This is the place to come for crazy only-in-Japan restaurants & cafés. If you’re looking for a photo-worthy experience while also grabbing a bite or a drink, Tokyo offers up the BEST! (But if what you came to this page looking for fabulous food, head over to Restaurants I Like instead. Like eateries with a view, food quality is often inversely proportional to photo upworthiness, just sayin’.)
CALICO CAT CAFE
Play with many kinds of kitties while sipping a latte
Catch your own noodles as they float down the bamboo trough in the middle of your table • Cold noodles and tempura are the only thing they serve • May through October only
Amusing Goth cathedral/gargoyle/stained glass theme • Fanciful menu and drink items • Customers tend to be cosplayers and Lolita/Gothic Lolitas
FOREIGN BUTLER CAFE
The gurlz version of a maid café! • Get treated like royalty by attractive young foreign men
If you’re a Gundam fan (or just love robot stuff), you can’t leave Akihabara without eating here once! • Lots of photo ops with Gundam-themed restaurant design & food styling • Stand selling Gundam tai-yaki outside
GYOZA STADIUM & THE WEIRD ICE CREAM STORE
An indoor street lined with stands selling the most famous savory dumplings from all over Japan • A shop selling super weird flavors of ice cream, like eel, beer, wasabi & more! • Both are in Namco Namja Town, an indoor theme park inside the Sunshine City shopping complex
HOSHINO COFFEE SHOP
Extreme pancakes are absolutely delicious • I like the ones with kuromitsu (syrup made from Okinawan brown sugar)
Haunted prison restaurant • Each group dines in its own cell • Entertaining drinks served in test tubes, beakers, and IV stands often feature edible eyeballs • Live monster show takes place during every seating
Have the ultimate otaku lunch, being served by uniformed maids who call you “Master of the House”!
NIHON MINKA-EN SOBA NOODLE RESTAURANT
Eat lunch in a genuine thatch-roofed farmhouse, built without nails • This lunch spot is at the midpoint of a village of beautifully restored thatch-roofed farmhouses, less than an hour from central Tokyo!
A la carte Japanese small plates served by ninjas in your very own dungeon
Entertaining “ninja castle” setting has drawbridge and dungeon-like atmosphere • Servers are ninjas who bring the food along with a little magic • Not cheap, but food is delicious and not too challenging for non-Japanese
OHISAMA RABBIT CAFE
Pet the curious bunnies in the back room, then enjoy some café time
THE ROBOT RESTAURANT
Vegas meets New Japan in this music, dance and laser light show extravaganza • Taiko drumming and pole dancing alternate with battling robots • Food is meh (cold bento box) but the show is worth it • Links to more info & ticket reservations here
STEAM LOCOMOTIVE CAFE & BAR
Café surrounds a huge model train set with Tokyo landmarks that light up • Adorable train-themed food is a big hit with kids
All-you-can-eat for 70 minutes dessert bar (adults: ¥1480, children: ¥840) • Has Japanese desserts like make-your-own anmitsu sundae, as well as western-style sweets & a chocolate fountain • Included is an all-you-can-eat lunch/dinner buffet offering a limited selection of kid-friendly western staples like spaghetti, hot dogs, etc.
Grill your own fresh ingredients at your table
Grill your own meat and vegetables at your table • Owned by a former sumo wrestler • Choose between all-you-can-eat (various meats & veggies) & All-you-can-drink (beer or whisky-soda highballs) options
And while you’re there, read a novel set in Tokyo!
“A genuinely gripping crime thriller which wrong-foots and perplexes the reader throughout, drawing us in emotionally . . . Highly recommended.”