TOKYO IS WELL-KNOWN as a city of lights, extremes, and futuristic technology, and the Robot Restaurant is a really fun way to experience the intersection of all this. It’s located in Kabukichō — aka the Red Light District, and it’s exactly what it sounds like, a restaurant where you can see robots. Furthermore, it’s an electronic dance show featuring a combination of human performers and their machine counterparts. There’s nothing that can prepare you for what you’re about to see. It’s a mixture of controlled chaos, neon lights, 15-foot monsters, lasers, pyrotechnics and a killer soundtrack to pull it all together. In this 2-hour show, you’ll see multiple acts with silly storylines to appeal to lovers of all genres.
The outside of the building entices you with its flashing lights and robot displays. Walking into the venue, you’re whisked down a rainbow hallway covered in bright, sparkly bulbs and wacky wallpaper. Before the show starts, you’re treated to a robot band serenading you as you sip your drink. Then when the show begins, you’re transported into an intense fantasy land that can barely be described as anything but whimsical. It’s definitely a tourist destination, but one with some bite.
How to get there
The Robot Restaurant is located in Kabukichō, which is a small neighborhood in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. The closest subway stations are Seibu-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-sanchome, and Shinjuku-Nishiguchi. There are signs everywhere in the area to guide you to the venue that are marked in rainbow English lettering.
What to consider
- Tickets are 8,000 yen if purchased through the website, however there are many vendors who sell discounted tickets.
- Book well in advance because this is a popular spot and it is unlikely you can show up the day of a show and get a seat.
- When you arrive, go across the street to the ticket office to pick up your reservation before you enter the venue.
- If you have visible tattoos, you must cover them up before entering. In Japan, tattoos are seen as a symbol of gang alliance and not looked well upon.
- There are pyrotechnics and loud bangs, so if you’re sensitive to smoke or noise, prepare for that.
- There is an option to purchase a bento box dinner for 1,000 yen, however, it’s better to eat before your arrival (especially when there are so many wonderful places to get food in Tokyo).
- The show runs about 90-120 minutes with multiple breaks in-between acts to go to the bathroom and purchase snacks.
- Before you enter the show, there’s a waiting area with a fully stocked bar. Compared to drink prices in fancy venues around the world, these cocktails are actually appropriately priced at about 600-800 yen each.
- Arrive at least 30 minutes early so you can catch the robot band playing in the decked out silver 70s vibe lounge.
- You can take as many photos and videos as you want, so bring your camera and phone fully charged.
- In the past few years it’s become an incredibly popular tourist destination, so don’t expect it to be overly “Japanese” in content or authenticity.