If you’re looking for a “unique” dining experience for your trip after the COVID-19 crisis, Tokyo has got you covered! Theme dining outlets are located all over the city, from cute character cafes to horror-themed restaurants. Although the food is not always the best, the experience is what you are really paying for. Check out our recommendations for weird restaurants in Tokyo you won’t find at home.
A Robot Dining Show with Lasers
Probably the most famous (and expensive) of all the strange restaurants in Tokyo, the Robot Restaurant (permanently closed) in Kabukicho is a bit of a tourist trap but as long as you know what to expect it can still be an enjoyable but bizarre experience. Don’t pay for the food – it’s not worth the additional cost, and just buy a ticket for the show, which are priced at 8,500 yen each. Expect an evening of robotic monsters, dancing girls, and lasers.
Ninja Performances at Your Table
Ninja Akasaka restaurant is another fun entertainment dining experience, that comes in at a cheaper cost than the Robot Restaurant. The restaurant’s design features a labyrinth dining area and replica Edo-era ninja village staffed by ninja waiters who perform tricks at your table. As for the food, you won’t be eating a traditional ninja meal, the menu seems to have influences from French, Japanese, and Italian cuisine. There’s a selection of different priced seasonal set menus to choose from, the cheapest is 5,800 yen per person and consists of five courses.
Offbeat with Quirky Food and Dance Performances
It’s hard to describe the Kawaii Monster Café, it’s kind of a nightmarish swirl of colors and a bit of an assault on your senses, but a must-visit place if you want to try a distinctive only-in-Japan experience. It gets really busy here in the afternoons, so your best bet is to visit there right after it opens at around 11.30am if you don’t want to wait in line for hours. There is a 500-yen entrance fee per person, and you’ll be expected to order at least one food and drink item each. Don’t come here for the amazing quality food, it’s more of a novelty menu, with items such as rainbow-colored pasta and chocolate chicken on offer.
The Lockup Horror-Themed Restaurant
Attacking monsters and cocktails served with syringes are what you can expect to find at The Lockup, a horror-themed restaurant located in Shinjuku where dining takes place inside your own prison cell and guards serve as waiters. The creative cocktail menu and monster show are the highlights of this experience when the restaurant experiences a total blackout and monsters roam the hallways.
Cute and A Little Crazy French Maid Café
Most people visiting Tokyo have heard of the maid cafes in Akihabara, but At Home is one of the longest-running and tourist-friendly establishments. You’ll be guided to your seat by a waitress dressed as a French maid, before being entertained with song and dance performances. The food is designed to appear super cute rather than tasty, think pancakes in the shape of puppy faces and pastel pink dessert sundaes, and you’ll have to pay a 700-yen entry fee on top of any food that you order.
Robots & Waffles at the Pepper Parlor
For a toned-down and less expensive robotic dining experience, try the Pepper Parlor which opened in Shibuya in 2019. The café is staffed primarily by a team of the famous Pepper robots owned by Softbank, although there are a couple of humans around too if you need them. There’s no entry fee and the best time to visit is during the week when it’s quieter. The menu includes a selection of savory waffle dishes to include fried chicken, egg and ham, whilst sweet options include caramelized banana and strawberry fondue. Expect to pay between 1,500-2,000 yen per dish.
Catch Your Own Dinner
At the Zauo fishing restaurant in Meguro, you can receive discounts from the menu by catching your fish. The restaurant has a large tank full of live fish where diners can rent a fishing rod for 100 yen and catch their dinner before handing it over to the staff to prepare for eating. After catching your fish, you can choose whether you would prefer it served as sashimi, grilled, or deep-fried. It’s probably some of the freshest seafood you will ever eat!
If you plan to travel solo to Tokyo and would like to experience one of these weird restaurants, download the free-to-use Oody app now and arrange a foodie meetup with fellow travelers or locals in the near future.