You can’t go to Tokyo without checking out the Robot Restaurant. While it may be touristy, the place puts on a show like no other. If you are into the crazy, colorful, high-tech side of Japanese culture, you are going to love this.
Here’s my experience visiting the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo!
Shinjuku’s Kabukicho District
Japan’s largest red light district, the Shinjuku’s Kabukicho District, is the place to be at night. Don’t let the “red light” district idea put you off. This area is totally friendly to female travelers.
It’s the perfect spot to check out Tokyo nightlife. And the Robot Restaurant.
There are tons of bars, clubs, and other local hangouts. Really, you can have a great night out just wandering around the Kabukicho District to take photos and do some people watching.
Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Tokyo’s Golden Gai
What to Expect Inside
Grab a sake and get ready to be impressed. The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo offers a cabaret-style show with singing, dancing, girls, robots, and a whole lot of things that you will only find in Japan.
There’s nothing understated about this place. Rumor has it that it cost a whopping 10 billion yen ($89.5 million USD) to build the Robot Restaurant. It has all of the bells and whistles along with more sights and sounds than you could ever take in.
You’ll need to make reservations. Depending on the time of year, there are three to four shows per day running from early evening to ten at night.
You can make a reservation on the restaurant’s website up until 5:00 p.m. on the day of the show. You can also call after 5:00. When you book, you’ll pay an entrance fee of 8,000 yen (around $70 USD).
Helpful Tip: A week before I flew to Tokyo, I bought discounted tickets through an third party which I would suggest as well. There are lots of websites offering tickets so do your research!
You can also pay an extra 1,000 yen (around $9 USD) for a meal. Honestly, the food isn’t too impressive though, and it’s a bit pricey for what you get. Basically, it’s a bento box with an assortment of mini portions: dishes like tempura or nimono. Once inside, you can buy sake and beer during breaks in the show.
Helpful Tip: I’d recommend getting into the Shinjuku area a bit early and checking out some of the other local eateries.
When you book, you’ll notice that there’s a dress code.
This means no sunglasses, “costumes,” or large wigs. So, it’s pretty easy to get ready for a night out there. Casual is good, but you won’t stick out if you do want to dress up. It’s important to note, however, that you can’t have any visible tattoos.
Helpful Tip: In Japan, tattoos are strongly associated with the mafia and are nowhere near as common as they are in the West. You’ll actually see “no tattoo” signs in pools and gyms. If you’ve got visible tattoos, you’ll want to bring at least an outfit or two that can cover them.
The Robot Restaurant Experience
Anthony Bourdain called the Robot Restaurant the “greatest show on earth.” That guy has seen more than a few shows, so you know this is the real deal.
When you arrive at the Robot Restaurant, you’ll be greeted by a friendly (English-speaking) staff member. They will give you your seat number and then it’s up to you to decide how long you want to take to get there.
The entire journey to the stage area is an explosion of colors, sounds, and lights. I would highly recommend getting to the restaurant early so you have plenty of times to discover the decor and take photos.
As for the show itself, it is always changing, but expect lots of lights, dancing and, you guessed it, robots! Halfway through, you’ll get a light stick so that you can join in. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience and SO much fun!