Japan’s Craziest Themed Cafés and Restaurants
There’s no better place to experience the colorful and flashy aspects of Japanese culture than at the country’s themed cafés. From gloomy dungeons to the crazy world of Alice in Wonderland, there’s everything you can imagine! It’s hard to understand why this exciting way of dining still hasn’t arrived in the West. Looks like we don’t have much choice – to Japan we go! To prepare, here are some of the country’s craziest themed cafés.
Exciting and Dark?
Fancy some prison food? Admittedly, most people would say “no” – but don’t run away just yet! Instead, get locked up in the Lock-Up! (It’s much more fun than it sounds, we promise.) This Kantō franchise is more of a restaurant than a café, but it is still worth a visit. The menu includes refreshing drinks and snacks with clever names, like the Psychopath Medusa Cocktail or the Execution by Burning at a Stake Meal, giving it an authentic prison atmosphere. But be careful! As you walk to your seat, a few prisoners might try to escape, so don’t be surprised by any running cops, loud sirens, or bright flashlights. Or maybe you’re one of the culprits. If so, a staff member will handcuff you and take you to your table.
An invitation from Count Dracula himself – you’ll feel like you’re visiting his humble abode at the Vampire Café. It’s dark, gloomy, and blood-red as far as the eye can see, with the only source of light emitting from the candles atop some coffins. You can even sit in your own crimson throne and top off your newfound royalty with a drink (which should only contain cherry juice…)! The cocktails match the vampire theme, and the food is equally impressive. The attention to detail and ornate Baroque music make you forget the outside world for a while. Sit back comfortably and enjoy the atmosphere with some blood-orange juice and spider-shaped ice cream.
This ninja restaurant in Akasaka, Tokyo, delivers exactly what its name implies! Still, nothing about this place is predictable. The staff members, dressed in full ninja wear, don’t greet you at a designated counter like in a typical restaurant; instead, they appear out of nowhere and guide you to your seat. They then hand you a secret scroll – the menu! Feel free to tell them what you want to eat. Turban shell bombs or soup on hot stones – everything is prepared ninja-style. To round off your visit is an impressive ninja show. The full package makes for an unforgettable stay!
Super Fast or High Up?
Now that’s what we call fast food! At the high-speed sushi restaurant, Uobei, you receive your food in under a minute via conveyor belts installed along the seats. This way, both you and the manager know the food is fresh. You can take the plates off and put them back on the belt when you’re done. Ordering food is just as easy. Simply select your meal from the provided tablet, and presto: it’s there! The menu is available in English too, so there’s no need to worry about any language barrier.
Usually, “very cloudy” is not a very appealing weather forecast. But it’s perfect if you’re headed to Unkai Terrace in Hokkaido! At almost 1,100 meters, you’ll find yourself in a literal sea of clouds (hence “Unkai”). And if you want a slightly different view, come back when the weather is clearer to admire the beautiful mountains. As you do so, you’ll get to sip on warm tea or coffee and enjoy some delicious pastries and soup! Come any time between May to October for some spectacular views and delightful delicacies.
Pop or Culture?
Gotta catch ‘em all! Japan is currently home to two Pokemon-themed cafés: one in Tokyo and one in Osaka. Both offer a chance to get up close and personal with different Pokémon. Some even sit at the table next to you and keep you company! They’re insanely popular, so if you want to eat at one, you must book up to a month in advance. The wait is absolutely worth it, though. Both the food and the decor have mesmerizing details. You can order super delicious meals, shakes, and pastries in adorable Pokémon designs! The menu is on tablets, too, making communication much easier. If you’re lucky, Pikachu might even come out of the kitchen for a few minutes and say hello!
If you’re in the mood for a more traditional Japanese meal, then the Kaguwa Show Restaurant in Roppongi, Tokyo, is the right place for you. The restaurant combines elements from the Edo period with those found in a modern theatre, which is exactly what you’ll get for dinner: a unique mix of Geishas, samurais, and Oiran packed into a 45-minute show. And if you’re thinking, “I don’t speak Japanese. How am I supposed to understand anything?”, then we have more good news: the performance is more dance than actual dialogue. Once the show is over, you can even take a picture with the performers.
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factoryin Kichijoji is very close to theGhibli Museum, making for a great day out! After visiting the museum, dig into the factory’s famous Totoro-shaped cream puffs. While you can’t sit down there, the nearby Inokashira Park is a great place to relax. Another alternative is the Setagaya branch. If you’re early, you’ll find a counter stacked with more adorable Totoro cream puffs. You can buy the vanilla and chocolate-filled pastries all year round, while other flavors, like strawberry, peach, chestnut, caramel, and matcha, vary depending on the season. Since the treats sell out very quickly, it’s best to get there in the morning.
Alice’s Fantasy Café
This themed café’s stunning decor and delicious food are enough to drive you crazy! With five unique locations, it’s hard to decide where to go first. You can dive into different parts of Lewis Carroll’s novel: Alice in a Labyrinth, Alice in Fantasy Land, Alice in an Old Castle, Alice in a Fantasy Book, and Alive in Magical Land. Follow us into the Alice’s Fantasy Café rabbit hole!
First, you’ll climb through a giant book into the story, then be guided to your table by… a teacup? Under a sea of hearts? Inside a carousel? To a clock? Or a deck of cards? Your imagination has no limits here!
The café’s detailed design stays true to the novel and makes you feel like you’re part of it. The staff is also dressed as Alice or the Mad Hatter. In some cafés, they’ll even give you an Alice or rabbit-style hairband! The food is also designed to resemble the characters. But don’t worry – you won’t grow or shrink ten times your size if you try the treats here! You can order Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumcocktails, sweet desserts, cakes shaped like the Cheshire Cat, or caterpillar sushi (don’t worry, it’s only caterpillar-shaped!). All you’ll have left to say is, “A little more tea, please!”
Giant toads fighting ninja turtles? Crazy is an understatement here. At the Robot Restaurant, you’ll watch the spectacle of a lifetime! You can sip drinks from glowing light bulbs or have a meal, but most people just order big buckets of popcorn. The focal point is the show – a mixture of impressive robots and performers wearing flamboyant costumes. They sing and dance while colorful lights, lasers, and explosions make this place glow like nowhere else!
Who would’ve thought that eating out could be so much fun? And not to add, delicious! Japan breaks the mold with its crazy themed cafés and restaurants. Here, you can immerse yourself in the culinary worlds of prisoners, vampires, Pokémon, and ninjas! You can even get a taste of Japan’s more traditional side at Roppongi Kaguwa. Each themed café has a unique charm, carefully designed decor, and themed dishes, often paired with a show. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to the wonderland that is Japan!