Theme Restaurants in Tokyo – Alternative Eating Guide
If you're after a little extra from your dining experience, check out one of Tokyo's theme restaurants. From cutesy and kawaii to terrifying - there's one for everyone.
Delicious food is not all you can expect from a Japanese dining experience. Many restaurants have come up with alternative ideas to entertain their customers, designing restaurants with sometimes whimsical, sometimes strange, always entertaining themes.
Here’s a list of the best theme restaurants in Tokyo:
Dark tones and dim lights make this restaurant resemble a traditional street by night, or from another perspective, the ninja’s natural habitat. No need to worry about the ancient assassins here though, the only danger is that they’ll get your order wrong. They are nonetheless entertaining, performing moves and routines in between serving food to the always delighted customers. Do be careful when exploring the restaurant, however. Traps are hidden where you least expect them.
Hours: 17:00 – 01:00 Monday – Saturday (door close at 22:30) / 17:00 – 23:00 Sunday and public holidays (doors close at 21:45)
Website: Ninja Asakasa
Hananomai Ryogoku (Sumo Themed)
With an actual sumo ring in the middle of the room, the theme here is plain to see. Customers can enjoy Japanese food whilst watching sumo matches, plus other traditional Japanese performances including Kappore (a comical dance) and Yaguradaiko (a drum performance announcing the opening and closing of sumo bouts). The event programs are available on the official website.
Hours: 17:00 – 01:00 Monday – Saturday (door close at 22:30) / 17:00 – 23:00 Sunday and public holidays (door close at 21:45)
Website: Hananomai Ryougoku
Address: 1-1-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Ranse No Koshitsu Sengoku Buyuden (Samurai Themed)
The noble samurai still occupies a prominent place in the Japanese national consciousness, something that is quite evident at this restaurant. Enjoy excellent Japanese food whilst admiring authentic armor and soaking up the vibe of old-world Japan.
Hours: 17:00 – 24:00 (Monday and Tuesday ) / 17:00 – 3:00 (Friday, Saturday and the day before public holiday) / 17:00 -23:30 (Sunday – public holidays)
Zauo (Fishing Themed)
“Eat your catch” – an apt slogan for this Tokyo restaurant. Dine inside or on the deck of a giant replica ship where you’re given the opportunity to catch your own dinner. If your fishing skills are up to scratch you’ll even receive a discount on your bill, but don’t worry if not, you won’t go hungry. The expert chefs prepare your food in any way you’d like and clearly, the produce couldn’t be fresher. There are also sushi workshopss available for kids.
Hours: Hours differ from branch to branch
Address: (Shinjuku branch) 3-2-9 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Shinjuku Kyoumachi Koi Shigure (Kyoto Themed)
Not enough time to travel to Kyoto? Don’t worry, find right smack in the middle of Tokyo, Shinjuku Kyoumachi Koi Shigure, a restaurant completely embodying Kyoto. Enter and find yourself surrounded by red lanterns. Additionally, cross a wooden bridge amidst bamboo trees to get to your seats. Though food is mediocre at best, exemplary service combined with the cozy atmosphere make the overall experience well worth it.
Hours: 17:00 – 4:00 (Tuesday – Saturday) / 17:00 – 23:00 (Sunday and Monday)
One of the most popular destinations in Shinjuku, the Robot Restaurant is a spectacular foray into a world of cyborg cabaret and futuristic surrealism. Check out or full guide, here.
Hours: Everyday 16:00 – 22:00
Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Located in the lively Harajuku area, this restaurant is a great reflection of Japanese kawaii culture. The interior is super sugary and cute, and the staff embraces the concept to the max. The food is not spared the kawaii treatment either. Candy salad, rainbow pasta and chocolate chicken being just some of the highlights.
Hours: Lunch 11:30-16:30, Dinner 18:00-22:30 (Mondays to Saturdays) / 11:00-20:00 (Sundays and Holidays)
Entrance Fee: 500 yen
Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant
Fantasy dining based on the famous fairytale. The restaurant has recently opened its seventh branch in Japan, each one decorated to portray a different part of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
Hours: Differs from branch to branch
Website: Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant
Address: (Shibuya branch) Inokashira Dori, 16 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
A vampire-themed restaurant in the heart of glitzy Ginza, decorated in deep reds and blacks, befitting of the layer of Count Dracula himself. The restaurant serves western food, liberally doused in blood and gore. Try it at Halloween for the full effect.
Hours: Everyday 17:00 to 23:00
Ghost Bar (Yurei Izakaya)
Feel shivers run down your spine as you sip on a frighteningly alcoholic cocktail at this spooky Kichijoji bar. Filled with all manner of creepy props, fake blood and curiosities, this place doesn’t hold back on the horror.
Hours: Everyday 17:00 until the last train
The Lockup (Jail Themed)
Popular among tourists and locals, all looking for a frightening taste of jail with their meals. With 4 branches in Tokyo alone, Lockup has made a name for itself as the ultimate theme restaurant experience. Enjoy a good range of international food and drinks surrounded by all the horrors of a dark, dangerous, underground prison.
Hours: Differs from branch to branch
Website: The Lockup
Address: (Shibuya branch) 33-1 Grant Tokyo Building B2, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Alcatraz E.R. (Mental Hospital Themed)
The wackiest of them all, Alcatraz E.R is designed to resemble a mental hospital of the most terrifying kind. Psychotic clowns taunting a salaryman and nurses conducting human experiments give you a taste of what to expect, but only just. This place needs to be seen to be believed. The food and drink – including blue curry and sperm juice – doesn’t hold back on the theme either. Sensibly, children are not allowed.
Hours: 17:00 – 23:30 (Sunday – Thursday) / 17:00 – 4:00 (Friday – Saturday and day before public holiday)
Website: Alcatraz E.R.
Milky Way Cafe (ミルキーウェイ)
For millenia, people have looked to the stars for direction. In Ikebukuro, the stars point to Milky Way Cafe: a colourful ice cream cafe with an astrological theme. The menu offers a creative selection of ice cream, from the classics to the bizarre, served in cones, sundae-style, as ‘cocktails’ or turned into milkshakes. A lot of effort is put into the presentation, though don’t let that put you off devouring them. The cafe itself is pleasantly spacious and laid-back, making it the perfect venue for treating yourself.
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 – 22:00 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Milky Way Cafe
Planetarium Bar, Tokyo
Want to explore the galaxy without leaving Tokyo? Planetarium Bar’s Megastar Zero Platinum Planetarium Projector can help. This contraption beams a slice of the galaxy onto the bar’s ceiling, under which guests can sit back, relax and enjoy a drink. Beer, wine and spirits are available, as well as simple meals. Whilst prices aren’t particularly cheap, for the experience, it’s worth it. Planetarium Bar has built itself quite the reputation so get there early if you want to guarantee a seat.
Hours: 19:00 – 02:00 (Monday to Thursday) / 19:00 – 03:00 (Friday and Saturday) / 19:00 – 24:00 (Sunday)
Website: Planetarium Bar
If you’re a sucker for Capcom games, you’ll certainly enjoy Capcom Bar. Memorabilia from all your favourite titles – Biohazard, Phoenix Wright, Monster Hunter – line the walls, there are consoles set up and ready to play, anime on every screen, an army of staff ready to theatrically recreate your favourite character, and of course, themed food and drink. While, clearly, the food isn’t the primary concern here, it’s nevertheless pretty good, with the Brain Cake coming particularly highly recommended.
Hours: 14:00 – 23:30 (Monday to Friday) / 11:30 – 23:30 (Saturday and Sunday)
Website: Capcom Bar
Long for the days when Mario and Luigi reigned supreme and the Gameboy was the height of technology? Relive them at Shinjuku’s 8bit Cafe, a small but lovingly curated cafe on the fifth floor of a nondescript apartment block. There’s memorabilia of all kinds to browse and consoles set up and ready to go, all presided over by the owner and geek-in-chief. The food and drink are basic but their fun titles (‘Princess Peach’s Temptation’,’Dr Mario’, etc) go a long way to making up for it.
Hours: 18:00 – 24:00 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday) / 18:00 – 05:00 (Friday and Saturday) / Closed on Tuesday
Website: 8bit Cafe
Curry Station Niagara
Like trains? Like curry? Good. Curry Station Niagara it is then. Japan is a country with a very high population of trainspotters, but perhaps few are quite so committed as the owner of this place. If you drop by, he’s the one in the conductors outfit, by the way. The curry is good, and best of all, it comes delivered along the tracks in a model steam locomotive. A charmingly quirky restaurant by anyone’s standards.
Hours: 11:00 – 20:00 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) / Closed on Monday and Thursday / Check the website for additional days off (dates highlighted in red)
Website: Curry Station Niagara
Address: 1-21-2 Yutenji, Meguro, Tokyo
A city can only have one train-themed restaurant, right? Wrong. In step Akihabara’s Little TGV: a sort of miniature train museum, maid cafe and izakaya blend. This is the sort of place that the old cliche ‘only in Japan’ really does do justice to. There’s old train memorabilia covering every surface, staff donning cutesy conductor uniforms, booths made using reclaimed train seats, and naturally, a menu packed with railway-themed food and drink. Sip on a Ginza Line (cassis orange) or Hanzomon Line (violet fizz) and munch on the house special tamago maki (egg roll), which, of course, is fashioned into a train.
Hours: 18:00 – 23:00 (Monday to Friday) / 12:00 – 23:00 (Saturday and Sunday)
Website: Little TGV
Shooting Bar EA（エアー）
In the otherwise salubrious neighbourhood of Kichijoji in the east of the city, Shooting Bar EA stands out: a little slice of danger in the suburbs. The bar has combined two seemingly incongruous pastimes: drinking and shooting. Here, the only thing better stocked that the bar is the arsenal, from which customers can take their pick and let rip in the firing range. While there are certainly safer options for a drink, Shooting Bar EA, rest assured, takes its customers’ safety very seriously, not least through only stocking air-powered weapons.
Hours: 17:00 – 01:00 (Sunday to Thursday) / 17:00 – 04:00 (Friday and Saturday)
Website: Shooting Bar EA
If you’re after a theme cafe with a little less tongue-in-cheek charm and a little more Christian iconography, you’ve found it! Christon Cafe in Shinjuku is Tokyo’s (Japan’s? The world’s?) only Christianity-themed restaurant; an establishment so odd you’ll do well to avoid blaspheming on entry. From the high ceilings hang a number of grand chandeliers and the walls are adorned with religious imagery of all kinds. Despite the name, Christon Cafe is actually a mixture between a restaurant (in the early evening) and a nightclub (into the night) which holds an eclectic range of events. The food masquerades as being a little more classy than it actually is and the drinks are pretty expensive, but the oddness of the whole affair makes it well worth a visit.
Hours: 17:00 – 23:30 (Sunday to Saturday)
Asadachi is a well-known Shinjuku hole-in-the-wall type joint which serves, for lack of a better term, ‘stamina’ food. Asadachi translates as ‘morning wood’, which should give you an insight into what kind of stamina they’re referring to. Salamander, pig testicles and snake are menu favourites but get chatting to the loquacious owner and he’ll no doubt whip up something particularly special for you. The opening hours are just as unpredictable as the food but turn up in the afternoon and you should be fine.
Hours: No set time
No otaku day out in Akihabara is complete without a visit to Little BSD, the area’s premier cosplay izakaya. The waiting staff are all fully cosplayed up and the food is similarly on-brand. Whilst the quality of the food is pretty standard, the extra effort put into its presentation makes it worth the expense. Like any izakaya, the beers flow with abandon and the atmosphere is generally buoyant.
Hours: 18:00 – 23:00 (Monday to Thursday) / 18:00 – 05:00 (Friday) / 17:00 – 05:00 (Saturday) / 17:00 – 23:00 (Sunday)
Website: Little BSD
Address: 3-7-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
If you’ve ever looked at a necklace, a bracelet or a ring and thought: “that looks delicious” – well, you’re going to love Q-Pot Cafe. Q-Pot, a Japanese brand made famous by transforming sweets into jewellery, has flipped the concept on its head, with mouthwatering results. The cafe has nine different rooms, all with names like the ‘Strawberry Whip Room’ and ‘BisQuit Room’, each promising a taste of something different. This is Willy Wonka’s factory owned by Tiffany’s, an experience not to be passed up.
Hours: 11:30 – 19:30 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Q-Pot Cafe
Address: 3-10-2 Kita-Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Luida’s Bar (Dragon Quest Themed)
Luida’s Bar in Roppongi is a place of pilgrimage for the world’s Dragon Quest fans, a place where they can meet, eat, drink and bask in their shared interest. Even if you’re not a Dragon Quest fan, the bar, with its quirky themed food and drink, is nevertheless a whole lot of fun. For just over 5,000 yen, enjoy a set meal and drinks, featuring menu highlights like ‘Slime Meat Bun’ and ‘Dragon’s Right Arm Unboiled Ham’ among others.
Hours: 14:00 – 22:15 (Monday to Friday) / 12:00 – 22:15 (Saturday and Sunday)
Website: Luida’s Bar
Address: 5-16-3 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo
Gundam is everywhere in Tokyo but his spiritual home is in Akihabara, where, appropriately, you’ll also find the world’s first Gundam Cafe. Opened in 2010, the cafe is one of Tokyo’s most consistently popular theme restaurants, as well as one of its largest. The restaurant is dimly lit, with a shiny plastic decor recalling a spaceship, the walls fixed with screens showing clips from the show and even a scale Gundam model in the corner. The food is fairly reasonably priced and simple but perfectly edible. A solid theme restaurant choice.
Hours: 10:00 – 22:30 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Gundam Cafe
Aqua Restaurant & Bar LUXIS
Located in Ebisu, Aqua Restaurant & Bar LUXIS is less a theme restaurant, more a regular restaurant with a giant fish tank in the middle. It’s quite a classy affair, with prices to match, but the food is excellent and the atmosphere genial. Be sure to visit the bathroom, where more fish await.
Hours: 11:30 – 05:00 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Aqua Restaurant & Bar LUXIS
Moomin Bakery & Cafe
Take a trip to Moominvalley via the Tokyo Dome at Moomin Bakery & Cafe, one of three Moomin cafes in the city. Images of the Finnish creatures adorn the walls and big plush dolls are everywhere to be seen, one of which can even join you if you’re dining alone. The cafe itself has an appropriately Scandi feel to it, with lots of light wood and natural sunlight, the food and drink isn’t bad at all and the atmosphere is relaxed. A nice little spot all in all.
Hours: 08:00 – 22:30 (Monday to Friday) / 08:00 – 22:00 (Saturday and Sunday)
Website: Moomin Bakery & Cafe
Described by the owner as “retro-future”, Cafe Streamline resembles a spaceship from the past, a place littered with artefacts largely from the ’30s and ’40s but with a metallic bar and walls inspired by sci-fi films. The cafe is really a bar, though does sometimes open between 15:00 and 18:00 and serve that function. Come here in the evening though and order some Nikka Apple Wine, a once popular drink now only available here.
Hours: 15:00 – 24:00 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Cafe Streamline
Address: 7-5 Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo
Bunbougu (Stationary) Cafe
Aoyama isn’t short of cafes, so it’s understandable to want to stand out from the pack. Bunbougu Cafe – a cafe, stationary store, bar and library mix – certainly does. The owners of Bunbougu recognised that cafes and stationary are natural bedfellows and set about creating a space to celebrate this; a place where the smell of coffee, ink and paper would fill the air. The cafe is great, but for the full experience pay 700 yen and become a member. This status bestows upon you the great privilege of access to a master key to the drawers in the tables. These drawers are packed with exclusive stationery, particularly useful for the forgetful doodler.
Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Stationery Cafe
Address: B1F, 4-8-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Swallowtail Butler Cafe
We’ve all heard of Maid Cafes by now, but how about a Butler Cafe?
For a more in-depth look, take a look at our article: Butler Cafe Swallowtail in Ikebukuro.
Hours: 10:30 – 21:20 (Sunday to Saturday)
Website: Swallowtail Butler Cafe
Maidreamin’s Digitized Cafe and Dining Bar
Maid Cafes aren’t difficult to find in Tokyo, Maidreamin’s Digitized Cafe and Dining Bar, however, is among the best. Here, the classic Maid Cafe experience (cosplayed staff, cute food, singing, dancing, etc) is given a neon makeover. Glowing cubes adorn the ceiling and the walls are covered in digitised cartoons and emojis, lending the cafe a uniquely futuristic atmosphere.
For a comprehensive look at maid cafes, take a look at our guide: Tokyo Maid Cafe – The Ultimate Kawaii Experience.
Hours: 13:00 – 23:00 (Monday to Thursday) / 13:00 – 05:00 (Friday and Saturday) / 13:00 – 23:00 (Sunday)
AKB48 Cafe & Shop Akihabara
Of all Japan’s idol groups, AKB48 are the most esteemed. The 48 member, all singing, all dancing group has attracted a loyal band of followers, who flock to the group’s concerts, or alternatively, to their cafe in Akihabara. Located just outside of the Electric Town Exit of Akihabara Station, the cafe itself is pretty basic, with a menu composed predominantly of snacks, desserts and sugary drinks. The main draw, however, is the looped showings of AKB48 performances on the various screens and the scattered memorabilia around the place. Fans of the group won’t be disappointed, though the same can’t be said for everyone else.
Hours: 11:00 – 22:00 (Monday to Thursday) / 11:00 – 23:00 (Friday) / 10:00 – 23:00 (Saturday) / 10:00 – 22:00 (Sunday)
Website: AKB48 Cafe & Shop Akihabara
Address: 1-1 Hanaoka, Kanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
The concept of the cat cafe has long since been exported outside of the country of its birth, yet Japan remains the best place for the heady mix of feline cuteness and coffee.
For the best cat cafes in Tokyo, check out our article: Cat and Animal Cafes in Tokyo.
At some point, someone decided cat cafes weren’t quite cutting it anymore. Now, Japan is filled with places where you can sip a coffee with everything from snakes to cows. Our favourites are the surprisingly common owl cafes.
For the best owl cafes in the city, check out Tokyo Owl Cafes – The City’s 10 Best.
For more great Tokyo restaurants, take a look at Compathy Magazine.
For top tips from other travellers and the chance to have your say, try out our Compathy travel app.