You can find all types of cuisines in Tokyo, but you don’t go to these cafés and restaurants for the food; you go for the experience. The abundance of themed restaurants range from cat cafés, maid cafés and anime restaurants to more obscure offerings such as the Robot Restaurant and the prison asylum-themed restaurant ALCATRAZ E.R. It’s worth plotting weird cafes in your Tokyo itinerary as many are very popular and require reservations.
Let’s look at some of Tokyo’s weirdest dining experiences that you won’t be able to stop talking about when you get home.
Weird Theme Cafes to Experience in Tokyo
Vampires have always fascinated the human psyche and with the popularity of Twilight, True Blood and the The Vampire Diaries, they are a certified pop culture hit and just won’t die (see what I did there?).
If you think Dracula is dreamy or you love all things blood-sucking, it’s time to visit the Vampire Café in Ginza. Depending on your party size, you’ll dine at a ‘victim’ table or a coffin. A coffin. The theme, unsurprisingly, is blood red and black, heavy curtains and candles, and the cuisine is French and Italian (with a hint of faux blood). Your waiters are dressed in traditional vampire attire (more easily recognisable than modern vampire dress, i.e. dressed just like you) and may just jump out at you from behind a corner while you’re dining to give you a good scare. If you’re lucky!
Address: La Paix Building 7F, 6-7-6, Ginza, Chuo
Alice’s Fantasy Restaurants
Alice in Wonderland is the theme of these restaurants and with five branches in Tokyo and one in Osaka. You can fall down the rabbit hole almost every night of the week, and have a different experience in each one.
They cuisine is French and Italian in style and is brought to your table by pinafore-wearing waitresses dressed like Alice. You won’t just receive food, but specially crafted meals such as a Cheshire cat-shaped pasta dish. It’s too cute.
With so many Alice-themed restaurants to choose from, you can pick your poison, as each one is themed to a different aspect of her adventure:
Alice in a Dancing Land. Address: Zero gate B1, 16-9, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0042.
Alice in a Labyrinth. Address: Sun building 5F, 8-8-5, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061.
Alice in Fantasy Book. Address: T-wing building B2, 1-6-2, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0021.
Alice in Magical Land. Address: The Shinjuku west entrance Hulke B3F 1-5-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0023.
Alice in an Old Castle. Address: Fujikyu building east, Building No. 3 B1, 2-16-8, Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-0022.
You don’t go to the Robot Restaurant for the food (the only option is a simple Bento box), it’s the mind-blowing cabaret show you’re really there for.
With every shiny surface covered in neon LEDs and lasers shooting at everything throughout the room, the go-go girls, Japanese drummers and scantily-clad metallic girl group performers are just the beginning. Come and watch robot versus robot versus dinosaur versus mermaid-riding shark. The Robot Restaurant is high-tech Tokyo brought to life. Don’t forget your camera.
Address: 1-7-1, Kabukicho, Shinjuku
Leave the kids at home for this one and make a night of it with pre-dinner drinks and dinner at ALCATRAZ E.R. Be prepared for a stomach churning, laugh-inducing scare of a dining experience at this prison hospital restaurant.
This is definitely one you’ll tell your friends about. Diners eat in prison cells and you had better not be shy when it comes to ordering; you have bang on the cell for service or you might not eat.
Don’t expect gourmet food – reports are the meals are a bit hit-and-miss, but the atmosphere of blackouts, scares aplenty and meals including a ‘human head’, a side of sex toys and drinks in test tubes, makes for an unforgettable dining experience.
Address: 2-13-5 Dogenzaka, Harvest Building 2F, Shibuya
There are plenty of fun restaurants to visit in Japan, such as those with ninja, sumo, ghost and Kyoto themes, and if having coffee with cats wasn’t cute enough, there’s even a goat café. Research ahead of time and you’ll find an experience you’ll never forget.
Note: most of these restaurants featured here charge a service charge and 10 per cent tax, plus an obligation to purchase a drink with your meal. If you’re budget-conscious, make sure to check ahead with the restaurant.
Feature Image: Robot Restaurant / CC by 2.0 / Cory Doctorow