Eight Bizarre Experiences You Can Have in Tokyo

Travellers have long been drawn to Japan for the country’s unique travel experiences. And nowhere does it get more weird and wonderful than in the capital. From its quirky themed restaurants to its more unusual museums, here’s a roundup of the most bizarre experiences you can have in Tokyo.

Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of Cory Doctorow

1. Watching a show at the Robot Restaurant

Located in the Kabukicho red light district of Tokyo, this is one of the craziest restaurants you’ll ever visit. Fitted out at a cost of around 10 billion yen, the Robot Restaurant combines giant robot battles, neon lights, laser beams, explosions, dancers, drums and more in one epic, migraine-inducing show.

Customers pay an entry fee of 8,000 yen, then can order a bento box and drink to enjoy whilst they watch. Despite being called a restaurant, menu options are limited. But you’ll most likely be too distracted to focus on your food anyway.

Maid handing out flyers in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of Carter McKendry

2. Visiting a maid cafe

With more than 200 of these cafes in Japan, this bizarre phenomenon isn’t going anywhere. Most of Tokyo’s maid cafes can be found in a district called Akihabara, the city’s manga and anime centre, and are a fun – if slightly strange – experience. 

These cafes see Japanese waitresses dressed as French maids and the atmosphere and service is all about kawaii (cuteness). Food is often presented in cutesy designs – perfect for Instagram – and you might be given cute headgear to wear yourself. Whatever happens, the best way to enjoy a maid cafe is to fully embrace the experience.

Real life Mario Karts in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of Liz Mc

3. Playing real-life Mario Karts

Offering the chance to put those hours of playing Mario Karts to use, Maricar lets you race about the streets of Tokyo in your very own supercharged go-kart. Dressed as your favourite character, you can race your friends between neon-lit skyscrapers as you floor it to the finish line.

Whether you’re Super Mario or Princess Peach, you’ll still need to observe the rules of the road whilst you drive. You’ll also need an international driving license, so get that sorted before you travel.

Waitress at Ninja Restaurant, Tokyo
Image Courtesy of Brandon Daniel

4. Eating at the Ninja Restaurant

The next themed restaurant to add to your Tokyo bucket-list, Ninja Restaurant presents yet another bizarre way of serving food. Waiters trained and dressed as ninjas will usher you through winding corridors resembling a fortress to your table. You’ll then be presented a menu written on a long scroll.

The unique dishes on offer at the Ninja Restaurant are Japanese, but there’s also plenty of Western options too. As you dine, ninjas will ensure you are thoroughly entertained with magic tricks and ninja arts. Although this is one of the more pricey experiences you can have in Japan, it’s well worth the money.

Capsule Hotel in Japan
Image Courtesy of Mats Linander

5. Staying at a capsule hotel

First originating in Japan in 1979, capsule hotels are one of the country’s more unique types of lodging. Lined up side by side down a corridor, the capsules tend to be around 2 metres in length, 1 metre tall and approximately 1.2 metres wide.

Whilst these pods certainly aren’t for the claustrophobic, they’re decked out with more amenities than you’d expect. You can find a TV, alarm clock and radio unit built in, alongside free WiFi and power outlets. Whereas these hotels traditionally catered to Tokyo’s businessmen, they’re becoming increasingly popular with both male and female travellers in need of a low budget, one night stay.

Vending Machines in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of spaztacular

6. Using a vending machine

Whilst it may be a surprise to see vending machines on this list, they’re a tourist attraction in their own right. Japan is home to a whopping 5.5 million of them, equating to one for every 23 people – the highest person to vending machine ratio in the world.

From hot ramen noodles to underwear and fresh eggs to electronics, there isn’t much that Tokyo’s vending machines don’t sell. These 24-hour machines are quite the novelty and, it’s safe to say, nowhere has embraced the concept like Japan.

Exhibit at the Parasite Museum in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of Guilhem Vellut

7. Exploring the Parasite Museum

Claiming to be the only museum of its kind in the world, the Meguro Parasitological Museum is a private research facility exhibiting more than 300 parasite specimens and related materials. Originally just offering its exhibits for educational purposes, the museum has become one of the city’s more bizarre tourist attractions.

But a visit certainly isn’t for the squeamish. Highlights include exhibits displaying parasite lifecycles and the symptoms they cause after infection, as well as the world’s longest tapeworm. If you can stomach a visit, you’ll find the museum a 20-minute walk from Meguro Station and admission is free.

Godzilla head in Tokyo
Image Courtesy of AleGranholm

8. Taking a photo of Godzilla

With over 30 movies featuring this iconic monster, it’s no wonder you can find the life-size version in its hometown of Tokyo. Godzilla’s giant head can be seen towering over the Toho Building, with Toho being the Japanese studio behind the popular franchise.

Head to Yasukuni Street behind the building for a photo or use the building’s cafe to see it up close. Alongside the 12-metre-tall Godzilla Head, this building is also home to Hotel Gracery which features Godzilla-themed rooms.

Looking to have one of these bizarre experiences? We visit Tokyo on our Japan Group Tours.

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