This June when I headed to Japan, there was one place on top of my bucket list of things to do in Tokyo-a visit to Robot restaurant. What can I say, it did not disappoint but in fact left me stunned for it was the most bizarre and crazy thing I have seen till now! Everything about the robot restaurant is gaudy and wacky! It is a 2-hour experience full of weird sounds and spectacular visuals. Even though I had heard a lot about it but nothing had prepared me for what I experienced when I actually visited this place!
NOTE: Do not miss enjoying the glimpses of the show with our videos in the end of this article!
Things to know before you visit Robot Restaurant…Thank us later!
Before I start a word of caution- this place is situated in Kabukicho , which is a red light district in Shinjuku. Don’t get lured by those touts selling a quick fix by a Japanese girl (if you know what I mean).
You will be ripped off at least 500-1000 USD in no time so beware.
Two, Robot restaurant is expensive!The ticket cost is 8000 yen. Also if you are someone who gets uncomfortable with high decibel levels, you might want to reconsider this show as it is really high on pitch, in a closed area and can cause palpitations. Though there is no minimum age limit, taking kids along is not a great idea because not only will you spend on an extra ticket but little children may actually get scared with all the noise and bizarre visuals.
Fun begins here!
The ticket counter is just opposite the robot restaurant and quite conspicuous with a whole wall adorning photographs of celebrities from all over the world who have been here. The shop also has a lot of souvenirs and as with most of the things in Japan they are not cheap! One can also buy tickets online which will not only avoid disappointment of not getting them on arrival but may also save some money on account of discounts. Buying Robot restaurant tickets online has just one downside - one needs to reach the venue at least 40 minutes early. It is possible to book the tickets on phone and pay on arrival just 5 minutes before the show. But knowing Japanese is a must for booking on phone. If you have local friends then ask them to become useful in this case!
There are 4 shows daily, the timings are - 4 pm, 5:15 pm, 7:45 pm and 9:50 pm.
Robot Restaurant….not much of a restaurant!
The minute you are ushered in, all the expectations of being in a restaurant start crashing around you. A walk through a narrow alley and then down the stairs two levels underground is how the entrance to this restaurant is.
You will pass through some really colorful walls with weird colorful lizards and some otherworldly things painted on them. By this time you are already a little dazed with the visuals. The seating is on either side of a long hall. Each side has small tables and chairs arranged in three rows. In the middle before the show starts some boys and girls appear holding placards giving funny instructions and warnings like "The show is about to start, If you go to restroom now, you will not be able to return for the next 15 minute " or how about this one "please put your phone on airplane mode or switch off wi-fi as it Interferes with robot signals." Seriously?!! There are also some stands in this area selling popcorn and alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.
The show begins
Right after the quirky instructions the show started and what a start it was!! The first performance was this loud dance of young boys and girls on the beats of drums. It was crazy, weird and oh-how- wonderfully done!
The performers were wearing masks and had colorful clothing.
Then came the performers on small moving platforms that turned around so that everyone could get a good view of them.
Next was a dance performance by two guys wearing masks and riding these strange bikes during the performance.
Kindly visit the Loo!
After this performance,there was a 15 minutes break in which you are encouraged to go to loo. I highly recommend that you go to the loo even if you don't feel like peeing because you would not have seen anything like it- it is all gold colored! From the second you enter this place it feels that the creators did not restrain their imagination anywhere when conceptualizing and executing their plans to create robot restaurant.
In every break they bring back the food and drink trolleys. The food is not that expensive. A big bucket of Popcorn is sold for 500 yen and a glass of beer/wine for the same price as well. The local specialty Sake is sold for 1000 yen. Other glasses of wine are for as low as 200-300 yen
Robots, aliens and a surprise in the end!
Soon the performance resumed and this time it was a fairly long musical, action skit about a planet where the people lived in harmony but are attacked by evil robot empire. Sounds weird ? - I told ya it has its eccentricities. The whole sequence is about how the people fought back and ultimately killed all the evil robots.
There was another short break and again the warning placards were up. This time they warned that this was the last chance to pee and if you didn’t go for it now you will not be able to go during the next break as it would be short. Frankly, the way they coax you to pee, you would be reminded of the mothers of toddlers, who are always taking little ones to the loo! The next performance was called 'King Robota' with two huge robots standing on either side of the alley with around six guys wearing clothes with neon tubes attached to it. The dance was spectacular to say the least.
The short break resumed and it was actually short. We were handed neon lights. This was supposed to be the last performance and one of the best. It started with a skimpily clad girl introducing other girls who come in the middle and did a jig during this time. Then the main performance started with a bang! These girls were riding robots and singing live and they danced amazingly well. The closing performance was one big surprise – YMCA song!
Soon the show ended and the performers gave us high fives and went behind the curtains. We left through another narrow set of stairs and came out with faces dripping with astonishment, delight and complete bewilderment!
How to reach
Robot Restaurant is situated just 5 min walk away from Shinjuku metro station. Shinjuku station is very well connected by Metro through Marunouchi line (red line), Shinjuku line (light green line) and Dedo line (pink line). You can refer to the map to see how to reach Shinjuku by Metro. Once at Shinjuku station, head for the East exit and then cross the road and enter the narrow lane right opposite to the station. Keep going straight. You will cross a small lane perpendicular to the one you are on and enter another narrow lane. Keep going straight and you will see Robot restaurant on your right. Don't hesitate to ask for directions. Its a very known place and Japanese people are very helpful
Alternatively , you can alight from Metro at Shinjuku-sanchome Station and head for Exit B12. The Restaurant is just 5 mins walk from there.
Robot restaurant is something very close to a cabaret but not really a cabaret. In fact, ͞Robot restaurant is actually a misnomer. There is nothing like a restaurant here and actually quite little to do with robots. What it is definitely about is an extravaganza that I bet you have never experienced in your life nor you ever will! If Tokyo is on your list then don’t forget to book your tickets to this once in a lifetime experience!
Have a look at the below set of videos that we shot a Robot restaurant .