Robot Restaurant ロボットレストラン
Flighting robots, futuristics choreography and other scenes of science fiction: the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku features performances straight out of anime movies.
Robots in Shinjuku
Kabukicho, just east of Shinjuku Station is a garish, edgy world unto itself, alive only after dark. An evening in Kabukicho is typically unpretentious, raucous, engaging fun, mainly for the locals. Going out drinking there is therefore best done in the company of a local familiar with the subculture. If you keep your wits about you yet don't anguish over every penny spent, a night in Kabukicho is one to remember.
The Robot Restaurant is an entertainment experience smack in the middle of Kabukicho, catering to the overseas visitor. The Robot Restaurant offers everything that makes Kabukicho special: the tinselly glam, the energy, the anything-goes atmosphere, the desire—the passion—to please and be pleased, but without any pushy touts, unfollowable banter, or surprise charges that typify much of the entertainment and hospitality offered in this quarter of the city.
Robot Lounge Bar
First things first: the Robot Restaurant is a restaurant in name only. There is a bar upstairs (actually a different business from the Robot Restaurant) to hang out in before the show. During the show, there are cinema-type snacks on sale between acts in the performance. Also, a simple meal can be pre-ordered (three different choices) when reserving a seat online, for an extra fee. But a performance space it is, with arena-style seating, and not a dining space.
The pre-performance upstairs lounge bar is a foretaste of what's to come downstairs insofar as it is a sense-assaulting cornucopia of faux-luxurious folly. A multitude of accouterments, ornaments and decorative fixtures fights for your attention. But the music stage comes to the rescue, where an accomplished pianist, drummer, bassist and soloist - all but the latter in "robot" attire - capture the ears and eyes of the growing crowd, entertaining with polish and verve.
The robot show is downstairs, and once you have found and taken your seat, as printed on the ticket, reentry is not permitted. But, with drinks and snacks on sale and toilets accessible between breaks, there is no need to exit and reenter.
The show is astonishing in its scope and energy. It ranges from the cloyingly kawaii (cute) to the bombastically epic, and even blends them. There is everything from ancient Japanese lore to sci-fi fantasy, from anime character goofiness to carnival voluptuousness, from the hauntingly spooky to the funkily infectious, from the borderline horrific to the side-splittingly hilarious.
No expense has been spared on the stupendous array of elaborate robotic, anime-style and monsterish props that roll out in endless succession. And not an ounce of energy is spared in whipping up an engaging, awe-inspiring hour and a half of exuberant, on occasions momentous, passion-filled dance and drama chock-a-block with wow moments—and a little feel-good audience participation towards the end, as well.
Be warned that this show is full-on, with whumping sound levels and dazzling light displays rivalling those of a party-hard dance club.
Address, timetable & access
1-7-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku
Phone+81 (03) 3200 5500
TimetableEither three or four shows per day, depending on the day: 4pm (not every day), 5:55pm, 7:70pm, 9:45pm. Music performance in the upstairs lounge bar starting 45 to 50 minutes beforehand.
Price8,000 yen on the day, 7,500 yen pre-booked online
AccessThe Robot Restaurant is 5 minutes' walk from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station, and 5 minutes' walk from Exit B9 of Shinjuku San-chome Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line and the Shinjuku Subway Line.