Entertained by ninjas with food and ninja arts in their secret fortress
In a modern day recreation of a secret ninja fortress, diners are entertained by ninjas. This is the concept behind “NINJA AKASAKA”, a restaurant in Akasaka, Tokyo that has been visited by people such as film director Steven Spielberg and Lady GaGa.
When you open a non-descript door on a jet-black exterior wall of what looks like a fortress, you find a small room surrounded with walls of black panels. Once you step into the room, ninjas, traditional Japanese spy heroes dressed in black, suddenly appear in front of you. They lead you as you enter a hidden entrance and walk through a maze-like passageway to “Ninja Village”. In a space that resembles a fortress, a waterfall cascades and rooms are arranged with a traditional Japanese atmosphere.
“NINJA AKASAKA” serves “cosmopolitan cuisine” that combines various cuisines from around the world, including Japanese, French and Chinese, prepared by chefs who have many years of experience in famous restaurants. The dishes served are also abundantly entertaining; for example, “shuriken star-blades grissini” is made of black crackers shaped like shuriken, a ninja projectile weapon, served with a foie gras paste. There is also a dish made with snow crab and grapefruit with a surprising trick that is triggered when a sword is inserted into the dish. Moreover, superior ninjas visit your table and entertain you with ninja arts.
About 40% of customers are foreign visitors. “NINJA AKASAKA” also accommodates various dietary restrictions by providing options such as vegetarian courses and pork or alcohol free courses. In addition, the restaurant has surprises prepared for guests from each country before they leave. It also has a sister shop, “NINJA KYOTO”, in the Kawaramachi area of Kyoto that contains a restaurant, a sweets store, a souvenir store, and other stores. It would be fun to visit if you are travelling to the Kansai area.
ADDRESS:Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 1F 2-14-3 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo
Open hours:Monday – Saturday: 17:00 – 24:00 (entrance by 22:30)
Sunday, holidays: 17:00 – 23:00 (entrance by 21:45)
*Entrance with children by 19:00 on weekdays (allowed at any time during open hours on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays)
Access:Approx. 3 minutes on foot from Akasaka-mitsuke Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Marunouchi Lines
High-level performance with a carnival-like atmosphere that will dazzle your eyes
Large robots, motorcycles, and carts carrying beautiful women run across a brilliant floor and female dancers in various costumes including Japanese and Western ones perform a glamorous dance – “Robot Restaurant” in Shinjuku, Tokyo is a place where you can enjoy the unprecedented display described above. Coupled with its gorgeousness, with a total construction cost of 10 billion yen, it has been attracting attention since opening last summer.
The free waiting room located on the 3rd floor of the same building in which the show floor is located is already another world, surrounded by mirrors and brilliantly colored lights. More than half of the customers are said to be foreign visitors. The stage of today’s show is the large floor of the basement below the colorfully decorated stairs that look like a tunnel in another dimension seemingly without a floor, walls or spaces.
The show starts as you open a provided boxed meal. Women in costumes with Japanese taste arrive and begin a glamorous dance set to a Japanese drum performance. Next, a performance that includes a marching parade, a motorcycle performance, a show by large robots, and a play with wire work continues for about an hour and a half.
During the latter half of the show, large robots appear one after another. Audience members equipped with penlights provided by the restaurant become more excited and a plane loaded with female dancers flies overhead at the climax. While the stage is being changed, you can have a memorial photo taken with the robots at no extra charge. The charge for the show, food, and drink is 5,000 yen. Although the restaurant is reminiscent of Rio’s Carnival, it is futuristic and carnal. The restaurant can also be enjoyed throughout the year, which is convenient.
ADDRESS:Shinjuku Robot Building B2F, 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Basic performance schedule: First performance 19:00 – Second performance 20:30 – Third performance 22:00
*Schedule subject to change
Access: Approx. 5 minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station on the JR Line
Approx. 5 minutes from Shinjuku Sanchome Station on Tokyo Metro and Toei Shinjuku Line
Other restaurants with unique concepts – fun restaurants through Japan
There are other restaurants with varying unique concepts throughout Japan. A particularly interesting restaurant among these is “Zauo Fishing Restaurant”, which has multiple locations in Tokyo, including Shinjuku, and Fukuoka Prefecture, and branches in large cities including Osaka, Yokohama, and Nagoya. In this restaurant, diners catch sea bream or other fish from a fish tank within the restaurant, and have the fish made into sashimi, sushi, tempura, or other dishes in the kitchen. The appeal of the restaurant the taste of fresh seafood, as though you were playing a game of “catching fish and eating them on the spot”.
Restaurants that simulate prisons with a taste of horror, which also started the boom of unique restaurants, have become common. In “The Lockup”, with locations in cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagoya, staff dressed in police costumes “arrest” you once you enter the restaurant. They “take you in” to a seat surrounded by iron bars and you are served food as a prisoner.
The restaurant’s menu includes cocktails in test tubes, items with eyeball motifs, and a dish with an element of Russian roulette. Moreover, events are held in which monsters appear.
“Sengoku Buyuden”, located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is a restaurant based on the theme of the Sengoku (Warring States) period, in which military commanders from each area competed for supremacy in Japan. The highlights of the restaurant include specially-ordered armor that is displayed inside. For fantasy-themed restaurants, Diamond Dining, which runs various theme restaurants including the previously-mentioned “Sengoku Buyuden”, runs six restaurants that reproduce the world of “Alice in Wonderland”, including “Alice in magical land” in Shinjuku and other restaurant in major wards of Tokyo such as Shibuya, Ginza, and Ikebukuro, and in Umeda, Osaka. Moreover, it also runs “Vampire Cafe”, based on the story of Count Dracula, in Ginza.
There are many interesting restaurants with diverse appeals in Japan. One thing you should keep in mind is that restaurants of this type undergo changes very often due to remodeling or closures. If there are restaurants you would like to visit, it would be better to check their websites in advance and make a reservation. Afterward, enjoy their world views and food to the full.
- Zauo Fishing Restaurant (Japanese)
- Zauo Fishing Restaurant: How to order (Japanese; Brief explanation is provided in English, simplified Chinese, and Korean)
- The Lockup Prison Restaurant (Japanese)
- Ranse no Koshitsu Sengoku Buyuden (Japanese)
- Diamond Dining restaurant search (Japanese)
- Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant (“Alice in Wonderland”, etc.) (Japanese)
- Vampire Café (Japanese)
Variety of entertainment bars and cafes, including official stores of popular animation and game series!
A variety of unique cafes and bars have been appearing as well. Many are based on popular animation or game series; for example, “Luida’s Bar” in Roppongi, Tokyo is an official bar of the popular game series “Dragon Quest” that serves food made in the shapes of game characters in a store recreating the world view of the game, and “GUNDAM Café” in Akihabara, Tokyo is an official cafe of the popular animation series “Mobile Suit GUNDAM”. Among theme cafes, “maid cafes”, where waitresses in maid costume serve customers, are famous. Moreover, cafes in the genre of “animal cafes”, featuring contact with animals such as cats, rabbits, or owls, are also popular.