Dining out in Tokyo, Japan is by no means a simple affair. In fact, it’s quite often literally out of this world. Tokyo’s themed restaurants have kept customers on their toes for the past decade, and there’s something for every taste. Think: dress-up party meets disneyland meets computer game meets… your worst nightmare, these establishments are not for the faint hearted.
Entering into one of the following eateries is akin to entering an entirely new world; Tokyo’s themed restaurants commit to their theme as if it were a film set and are beloved by celebrities from across the globe. The settings are extreme, the waiters are in full costume and you may well be pulled into the drama.
The Ninja Fortress
A convincing ninja will greet you at the door of Ninja Akasaka, then lead you down the dimly lit tunnels of a ninja fortress to your dining table, surrounded by cascading waterfalls and arranged in a typical Japanese dining style. Ensure you stay alert to avoid the traps and concealed places within the restaurant! The ninjas will reappear throughout the meal to entertain you with their tricks.
The menu is in keeping with the theme; whilst the cuisine is described as ‘cosmopolitan’, encompassing a wide range of influences from Japanese to French, the food is presented ninja-style. For instance, a black cracker and foie gras dish shaped like a shuriken, a ninja projectile weapon.
The infamous Lock Up is a, frighteningly realistic, prison-themed restaurant. Once you’re acceptably handcuffed and unable to escape, you will be lead to your dungeon by waiters dressed as [sexy] prison attendants for dinner, think fetish. Attempted breakouts provide entertainment whilst eating.
Food and drink is served by means of syringes labeled ‘Lethal Injection’ and the like, to be spiked by fake cocaine or ‘cyanid’ liquid capsules.
This overwhelming establishment is a Japanese Brazilian cabaret-carnival, with robots, in a club named the Robot Restaurant. The mirrors, bright lights and pounding base sets the scene for the parade of gorgeous women in costumes and/or little clothing, huge robots and motorcycles, while you observe from the sidelines, munching on your boxed meal. The food isn’t much, but the spectacle with certainly satisfy certain appetites…
For Milder Tastes
Hard-core themed eateries are not for everyone, and luckily Tokyo offers many quirky options with small, rather than potentially heart-attack inducing thrills.
At Zauo, you eat what you can catch. All customers are seated on a ‘boat’ and equipped with fishing lines from which to catch their dinner, swimming in the surrounding water tanks, a little kitschy, but fun nonetheless. Once caught, your meal will be prepared by the restaurant’s chefs. If you have little faith in your fishing skills, it is advised to order off the menu, as all catches must be paid for.
It’s difficult not to be enchanted by Lewis Carroll’s icon tale of Alice in Wonderland. Ehon no Kuni no Alice (lit: Alice’s Picture Book World) restaurant embraces this wonderful land, with playing-card tables, Queen-of-Hearts crown napkins and larger than life mushrooms decorating the walls.
Even the food, of French and Italian cuisine, fits the theme, with pasta shaped like the Cheshire Cat and playing card crackers.
Tetsudo-Izakaya (lit: Railway Pub), or Little TGV, is all about the choo-choo. With waiters dressed as ticket inspectors, punching fake tickets, carriage seat-booths and food served in miniature trains, this is a place for true train-nerds. Railway memorabilia decorates the walls to provide some serious eye candy. Unlike other restaurants listed, this eatery mainly caters to Japanese railway enthusiasts, so has the added bonus of a truly ‘local’ experience.
A Quick Bite
To experience the Tokyo food culture on the go head to the following eateries for a quirky spin on fast food. And when we say eateries, we mean vending machines, but not as you know it!
1. Tateishi Burger is a minuscule side of the road shop cum human powered vending machine. Simply drop a ¥100 coin into the pay slot and wait for your burger to appear!
2. Around Tokyo station lies a bar unlike any other, put simply: a vending machine with alcohol, not bad. It technically operates by facial recognition technology, so as not to deliver alcohol to minors, but definitely has some minor hitches!