“This is the greatest show ever. I never want to leave,” said the man sitting next to me at Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant show. Prior to that moment, I’d never thought it possible to be simultaneously sarcastic and truthful, but he pulled it off flawlessly.
He had a point. I knew the Robot Restaurant was going to be ridiculous and over-the-top before going, but I was nonetheless totally unprepared for what I saw.
This post was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Why on Earth Would I Go to the Robot Restaurant?
Anthony Bourdain told me to. Okay, maybe he didn’t expressly do so. But he is kind of a hero of mine with his simultaneous literary and television successes (one of the best travel books I ever read was his A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal).
In his Tokyo episode of the Parts Unknown series, he went to the Robot Restaurant, and emerged quite obviously lost for words. So the first words he spoke were “that was the greatest show in the history of entertainment.” It’s the only other time in my life I’d seen an attempt at simultaneous sarcasm and truth, similar to the man seated next to me at the Robot Restaurant.
Funny that sarcasm and truth seem to collide when it comes to describing the Robot Restaurant. But that’s just the kind of place it is.
What is the Robot Restaurant Show?
Truly, words defy this experience. I could try to explain it, but it will inevitably fall short of the mark. All the pictures I took, and even the video below truly doesn’t do the Robot Restaurant justice. The closest description I could give, is that it’s an epileptic’s worst nightmare and an ADD’s dream come true. But still….it doesn’t capture the full flavour of it.
Expect to be bewildered, shocked, amazed, confused, and possibly disgusted. Anything is fair game.
I can offer three simple pieces of practical advice in going to the Robot Restaurant:
- If your ears are sensitive, bring earplugs. They actually pass out headphones for children; although I didn’t see any adults wearing them, they’re not all that bad an idea. It’s loud.
- Despite being a “restaurant”, the Robot Restaurant has very little to do with food, and nothing to do with good food. Some tickets include a bento box style meal. If you end up getting one for free, great. But don’t expect it to fill you up, and don’t go out of your way to get one. With all the great food Tokyo offers, you’re better off to eat before or after the show. Because this is first and foremost, a show.
- Buy your tickets through Klook. I’d never heard of Klook before, but a friend who got his own tickets through them attested to the viability of the site, and the discount is good enough to make it worthwhile.
See For Yourself.
I’m not going to say any more about the Robot Restaurant, largely because there’s nothing to say. It’s….it’s…..I…..just go. (Watch my video below first. Then go).
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.