Tokyo is my absolute favorite city in the world. The colors, the food, and the energy of Tokyo is intoxicating. There’s so much to take in that the city forces your brain into a hungry hyperdrive. You find yourself wanting more and more. You begin seeking unique experiences that only this special place can provide. That’s how I found myself at the Robot Restaurant.
The Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku is an exaggeration of exactly what tourists are looking for in Tokyo. It’s a sober mushroom trip of flashing lights, over-the-top energetic entertainment, a little bit of cutesiness, and a delirium of rainbow shades. A seven-foot tall robot dances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” A villainous woman dressed in a metallic, futuristic bikini fires an over-sized machine gun at another woman dressed as a butterfly. A panda in full kung-fu gear charges at evil vikings. A giant snakehead breaths fire at its enemies, which fills the entire room with smoke. It creates one of those ah-ha moments where you stop and suddenly wish to re-evaluate your all of your life decisions that led up to this one. “How the hell did I get here?” you’ll think to yourself, or even perhaps say out loud.
Is the show cheesy? Yes.
Is the show slightly terrifying? Also, yes.
Did I almost have a panic attack several times? Affirmative.
Does the show have a surprising lack of actual robots? Weirdly, yes.
But, am I glad that I went? Absolutely.
It’s touristy and wrong in so many ways, but that’s what makes it so right. It’s one of those experiences that you do for the glory. It will forever be a story you can tell at dinner parties. It’s a show you can never unsee, but I would argue in a good way.
Here’s a vlog I made of my Robot Restaurant experience, so you can get a taste of the action:
How long is the Robot Restaurant show?
The show is 90 minutes long, with 3 or 4 short breaks to buy food and drinks, go to the bathroom, or calm your incoming panic attack.
How much does the show at the Robot Restaurant cost?
It is expensive. It costs 8,500 yen (77.33 US dollars) per person. You can buy tickets for the Robot Restaurant on their website ahead of time, which is what I did.
Should I buy my tickets ahead of time?
Buying ahead of time is the best way to ensure you get a spot on the night you’d like to see the show, and sometimes you can find a discount that way.
Other Robot Restaurant tidbits to know before you go:
Though it’s called the “Robot Restaurant,” this place isn’t known for its food. It’s more the entertainment aspect people come for. You can get a bento box at the show itself, but I would eat at another local restaurant ahead of time.
They are pretty strict about arriving 30 minutes ahead of time, so make sure you do. My husband and I showed up just in the nick of time, sweaty and out of breath, because we left our capsule hotel a few minutes too late. Don’t be like us. Their website says they won’t refund you if you’re tardy.
Due to COVID, the Robot Restaurant is closed at the moment, but I am hopeful they will open their doors again in the future. Who else is going to give the people such a once in a lifetime, insane show?