The vibrant and bustling metropolis of Tokyo is home to over 100,000 restaurants and can even boast more Michelin stars than the culinary delights of Paris. However, it comes as no surprise that a city known for its unusual and peculiar oddities, is home to a number of themed restaurants, from the seemingly straightforward to the downright strange. Here are five of our favorites.
A disconcerting mix between a prison, a hospital and a medieval dungeon, Alcatraz ER makes for a disturbingly unnerving dining experience. Customers are led to prison cells to enjoy their last supper, surrounded by chainsaws, handcuffs and servers dressed as doctors and nurses from a mental ward. Enjoy food such as the ‘dead chicken’ and drinks served in mannequin heads and test tubes, with cocktails distributed in syringes. There’s a lot of bloodcurdling screaming, unexpected blackouts and even a guy running menacingly around the corridors dressed in a Jason mask. Not for the fainthearted!
Dogenzaka 2-13-5, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043, Harvest Building 2F alcatraz-er.net
Alice in Wonderland
Go through the looking glass and spend the evening in this Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant. Let yourself be led through a large door that opens like a page of a book and onwards down a rabbit hole corridor adorned with passages from Lewis Caroll’s classic story. Once inside, you’ll be met with an eccentric establishment: teacup shaped booths, playing cards all over the walls and ceiling and waitresses dressed up as Alice. Join the Mad Hatter tea party and enjoy appetisers served on a chessboard, complete with ‘Eat me!’ notes and relish the peculiar confusion brought on by the different sized lamps – have you shrunk just like Alice?
Taiyo Bldg, 5F, 8-8-5 Ginza, Chou-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 alice-restaurant.com
If you want the thrill of the chase without any of the danger, Ninja Aksaka is the place for you. Hidden behind a featureless black doorway, customers are led perilously across drawbridges and down winding passages, emerging in a maze-like cave, decked out as a 17th century Edo village. Waiters dressed as ninjas sneak up and down the corridors inconspicuously, staying fully in character for the entire evening and your food is brought to you in a mysterious blur of flames and smoky dry ice.
1F Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 2-14-3 Nagata-cho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo ninjaakasaka.com
Whether you’re religious or not, the Catholic theme of the Christon Café will make even an atheist feel unsettled. Latching onto the fascination with all things gothic renaissance, the medieval-feeling restaurant is decked out with stained glass windows, painted ceilings, wrought iron, gargoyles, candlelit altars, organs, wooden dining booths with velvet curtains and crucifix shaped menus. Remember not to sin because giant statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary will watch over you as you eat.
8-9F Oriental Wave, 5-17-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Cat Café Nekorobi
If you’re a fan of furry felines but you don’t have the means to keep a pet, then Cat Café Nekorobi is the perfect place for you. Hugely popular in Tokyo, there are a number of cat cafés across the city, where you can simply spend a few hours drinking a coffee or enjoying a cake, surrounded by a whole crowd of resident cats. Our pick is Cat Café Nekorobi, where the atmosphere makes for a very calm and soothing experience like no other. It’s also hugely popular as a first date venue!
3F Tact T.O Building Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toyoshima-ku, Tokyo nekorobi.jp