18 Aug Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan
It was the most bizarre scene we had ever laid eyes on. We exchanged glances and laughed, wondering what exactly we had gotten ourselves into as we stared at the sensory overload in front of us. A whirlwind of bright lights, dancers, robots, and thumping electronic techno music played out in front of our eyes, and at the end of the show, we were pumping our neon glow-sticks in waves of unison around the room.
Located in the Kabukicho section of Shinjuku neighborhood, you will find the Robot Restaurant tucked away on one of the tiny roads amongst a sea of lights.
Words, photos nor video can properly describe the Robot Restaurant experience. But, as strange as it was, we absolutely loved it, probably because it is one of those “only in Japan” type of experiences that leaves you both scratching your head and giggling with glee. Yes, it is touristy, but apparently it wasn’t created with the intention to be–it was originally created for the salary men, but it caught on with tourists.
The show cost around 10 billion yen to create and has seen visitors such as Anthony Bourdain and Katy Perry. Themed restaurants seem to be around every corner in Japan–you can find themes such as ninja restaurants, Alice in Wonderland, maid cafes, cat cafes and the Robot Restaurant is no exception, except that is almost more of a show than a dining experience.
The three hour show starts off with a visit to the psychedelic bar upstairs. Depending on where you purchase your tickets, dinner and a drink may be included in your ticket price. Come early (or stay late) to enjoy a robot clad band and a mind numbingly glitzy bar while you wait for the real craziness to begin.
Once the show is about to start, you will descend down a trippy stairwell to the stage. In typical Japanese fashion, the seats are pretty crammed in and tiny.
Dinner will be served prior to the start of the show, and there are a few bento box options to choose from. We opted for the chicken and rice, but fair warning: do not come here for the food! We weren’t impressed with our cold, bland food, and from the reviews I read prior to our visit, no one else was either. I would recommend eating before or after the show, but either way, this experience is not about the food–it is definitely all about the show.
Once the food is served, get ready for an evening of eccentricity. I really don’t want to give away too many details about the show, but let’s just say you will find a mind boggling mix of scantly clad dancers, robot fights, neon lights, takio drumming, LED screens, bumping music and a storyline that will leave you wondering, “what in the world am I witnessing?!”
Here’s a little video compilation from a few scenes of the show, but it really doesn’t do it justice. It’s definitely one of those spots you just need to see for yourself!
There are multiple shows a night and tickets, costing ¥6,000-¥7,000 (about $48-$56) per person, can be purchased from a variety of outlets. We purchased our tickets at a discounted ¥4,500 (about $36) per person through Japanican.com and they included dinner, a pre-show drink and a bottle of water. It’s a good idea to shop around because it seemed like there were numerous deals offered on various sites.
Have you ever been to the Robot Restaurant or any other themed restaurant in Japan?