Robot Restaurant, Kabukicho

By Kelly Wetherille
November 29, 2013
Food & Drink, Lifestyle

By now, pretty much everyone has heard of the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, but not necessarily everyone has seen the place firsthand. If you're one of these people, let me be the one to tell you: you have to go. It is likely the most unbelievable, insane, over-the-top place you could possibly spend an evening in Tokyo. And that's saying a lot for this city. But really, there are no words, photographs or video evidence that can truly capture the experience or do it justice. The only solution is to go and see it for yourself.

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First of all, “restaurant” is a misnomer in this case. Robot Restaurant doesn’t even have a kitchen as far as I can tell, and the ¥5,000 entrance fee just includes a cold, tasteless bento box and a small bottle of green tea (beer, chu-hi and soft drinks are available for purchase). But let’s be honest, you’re not going for the food. You’re going for the blinged-out, souped-up craziness that required a ¥10 billion investment, and that you’ll be telling your friends about for weeks.

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Here are just a few of the things you might find at the Robot Restaurant:

  • Robots—on roller-skates, on Segways, at a DJ station, dressed as samurai—just lots and lots of robots of all types and sizes
  • Dinosaurs (fighting robots, naturally)
  • Pole dancers and drummers—who perform these actions atop moving robot leg-platforms
  • Various plush animals, including pandas, tigers, chickens and cows
  • A sexy spider-woman, riding a giant spider
  • More mirrors, video screens and flashing lights than even the worst pachinko parlor imaginable (it’s not for the faint of heart)

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And so, so much more. Plus, the show changes from day to day, so even if you’ve been before, there’s a good chance you could go again and see something entirely different. Truly an only-in-Japan experience, it’s something that everyone should do at least once. So go. Don’t overthink it, don’t worry about whether you’ll like it or not (it’s not about that either), just get a group together and go. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.

The Deets

Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-3200-5500 (call ahead for reservations to ensure you get a seat at your preferred showtime)

Showtimes: Mon-Sat, 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m.; Sun, 7 p.m.

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