Christon Cafe: the church themed restaurant in Shinjuku

Christon Cafe is a restaurant and clubbing space in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Early in the evening it functions as a restaurant (moreso than a cafe), transforming into a night club later on. Christon Cafe comes up on plenty of lists of weird themed restaurants, so we decided to check it out.

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Gundam Cafe: an anime cafe in Akihabara

Akihabara (秋葉原) – or Akiba for short – is a suburb of Tokyo filled with electronics, games, anime, adult items (or a combination of all of these) as well as plenty of maid cafes. If you’re into any of the above, you won’t want to miss a trip to Akihabara. It’s also home to one of several Gundam themed cafes, a popular venue for fans of the Gundam anime series.

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Eorzea Cafe: the Final Fantazy XIV themed cafe in Akihabara

Eorzea is a Final Fantasy XIV themed cafe in Akihabara. Japan takes themed bars, cafes and restaurants pretty seriously, and game company Square Enix is not new to the themed venue playing field. Boasting several themed eateries including the popular cafe and store, Artnia, Square Enix’s most recent cafe, Eorzea opened in July 2014. Eorzea is a collaboration between Square Enix and entertainment company Pasela which runs karaoke and restaurant chains. The cafe is modelled on the Carline Canopy, a building within the Final Fantasy XIV game, and has become a place of pilgrimage for serious Final Fantasy fans visiting Tokyo.

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Maid Cafe: Maidreamin Digitized Cafe in Shibuya

Themed cafes are a big thing in Japan, and one of the most popular type of themed cafe is the maid cafe (メイド喫茶 or メイドカフ). You might see these included in lists of crazy cafes and weird themed restaurants, and more specifically, in amongst a sub-category of unusual themed eateries known as cosplay restaurants (コスプレ系飲食店). If you’re interested in trying out some themed dining options in Japan, you might want to think about adding a maid cafe to your itinerary.

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Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum: not your average themed restaurant

A couple of years ago I read about a ramen museum in Yokohama and added it to my 2013 Japan itinerary. We ran out of time, so put it on our itinerary again in 2014. This time we actually made it! Officially it is called Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, but is also referred to as the Yokohama Ramen Museum. I loved the idea that a country could be so fond of one of its dishes that it would dedicate a whole museum to it. I’d heard that it was really great, and I had images in my mind of a big museum all about ramen, with some food tasting at the end. This sounded like something a little different, I was pretty excited.

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Artnia: the egg-shaped Square Enix store and cafe

Located in an egg shaped building in Shinjuku, Artnia is both a cafe and Square Enix merchandise store. For those who are not familiar with Square Enix, this is the company responsible for Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and other games. Restaurants, bars and cafes associated with games (as well as anime) are amongst the things that Japan does best, and Artnia is no exception.

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Planetarium Bar Tokyo: Japan’s darkest bar

Planetarium Bar (プラネタリウム BAR) is one of a number of venues that comes up on those lists of “Top 10 Weird Themed Bars in Japan” and “Top 5 Crazy Cafes in Tokyo”, but not many people seem to have actually visited this one. When I read about such venues on these types of lists and then I visit the bar/restaurant/cafe for myself, I’m often surprised at how different the place is to what I was expecting. Well, Planetarium Bar was certainly no exception to this rule!

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