Japan is famous for its themed restaurants but finding them can be just as difficult as choosing the best ones to visit. Whether you’re obsessed with transformers or you prefer the quiet company of a kitten, there’s really something for everyone. Best of all, the restaurants aren’t just for tourists – locals love them too! Here are my top picks for the coolest places to eat in Japan.
Fire Ramen, Kyoto
David and I hadn’t heard of Fire Ramen before visiting Kyoto. It was a suggested ad that popped up in my Instagram feed while we were there that brought our attention to it. Given the great reviews online and its close proximity to the imperial palace which we were planning on visiting after lunch, we decided to give it a go and we’re so glad we did!
We had to wait an hour to get a seat as the restaurant is tiny and very popular with locals and tourists alike, but it was worth the wait. A bowl of ramen is placed in front of diners and set on fire by the head chef. Staff are happy to take a photo or video of the experience, which is great! It’s a bit of a novelty but the ramen was delicious.
Ninja Akasaka, Tokyo
This was my favourite of the themed restaurants we visited in Japan. Ninja Akasaka was fun, delicious and a great experience worth every yen. The menus are set seven courses and they’re themed too. The food we ate was delicious but it was the ninjas that really topped off the great experience. It was definitely one of the coolest things we did in Tokyo.
If you’re planning on dining here, I recommend booking in advance. We made our reservation and chose our menus online before we left Sydney so we wouldn’t miss out. You can pay online too so you don’t have to worry about having the money on you when you’re there.
Robot Restaurant, Tokyo
The robot show is what draws people to the Robot Restaurant however, you don’t have to eat here to see the show. The set menu is limited but it’s great if you’re only after a light meal of sushi. The show is bizarre and crazy and worth the expensive ticket price if you love loud music, robots and flashing lights.
If you’re a fussy eater or you don’t like choosing your meal in advance, I recommend forgoing the meal altogether and just watching the show. Staff sell drinks and snacks before and during the show should you work up an appetite.
Cat Café, Japan
We visited a cat café in Hiroshima but you’ll find them all over the country. If you love cats, you’ll love a cat café. Drink a coffee as cats play with each other and guests. I’m personally more of a dog person so I didn’t think the cat café was that cool, but David certainly did. As you can see by the photo of the cat I met, they weren’t a fan of me either.
Animal cafes, Japan
While we’re on the topic of cat cafes, there are other animal cafes across the country too. Unfortunately we didn’t find a puppy café (I was heartbroken) but we came across multiple owl and hedgehog cafes. We didn’t visit any ourselves but we saw them in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka and Tokyo.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve eaten in Japan? Let me know in the comments below!