Everyone knows about the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. It’s where you go to watch giant mechanized insects fight robo-dinos in mid-air, while your senses are traumatized and your adrenaline is triggered. While you’ll no doubt be seeing plenty of the traditional side of Japan on your travels, this is the other side of the coin: the “weird japan” featuring girls, robots and all-round crazy vibes. Designed to satisfy tourist desire for the neon, modern and odd, you have to take the place for what it is—and leave any expectations at home. Here’s how to get cheap tickets for the Robot Restaurant experience in Shinjuku.
If you are keen to see (and be blinded by) the bright lights and robots, there are a couple of ways to save money on tickets for what should be a one-off experience (if only for your brain’s sake). Remember though, it won’t ever actually be “cheap”. The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo reportedly cost 10 billion yen to fit out and is usually full for each of the night’s four shows, so there’s no need for them to offer crazy deals to match their crazy shows. Discount tickets are available, though. Read on for more about those.
The Robot Restaurant: Ticket basics
Tickets at face value are ¥8,500 per person, but if you book via the “restaurant’s” own website, with a credit card, they are reduced to ¥7,500. Online bookings can be made until 5pm, and after that you can call. Aside from not getting the best discounts, the place has a strict no-refund policy for credit card cancellations. We say meh. You can do much better with a little searching.
Cheap tickets to the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
Discounts of 23-45% can be found using booking companies like Voyagin, so you shouldn’t ever need to pay the rather steep prices mentioned above.
Voyagin is one of the main hosts for the Robot Restaurant, and their long-standing relationship means they can offer a few extra benefits to make them stand out from the crowd. For example, Voyagin usually has excellent availability for times and shows, and when you book with them, you are basically booking direct, so you should receive your email confirmation fast.
Klook also have competitively-priced tickets, so it’s a good idea to look at both sites to compare and see which is offering the better deal when you’re wanting to book.
Pro tip: The mid-afternoon shows tend to have the cheapest tickets.
Note: While we might be living in a futuristic robot age, the ticket collection process at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo is still a little behind. Be prepared to line up 20 or so minutes before the show to present your e-ticket proof of purchase (smart phone is fine), in exchange for the actual entry ticket with your seat number.
The bar at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
Before the Tokyo robot battle show begins, you’ll be ushered into a waiting area and bar, where we were privy to a slightly off-brand Daft Punk style house band playing covers. Grab a drink here, as you’ll probably need it. Drinks are priced at regular Kabukicho rates, starting at ¥500 for a draft beer, and sitting at ¥800 for something a little fancier, like a craft brew. After 10 pm, the waiting room used to be open as a public bar, titled American Bar Ren, but this has since closed.
Note: The Robot Restaurant is considered family friendly, with no age restrictions on entry except for the 4:00 pm show (which is 15+), but the flashing lights and loud noises might be too much for some kids.
Food at the Robot Restaurant
Spoiler: It’s not actually a restaurant.
While the robot part is true, the restaurant part is not. Tickets no longer include a sub-standard bento (it can be added for ¥1,000–¥1,500 depending on the set, but we recommend you don’t bother), although they do have some cinema-priced snacks on the menu, including popcorn and churros, if you get peckish. You can eat during the shows at the Robot Restaurant, with plenty of intervals for you to buy food.
Our advice, though, is to eat dinner at a nearby actual restaurant before or after the show. You could see what’s being served up in nearby Golden Gai, perhaps. See what else there is to explore in Kabukicho, Shinjuku.
Robot Restaurant shows: What to expect
Robots of various shapes and sizes, loads of LED lights, crazy costumes, drumming, dancing and fake fight scenes. Oh, and dinosaurs.
The show is split into 3-4 performances, with intervals of varying lengths (5-15 minutes). During the breaks, you can dash to the loo and order snacks from the food menu. This is also a chance to buy not-so-cheapo souvenirs. In total, a show at the Robot Restaurant lasts for about 90 minutes.
Dress code at the Robot Restaurant
The dress code is casual. You can wear whatever you like, within reason: basically, your regular clothing should be fine. Closed shoes are a good idea, simply to avoid having your toes trodden on (space is tight between the seats—think squashy bleachers, rather than dinner tables).
If you’re one of those guys who likes to go topless, don’t—you do need a shirt. Bring a sweater in case you get chilly in the airconditioned basement.
What else to see and do around the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
While the Robot Restaurant’s neighborhood, Kabukicho, is known as a hotbed of “adult” fun, there are a few wholesome activities in the area too. On the way to the restaurant, you can always make a detour to say hello to Shinjuku’s largest (official) resident, Godzilla. For something a little more subdued and traditional, the Samurai Museum is a great choice, and if you need a little sedation, take a soothing soak in the Thermae-Yu hot spring complex.
Alternatives to the Robot Restaurant
For a slightly less intense, more family-friendly version with lower costs but just as much color and craziness, consider checking out the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku, pictured above.
First published in January, 2017. Last updated in July, 2020. Though we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.