover a vast area of Tokyo. Just imagine how much you could save and how far you could go with it!

Game Kit

Tokyo Metro Map

With the game kit and train ticket in hand and our feet ready to take us wherever we had to go, our adventure was officially afoot (pun intended). 

 Here, we noticed one stark difference between the OG game and the ones from recent years.

In the later editions, the game kit comprises a booklet with all the information you need about the game along with puzzles to solve.

 Since this was the very first edition before any improvements could’ve been made, we found ourselves struggling to handle all the loose paper. Yes–the booklet and puzzles came separately!

We couldn’t help but wonder how the people back in 2014 managed to play this game and just how many lost their papers partway. At the same time, we were instantly relieved that the game developers at SCRAP quickly realized their players didn’t have multiple limbs to handle all the material dexterously.

Among the multiple sheets of paper and mysterious designs was also a useful map of all Tokyo Metro train lines and a convenient pegcil (a pencil with a clip at the end to attach to papers) to take notes with. Nifty.

Game Kit Back

We soon learned (the hard way) that our biggest enemy wasn’t the puzzles, taunting us from their safe space inside the game kit… It was the wind that constantly threatened to steal our precious material right out of our hands. Hold on to them tight lest you lose the clues and material necessary to reach your final destination!

The first part of the mission is to solve a number of puzzles. After doing this, you will understand where to go next, but this first part can be done anywhere, so we recommend picking a quiet spot with a spacious table and some snacks, as it might take a while. Conveniently, your booklet also provides recommended cafes and restaurants in the area where you can stop and leisurely solve puzzles or recharge your mental batteries after some mind-boggling puzzles.

The Game’s Recommended Spots and Coupons.

The second half of the game will require you to solve more puzzles. To do so, you’ll need to visit all the locations you uncovered in the previous step. Once there, you’ll use clues and information found in real-life objects, signs, and structures to solve the puzzles. Each puzzle is unique and carefully crafted such that you wouldn’t be able to solve it unless you reach the correct spot. For example, one puzzle might require players to count the number of statues in a certain location and the number of letters on a specific signboard. You can then use this information to decode the puzzle on your puzzle sheet. The actions required at each station are all different, so repetition and boredom will be the least of your worries.

Some of the Envelopes Inside the Kit

To solve the final step, you will have to figure out the hidden clues and messages in your game kit by sifting through all your materials meticulously. They’re in plain sight but hidden cleverly. The satisfaction of finally finding it is like no other. You’ll feel like a genius, guaranteed!

Once you arrive at the last mystery location, you’ll finally be able to solve the final puzzle by using something that can only be found there. And, when you think you have the correct answer, you’ll need to submit it online through the website to verify it.

This game takes around four hours on average to complete, but that’s if you don’t take any breaks or detours. We highly recommend that you stop for breaks and take in the sights and scenes of the multiple spots the game will take you to. You might end up spending an entire day on this activity, but we promise that you’ll leave with many more memories than you’d expect. It is by far the most unique way to explore Tokyo.

For us members of the global team, it was a really fun and eye-opening experience as it was the first time for some of us. We couldn’t help but marvel at some of the puzzles’ cleverly crafted solutions. It was a wonderful opportunity to see where the series started, and also appreciate how much it has evolved over six editions.

After experiencing this game, we’re even more pumped for what the future editions hold.
We hope you are too and keep checking our space for updates on upcoming releases!


*Kindly note that only the Japanese version of the event is confirmed at the moment. If you want to be informed when the English version is available, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter from here.

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