Japan has many restaurants that are famous for the quality of their food, but "concept" izakaya (Japanese pubs) and restaurants that are designed around a particular theme are also popular. Below are five restaurants and izakaya that were carefully selected for their unique offerings.
1. Robot Restaurant (Tokyo)
This restaurant is incredibly popular as a new standard destination for international tourists. At this restaurant, you can enjoy performances by robots with Japanese characteristics, such as feudal warriors and daruma dolls, along with sexy dancers. There are also live Japanese taiko (drum) shows. You will be amazed by the 75-minute show with dazzling lights and music! The entrance fee is 8,000 JPY (incl. tax) for one show, with food and drinks costing extra. There are three different types of bento boxes (Japanese lunch boxes) (starts from 1,000 JPY (incl. tax)) available.
2. ZAUO Namba Main Store (Osaka)
This is an izakaya where you can eat the fish you catch from an on-site pond. 200 fish are added to the pond every day, and the fish you catch will be prepared in the manner of your choice, including sashimi, grilled, and simmered. You can enjoy fish that is super fresh! You don’t have to catch the fish yourself, but it is more cost efficient to do so. Children can try making sushi (2,500 JPY) (requires reservations), so it is highly recommended for families to visit. There are branches in Tokyo and Kyushu, as well as Osaka, so if you're interested, check out their website!
The fish you catch is cooked on the spot. This is a sashimi arrangement of a whole sea bream.
3. Dagashibar (Tokyo)
Dagashi are cheap snacks that children have loved for ages. This is an izakaya where you can enjoy sake with dagashi in a retro environment reminiscent of the 1960’s and 70’s. You can have all the dagashi you want for just 500 JPY, but other foods and drinks cost extra. The food menu includes Jagariko Potato Salad (450 JPY (excl. tax)) that is made with dagashi, as well as Age Pan (200 JPY (excl. tax) - 350 JPY (excl. tax)), which is deep-fried bread that used to be served at school lunches. You can even try making takoyaki (octopus balls) yourself!
4. Akita Dining Namahage Ginza Branch (Tokyo)
Namahage refers to a traditional event in parts of Akita Prefecture, as well as the messenger of the deities that appear in the event. At this restaurant, you can enjoy this traditional event without leaving Tokyo! The impressive interior is made from a renovated thatched roof house that was in Akita around 130 years ago. The menu consists of a variety of Akita dishes, such as Hinai-dori Chicken and Kiritanpo Hot Pot, along with more than 100 different types of sake from 29 sake brewers in Akita Prefecture, a place that is famous for its rice.
5. Akkan (Kagoshima)
This is a restaurant near Kagoshima-Chuo Station in Kagoshima City that will let you enjoy sake with canned food. The restaurant stocks more than 250 different types of canned food at any given time! It also offers creative dishes made with canned food, such as Tuna Pizza (700 JPY (incl. tax)) that is made with canned tuna. There are 26 seats in the restaurant. The interior is cute, with drums made into tables, so it is welcoming to female guests.
Some of these stores have branches all across the country. If you see any restaurant or izakaya that you are interested in, check to see if there’s a branch at the place you’re visiting!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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