Elle Chu Temple Japan

Japan Loves Themed Restaurants

I mean, who doesn’t? If I think back to my childhood, some of my most vivid memories were eating at Rainforest Café, a rainforest-themed restaurant filled with jungle flora and fauna and animal robotronics, or Medieval Times, a medieval-era themed restaurant that sometimes even held dramatic jousting tournaments! The waiters and waitresses were always so in character and everyone was always enjoying the new atmosphere! Themed restaurants are super fun and a unique dining experience, and Japan is all about that.

Earlier this year, both of my parents were here with me in Japan, and one of the things we decided to do was visit the Ninja Akasaka restaurant in Chiyoda. We almost missed it because the entrance itself was so concealed (as is befitting a ninja-themed restaurant)!

We were escorted to a little cave and told to hide there until we receive word from the next ninja. The space itself was really cool because the ceiling was actually pretty high, and they lit the area with faux candles and dim lighting – much like ninjas in hiding would do! We could also hear the water droplets hitting the stone walls, making the cave feel super realistic.

Black charcoal throwing stars and foie gras

This was the first of the courses to be brought out. Foie gras seems to be a really popular appetizer in Japanese restaurants… though I’m honestly still getting used to the flavor…

“Ninja” fried chicken with black charcoal breading

At this point, I stopped taking pictures of the food and started just eating the rest of the dishes because I was so hungry… sorry!

The rest of the courses were really fresh and followed the last of the season’s best harvests – which is kind of new to me. Coming from California, we’re pretty spoiled with our produce, as most of them are available year-round. But the seasonal harvests in Japan have definitely made me appreciate food on a much higher level! And themed restaurants in Japan usually follow a 6, 8 or 10-course set, which I found to be interesting because I feel like most American restaurants would let you choose a specific dish from the menu to be the family-style dish to share for the night, and maybe a few other sides.

Between courses, a ninja came to perform some “ninja” magic for us. Unfortunately no pictures because she said they were prized techniques that can’t be shared with those outside of the clan! Haha. I think my family and I are a little bad at reacting because we just gasp a little when we’re surprised… so if you come to a themed restaurant, make sure to have your best reaction expression ready!! It’s only more fun if you let yourself in on it!

Other notable themed eateries:
– Alcatraz (prison-themed restaurant)
– Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant (Alice-in-Wonderland-themed restaurant)
– Vampire Café or Maid Cafés
– Yurei (ghost-themed restaurant)
– Zauo (fishing-themed restaurant)
– Etc, etc, etc.; there are so many in Japan!!!

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