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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Staying at a capsule hotel
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.
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.
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.