Japan has more than its fair share of the delightfully bizarre. If you are looking to experience some of it first hand, with a frosty beverage in hand to help you embrace the weird, of course, check out this list of Tokyo’s top theme bars.
This bizarrely popular bar offers customers a wide range of canned foods that they can eat on the spot from the can. Their shelves are stocked with foods from all over the world, from the ubiquitous Spam to more adventurous options like walrus curry, so you can try foods you know and have always wanted to try along with those you didn’t even know existed.
The name of this bar could be translated as ‘Cheap Snacks Bar’ and that is exactly what they offer. The interior of the bar is designed to have a retro, Showa-era appeal and offers all-you-can-eat snacks for the nostalgic. A table charge of 500 yen (about $6 US) gets you access to the goodies and any other food and drink you order are changed separately.
No, this bar doesn’t have anything to do with marriage. It’s a play on words for the Japanese bouzu, or Buddhist priest. And your drink-slinger will in fact be a Buddhist priest. According to the website, their staff hail from various sects of Buddhism, so you can discuss the finer points of dogma while you get sloshed. Now that’s enlightened!
Japan has very restrictive gun laws, so you probably won’t even see one on a police officer while you’re here. If you get nostalgic for more heavily armed locales, there’s always HollowPoint. The only bar of its kind in Japan, HollowPoint let’s customers fire up in their special shooting range. Not to worry though, they’re just air guns, so they can’t do much damage. You’ll also get to choose from various targets to go all Jack Bauer on, including empty cans.
If you have enough to drink, you can see stars at any bar, but Planetarium Bar lets you enjoy the stars without the hangover. The bar uses a planetarium projector capable of showing 5,000,000 distinct stars. The city lights mean you rarely see many stars, but now Tokyoites can get drunk under the stars without even leaving town!
Nakameguro Ping Pong Lounge
Some people just don’t like sitting still while they enjoy a beer and now those people can add ping pong to their repertoire of darts, pool and bowling. In an unassuming private residence near the station, you can do your best Ai Fukuhara impression and enjoy a few cold ones with your friends.
Aladdin and Hookahs
This one’s a twofer in honor of the twin names of the water pipe, the hookah and the shisha. Both of these fine establishments offer various flavored no-tar, low nicotine tobaccos for smoking while enjoying the over-the-top Middle Eastern decor. And the waitstaff aren’t too hard on the eyes either.
Is it a tourist trap? Probably. But is it loads of goofy fun? Most definitely! Who wouldn’t want to go to a ninja-themed restaurant? Nobody, that’s who! Not only will your waiter employ his ninja prowess in bringing your order, he’ll also do magic tricks for your entertainment.
Fishing Izakaya Zauo
It doesn’t get any fresher than this, folks. At this Japanese-style pub, you sit over a giant fish tank in a boat, catch your dinner and eat it on the spot. Staff say it’s not just delicious, it’s a feast for your eyes and a whole lot of fun too. Check out our review of Zauo here !
You’ve probably heard of maid cafes, and this place is along the same lines, if you’ll excuse the pun. Instead of maids, though, your waitress will be a cute train conductor! They also have tables made from train benches, food served in train-shaped dishes and model trains zipping about. Everything your inner train nerd desires!
Issey and Ginza 12 O’Clock
If you are looking for a magic night out in a quite literal sense, these two bars should be your destinations. A table charge will get you in the door for the evening magic shows and the magicians also make the rounds to do magic at your table. But with the cheapest table charges starting at 4,500 yen, just make sure they don’t make your wallet disappear…
If you’re familiar with Japanese entertainers, you will probably get a kick out of this bar. They put on two shows a night (3 on weekends) featuring impersonations of famous performers like Hikaru Utada and Mr. Children. Even if you aren’t that familiar with the Japanese pop culture, you might get lucky. Their website lists Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and Elvis impersonators too.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface of the quirky smorgasbord that is Tokyo. Got a favorite bar we missed? Tell us in the comments!
Via Naver Matome