Receive the royal treatment at a maid cafe

Maid cafes are common throughout Tokyo, and attract hundreds of customers daily looking to experience being waited on hand and foot. Originally established to cater to male anime fans, maid cafes are famous for their adorable decor, decorated desserts and hourly singalongs. Some even offer spoon-feeding, if you’re into that.

Cartoons come to life at the 2D Cafe

Many places in Japan feel like they’re straight out of a cartoon, but none more so than the 2D Cafe in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. The mind-bending cafe is decorated entirely in black and white, giving the appearance of a drawing, and even the cakes and snacks are decorated this way. Understandably, such a photogenic and unique place is a big hit with influencers and vloggers.

Catch ’em all at the Pokémon Cafe

Tokyo’s Pokémon Cafe is a must-visit restaurant for any gamers visiting to Japan – or just anyone who wants to relive their childhood. The menu features meals, snacks and drinks based on the most popular Pokémon, including Bulbasaur Curry and Snorlax Fried Rice. If you’re dining alone, you’ll be joined by Pikachu, who also puts on an hourly show to entertain guests.

Dine out when you’re locked in The Lockup

Not for the faint of heart, this prison-themed restaurant gives customers a terrifyingly unique dining experience by throwing them in jail for dinner. After being handcuffed and led to your cell in chains, you can choose from a variety of suitably gross meals including ‘coal’ (dyed-black fried chicken), skull soup and the incredibly morbid lethal injection cocktail. You can even play a game of Russian roulette, with the unlucky loser forced to eat an incredibly spicy takoyaki.

Cozy up to reptiles in the snake cafe

Animal cafes are becoming more and more popular all over the world, but they’re usually dedicated to our fluffier friends like cats or dogs. If you like your dining companions to be on the slithery side, you’ll want to take a trip to the Tokyo Snake Center, where you can enjoy a cappucino while you cuddle a corn snake.

Dine with Dracula at the Vampire Café

This dingy, dungeon-like restaurant is a far cry from the flashy, bright streets of Tokyo’s Ginza district, making it a must-see on any goth’s Japan bucket list. The Vampire Café is Japan’s oldest and most iconic vampire café (yes, there are multiple!) and attracts visitors from all over the world due to its plush red velvet decor, delicious red cocktails and delightfully titled meals including ‘Tragic execution of traitor by burning to death’. Yum!

Fry your retinas at the Robot Restaurant

Nothing screams ‘Japan’ more than robots. The country is famed for its love of the mechanical humanoids, and has contributed much to the world of robotechnology. Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant was a sight to behold – while they ate diners would enjoy live shows, featuring huge robots, garish neon lights and futuristic dancers. Unfortunately, Robot Restaurant was one of the many casualties of the pandemic, and remains permanently closed.

Go back in time at Ninja Shinjuku

From the futuristic to the ancient – Ninja Shinjuku, located at the heart of Tokyo, celebrates Japan’s ninja heritage with a unique dining experience. Customers are treated to a show of throwing stars, magic and sword tricks while munching on delicious Wagyu beef and bonsai-tree shaped desserts. In true Japan style, there’s even a robot to greet you at the door.

Snuggle up at a Cuddle Cafe

Forget vampires, ninjas and robots – cuddle cafes might just be the weirdest entry on this list. Originally aimed at lonely young men, these cafes do exactly what they say on the tin, and customers can enjoy a platonic cuddle session for minutes or hours with the girl of their dreams. Other services include a pat on the head, staring into each other’s eyes and foot massage, but strictly no adult business is allowed in the cuddle cafes.

Enjoy a brain soufflé at the Resident Evil cafe

Resident Evil (or Biohazard, as it’s known in Japan) is one of Japan’s most successful and internationally beloved game franchises, so it makes perfect sense to capitalize on that. Making a restaurant based around the bloody, gruesome zombie series might seem counterintuitive, but fans actually flock to enjoy brain soufflé, zombie meat barbecue and vaccine-themed cocktails.