It’s no secret – Japan is the land of all things weird and crazy. I mean, glow-in-the-dark toilet bowls that play music?! Tell me that’s not weird and crazy!
But nothing is weirder, crazier, flashier, more outrageous, and more bizarre than a place in Shinjuku called Robot Restaurant, which is known for its extraordinary 1 hour-long shows with flashing neon lights, giant robots, and sexy Japanese women in their skimpy bikinis, doing tribal dances, pounding on drums, or riding humongous “dragons” or life-size silver horses. What kind of restaurant is this, you ask? The kind where food is the last thing you’ll think of!
A trip to the Robot Restaurant was a non-negotiable for me when we visited Tokyo. The tickets are a tad expensive at ¥7,000 per head, but if you are ever in this city of all things quirky, spending a little on a visit to Robot Restaurant is worth it, if only for the bragging rights that you went to this cool place that has been visited by people like Anthony Bourdain, Tim Burton, Katy Perry, or Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead.
It’s hard to describe the Robot Restaurant, really. But my best attempt to explain it would probably be this: it’s an erotic, eccentric, electric, and futuristic sci-fi entertainment extravaganza full of psychedelic randomness!
After falling in line at the ticket counter, guests are directed to the other side of the street and enter a building which is where the show takes place. Guests are first seated in a kaleidoscopic waiting area decorated with ceilings made of mirrors and neon lights, walls made out of crystals, and furniture and carpets in loud and over-elaborate prints.
While waiting, guests are entertained by female Japanese performers wearing brilliant costumes, then later on joined by – what else? – musicians in robot costumes!
But wait! That is just an appetizer! The real fun starts when you enter the underground room where the actual show happens – and in there, you’ll experience a one-of-a-kind spectacle of extreme insanity!
To kick off the show, a bright red float designed with Japanese characters and ritual masks, appears, carrying a scantily-clad Japanese woman banging on her drums. Later, dancers with platinum and bright red orange hair emerge, also on moving floats, as they pound on their own tribal drums and perform some tribal dances.
After the loud banging and beating of drums, the stage suddenly transformed into this serene and silver fantasy land. Heavenly ladies serenaded the crowd with their soothing voices while on a sparkly crystal horse, while some musicians in dazzling silver garments played their instruments.
And then when we least expected it, it was “party mode” again when they broke into a funky Lady Gaga and Beyonce song, complete with robot back-up dancers! This show is really full of surprises!
The stage later on transformed into a huge boxing ring where the battle of Robot vs. Robot transpired…
… as well as the battle of Robot vs. Human! The ring girls picked out a random and lucky audience member who got to slug it out with one of the robot fighters while donning colossal boxing gloves.
Don’t worry. No robots were harmed in this fake battle.
Visitors are treated with a delightful display of lights, colors, and sounds. Even the illustrations for the background are all so detailed and stunning!
As the show progressed, the antics became even kookier. At Robot Restaurant, the saying “Expect the Unexpected” couldn’t be more true. One minute, you’re watching Kung Fu Panda riding a bull, and the next, you’ll see a female Captain America mounted on a dragon!
Just looking at the photos, you will see that there is really no “program” or “order of events” here — just a hodgepodge of all sorts of oddities, and a no holds barred panoply of all things fun and flashy.
Of course, it wouldn’t be called “Robot Restaurant” if there weren’t any robots… or at least characters that resemble robots. And there were plenty!
Glow sticks were distributed to the audience, encouraging each one to wave them in the air and join in the shindig. It was one big, zany, and multicolored party!
Next, giant fembots carrying seductive female dancers stole the show, as robots on wheels and scooters whizzed past, adding energy to the dance floor.
The show ended with a delightful number by the dancers, who looked irritatingly cute yet sexy at the same time in their sweet, candy-colored costumes, leaving all the slimeballs in the room ogling away!
The show at Robot Restaurant was an awesome blowout of epic proportions! It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It’s for anyone and everyone who just wants to be surprised, amazed, and entertained!
Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect from the show, though I’m pretty sure they change this from time to time:
Things to note:
- Check your hotel if they have any free discount flyers for Robot Restaurant. If they do, definitely bring them when you visit Robot Restaurant. The staff at the ticketing booth will ask you for it.
- Before making a booking, do check the official website first for the updated schedules.
- Come to the venue 30 minutes before the show starts. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your reservation.
- Once you book, you can no longer change the booking date and there will be no refund.
- This may be a restaurant but it is recommended to eat elsewhere prior to the show. The meal comes in a bento box, and at ¥1,000 per person, I honestly don’t think the servings are that generous.
- Photography and recording of video is allowed and you will get the chance to take some photos with the robots during the break
- If you are tempted to touch the female dancers (I’m a girl and even I was tempted! Haha!), please don’t even try. Touching them is not allowed. But if they touch you first, then I guess that’s not a problem!
- Want to expose your child to this robotic burlesque? Children are allowed inside but might not be recommended for very small children because of the high noise levels
- Make sure to book in advance as the tickets get sold fast!
Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Take the East exit from the Shinjuku station)
Phone Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Business Hours: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Entrance Fee: ¥7,000 per person
Meal Fee: ¥1,000 per person