Japan's Strangest Theme Restaurants


11 Tuesday 11th September 2012

We can only hope that the UK soon adopts this popular approach to restaurant dining – Pizza Express doesn’t quite compare, somehow. 

Cannibal Sushi Restaurants

While you may have heard of the nyotaimori ( ‘female body plate’) trend that’s popular in Japan – where customers are invited to eat pieces of sushi off naked women – chances are that the concept of cannibal cuisine will be new to you. Chefs prepare food in the shape of a human ‘body’, which is placed on a table reminiscent of a hospital operating table, with diners then ‘operating’ on the body by cutting it open to eat the delicious fake vital organs concealed within. The body even bleeds when you cut it! A culinary treat for any would-be cannibals.


Here’s one for all you kawaii fanatics/Mummy’s boys. Tokyo’s @home café plays host to a flock of uber-cute maids to pamper you from the minute you walk through the door – they’ll even call you ‘go-shujinsama’ (master). Slightly creepy undertones aside, the café is all about having good, clean, U-rated fun – you can play rock, paper, scissors and have photo stickers taken with the waitresses, and even get customised ketchup designs made on your omelette. 

Alcatraz E.R.

Advertised as a ‘Medical Prison’, Alcatraz E.R. was one of Japan’s first ever theme restaurants. The customer takes on the role of patient, and the waiting staff are doctors and nurses; and they take their job seriously – expect to be handcuffed, locked in a cell and maybe even given a giant injection in the rear. Cocktails are served in everything from test tubes to mannequin heads, and there are enough scares and screaming to ensure that everyone has at least one mild heart attack before dessert.

Cat Cafés

Cat cafés have exploded in popularity in recent years (there are over 50 in Tokyo alone), not least because many buildings in Japan prohibit residents owning pets (and, you know, because cats are great). Customers are asked to pay a cover fee and wash, before then being led to play with a wide variety of cats to their hearts content. Katy Perry is even a fan.

Resident Evil Restaurant

As you might guess from the name, Tokyo’s recently opened Biohazard Café & Grill S.T.A.R.S.  is inspired by Capcom’s grisly Resident Evil video game series. Visitors can expect to see Resident Evil-inspired food, props from the games (including a terrifying statue of Tyrant that uses 3D-mapping technology to come to life) and dance routines by Dance Team S.T.A.R.S. Angelique.

Robot Restaurant 

Perhaps our favourite theme restaurant is Shinjuku's new Electric Cabaret Café, which comes complete with an army of 12 of gargantuan ladybots, a cabaret featuring live women driving tanks (yes, tanks) and allegedly close to 10 billion yen’s worth of epilepsy-inducing LED light features. We’ve got no idea what kind of food is served – but really, does it matter?

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