There’s no doubt that Japan is one of my favourite countries, having visited there twice in the last two years, and now I’m back again for another trip! The last time I was there, I remember seeing huge robots driving around the streets of Shibuya promoting the Robot Restaurant (ロボットレストラン) and I knew that I had to pay it a visit this time.
Ticket prices are increasing every year for a ticket, but there’s a few online retailers with discounts (get discounted tickets here). It’s best to pre-buy online or buy in advance rather than just showing up because it sells out fast to the many tourists visiting Tokyo.
Upon arrival, if you’re early you’ll be ushered upstairs to a waiting room adorned by gold plush seats, mirrored walls and ceilings encased with lights and some futuristically dressed performers playing a jazz set. This preview is nothing compared to what is about to happen.
Once it’s time for your show, you’ll be ushered down mirrored staircases which seem to go on forever (four storeys from memory) and into a room with three rows of seats on either side. Before the show starts, you can grab some popcorn and drinks or also a bento box for an extra ¥1000 (I didn’t get one as it didn’t look too appetising). Patrons sitting in the front row are warned to sit back because robots and stages coming out will get really close to the front row, and there is a danger of getting hit in the head if you attempt to lean forward or stretch out. Luckily I’m in the back row with a nice elevated view of everything.
Then the show begins! Unlike all the promotional material, it’s not just giant robot girls – it’s so much more. It starts off with large stages wheeled out with girls dressed in colourful costumes, banging on traditional Japanese taiko drums whilst chanting in unison. I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s quite a theatrical show, mixing in a few elements of traditional music with a modern twist.
And then it just gets whackier and whackier. There’s a duet of Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s Telephone, robot boxing with a randomly selected patron from the crowd, a whole range of robot animals (snake, shark, dragon and spider to name a few) and of course giant robot girls with human girls riding them. You’ll also be temporarily gifted with a light stick to wave around with the performances half way through (sadly you can’t keep them). There isn’t a coherent story throughout the performance but there is a mild theme of good vs bad in a robot world. Nevertheless, it’s a spectacular light show with singing, dancing, half naked girls and robots – no story telling needed at all.
The only downfall is that each performance goes for about 10 minutes each, and in between performances whilst they change costumes and sets, workers will come out spruiking beer and snacks. It’s fine at first but after they try and sell you snacks 10 times, it does become a bit tiring as I’d rather just watch more performances. There’s also only one male and one female toilet servicing all customers and you’ll need to dash out quickly in between sets – not the best idea if you’ve been drinking all that beer!
Overall the show goes for 1.5 hours (or could be 1 hour 10 mins if you exclude the beer/snack spruiking). There’s no doubt that it’s highly entertaining and it was definitely more theatrical than I expected it to be. Is it worth it? Watching it once is enough for me, but I am glad to have experienced it. It’s a pricier option to experience the crazy side of Japan and is largely a tourist attraction (you’ll find very few locals attending it) but is worth checking out if you’re into lights, dancing, singing, theatrics and robots.
Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kabukicho, 1 Chome−7−1, 新宿ロボットビルB2