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Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant show is a pretty crazy spectacle and a total feast for the eyes. Think giant robots, even bigger dinosaurs, crazy sharks, laser beams, dancing pandas, taiko drummers, bikini clad women and so much more dancing right before your eyes. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before and my description probably doesn’t do it any justice. It was certainly one of the highlights of our two week Japan trip.
2023 UPDATE: Robot Restaurant is temporarily closed with no re-opening date planned yet
The show is performed 4 times daily in a basement in Tokyo’s entertainment district Kabukicho, located in the Blade Runner esque district of Shinjuku.
The Robot show is performed 4 times a day in a basement in Tokyo’s entertainment district Kabukicho, located in the Blade Runner esque district of Shinjuku. Apparently it cost 10 billion yen to build, which is a crazy amount of money! The show was featured on the legend that is Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown’ TV programme, where he described it as “The greatest show on earth” It is not hard to disagree with that statement.
Advance booking for this themed cafe is essential as it always sells out. The cheapest tickets I could find were on the Japanican website for 6,800 yen per ticket instead of the advertised 8,000 yen (and it also includes a free drink). The deal also says you get the best seats in the house which might be true as ours were in the front row. Discount vouchers for this themed can also be found for the show in some of those free tourist magazines that you can pick up in train stations and hotels. The ticket price does not include food but there is an option on the online booking form to pre-order a sushi bento box.
To reach the restaurant, exit Shinjuku station from the east gate and it is located a 5 minute walk away. Once you arrive (you honestly can’t miss the building!) you will be treated to some very funky hallways and the most fantastic and metallic retina-burning mirrored bar area, adorned with LCD lights and grand golden snail-shell shaped chairs. You will spend ages taking photos (or is that just something I do?).
Arrive at least half an hour early to claim your free drink in the waiting area (if it is included in your ticket price) and to find a comfy seat so you can watch the really cool robot band perform on stage. Definitely visit the toilet and take your camera in with you as its pretty bling.
Five minutes before the show begins you will be led down a flowery and mirrored stairwell to your reserved seating – pre-ordered bento boxes are handed out, and you have the option to purchase popcorn and beer.
Then the craziness begins! A terrific techno cabaret unfolds – a cavalcade of dancers, dinosaurs, robots, ninjas and all manner of eclectic entertainers vie for your tension – neon madness ensues, like an overspill from Bladerunner. We were lucky enough to sit in the front row and with our neon glow sticks in hand, we really got behind the high octane antics and had an incredible evening (truly an awesome assault on the senses).
When I visited in March 2016, Robot Restaurant had just opened a sister bar down the road called Ren, an American style bar and cafe (but in true Robot Restaurant style – totally blinged up to the max!). As you leave the show you are handed a free drink voucher, and the bar is about a 3 minute walk away. The bar is pretty awesome inside – the furniture is ornate and sparkly, giant LCD screens show videos of the glitzy Las Vegas skyline, and on the stage is live piano and double bass music. It’s worth a wander down to take advantage of the free drink and to take some photos of it’s cool interior.
Then the rest of the night is free to explore Shinjuku. There are plenty of awesome looking meaty and noodle restaurants to eat in if you are hungry. Plus many Karaoke bars!!
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