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Our Favorite Shibuya Sights

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We spent many entertaining evenings in Shibuya, which has become one of the most exciting areas in Tokyo. There are so many bars, shops and things to do here, that it would be hopeless to attempt listing them all. But here were a few of our personal favorites.

Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street

Perhaps the best way to approach Shibuya is along Cat Street, by way of Omotesando. This curvy lane follows the old path of the Shibuya River, and brings you past loads of cool designer stores, vintage clothing shops, and cozy cafes. It’s is one of the most popular areas among the young and hip of Tokyo, and serves as a relatively laid-back introduction to the craziness you’re about to experience in Shibuya. [Location]

Shibuya Goat Cafe
Sakuragaoka – Goat Cafe

Found on the quieter southern side of the tracks, Sakuragaoka has won fame not for its food or drinks, but for its doormen. In a cage outside the cafe are two braying goats. Sweet-tempered Sakura is white, while boisterous Chocolat has a brown coat. You can pet Sakura without fear, but take care if attempting to touch Chocolat; that feisty beast will head-bash anyone who gets too close. The goats are fun, but our favorite part of this cafe was its familiar atmosphere and excellent food. [Location]

Photo Boxes

Yes, fine, the most important thing is inner beauty. Blah blah, now shut up and get out of the way, so I can get inside this photo box and show you what real beauty looks like.

You can find Fashion Photo Booths all over Tokyo, but for some reason it took a trip to Shibuya before we felt brave (or drunk) enough to step inside one. Want freakishly huge eyes like a Disney character? Want smoother, lighter skin like the finest porcelain? Want your wrinkles to vanish along with the last of your self-regard? Then these photo booths are for you. Results can range from terrifying to hilarious. But probably not beautiful.

Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei Automated Sushi

Sit down in front of a terminal at Uobei, and scroll through the options. Tuna nigiri, that sounds good. Salmon with mayo? Yes please. And a tempura shrimp roll for only ¥108? That’s crazy, I’ll take it. Selections made, you press “go.” A couple minutes later, a tray with three plates zips out along a magnetic belt, stationing itself in front of you. You grab the plates, press a button and zip, the tray flies off, back in the opposite direction.

Ostensibly prepared by humans, the sushi at Uobei is delicious and fun, but will make connoisseurs turn up their nose. One offering, for example, is cheeseburger sushi. Yes, we ordered it. Yes, we loved it. Though Uobei forces you to miss out on the human engagement which makes experiencing a foreign culture so rewarding, sometimes it’s nice to just look at color pictures of food, press buttons, and eat in blissful peace, no talking required. [Location]

Karaoke Tokyo

(With our friends from Chic Soufflé and Not Hemingway’s Spain)

Karaoke

You’re in Tokyo, so you’re doing karaoke. No, that’s not a suggestion, nor is it a threat. Just a simple declaration of fact. You’re in Tokyo, so you’re doing karaoke. Grab your friends, have some drinks, and relax. This isn’t American-style karaoke, where you’re asked to bleat in front of a huge crowd of strangers. In Japan, you rent a room, and the only people who will ever hear you are those you trust.

We thought that in Shibuya, karaoke might be too expensive, or that we’d have to wait in a long line. But in fact, this turned out to be the best place for it. There are a lot of halls, and maybe because they’re forced to compete, they’re cheap. You normally rent a room for an hour at a time, and the price includes all the drinks you want. The machines can be switched to English, and the song selection is excellent. Kanye West? Guns n’ Roses? System of a Down? 99 Luftballons? Shibuya’s karaoke halls have you covered. But as for your friends’ ears… they’ll have to cover those, themselves.

Crazy Shibuya
Maidreamin’

We sat down at our table in this below-ground restaurant in Shibuya, and were instantly made dizzy by the pixellated decor. Maidreamin’ is a cafe that takes its inspiration from the 8-bit world of Mario Brothers. I don’t remember any flirty french maids in the video game, but perhaps they were on Level Eleven.

We leaned back in our chairs and allowed ourselves to be entertained by a super-sweet cadre of hostesses who brought us food, served us beer, blew us kisses, taught us cutesy-pie songs, and even danced to ear-splitting J-Pop on a tiny stage in the middle of the cafe. It was a bizarre, very Tokyo-ish evening out and even though our personal tastes run more toward butlers, we had a great time. [Location]

Tokyo Tower Framed Photo

More Photos from Cat Street
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
Cat Street Tokyo
More Photos from the Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Shibuya Goat Cafe
Another Beauty Box Photo
Beauty Booth
More Photos from Uobei Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
Uobei  Automated Sushi Restaurant
A Couple More Karaoke Photos
Karaoke Tokyo
Karaoke Tokyo
Another Pic from Maidreamin’
Crazy Shibuya
Random Shibuya Pictures
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June 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm Comments (2)

The Robot Restaurant

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It’s hard to imagine an experience more perfectly suited to Tokyo, and one less likely to exist anywhere else, than Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant. With a stage show that stretches the definition of terms like “elaborate” and “bizarre,” the restaurant has quickly become one of the city’s most popular venues.

Robot Restaurant Tokyo

We were dazzled by the Robot Restaurant from the moment we spotted it. The entire facade was illuminated in blinding LED lights, and towering lady robots with giant bouncing breasts were roving about the foyer. A band inspired by Daft Punk was rocking out behind the robots, and everything was flashing and loud and over-the-top. Sensory overload? Definitely. And we hadn’t even picked up our tickets yet. I suspected that the performance was going to be more like sensory assault.

The Robot Restaurant

Having arrived well in advance of the evening show, we passed the extra time in the restaurant’s upstairs lounge. You’ll want to do the same, because the lounge is unbelievable. It’s as though the world’s most outrageous interior designers were given crayons, glue sticks, glitter and mescalin, and told to go crazy. Everything is mirrored and shining. On every table, there’s a robot dinosaur. On the stage, a lady-band clad in metallic bikinis and angel wings is playing soft lounge music. The drinks are cheap and the vibe couldn’t be better. You and the people around you are in a place unlike anywhere any of you have ever been, and you’re all excited and giddy and talkative. It’s a bonding experience.

Now, however, it’s showtime. You and your new friends head into the underground theater, take your seats, and await the spectacle. Soon, the lights go out, the speakers switch on, and giant vehicles appear on either side of the narrow stage, ridden by ladies dressed as Amazonian war princesses from the year 3000. They’re pounding on drums, rotating around the stage, screaming and dancing to the music, and you’re just… confused. What the hell is happening? It’s hilarious, pointless, impressive and overwhelming in equal measure.

And that’s just Act One! By the end of the show, which stretches out across seven or eight acts, you’ll have perhaps seen boxing robots. Women riding huge mechanical cows. An alien-eating shark robot. Huge motorcycles and airplanes with pole-dancing lady passengers. A tank, I think. There was definitely a freedom-fighting panda. The shows change frequently, so you might see other things entirely, things which no sane human would ever be able to predict.

We had fun from the moment we entered the Robot Restaurant, and I’m not sure my brain has yet been able to process everything we saw. Almost as much as the show, we enjoyed watching the spectators sitting across from us. Without exception, they had their eyes wide open and huge smiles plastered across their faces. I’m sure it’s how we looked, too.

Link: Book Your Robot Restaurant Tickets Here To Save 15%

Location on our Map

Buy Japanese Robotics Here

Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
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Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
Robot Restaurant Tokyo
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June 13, 2014 at 9:38 am Comments (5)

The Miraikan Future Science Museum

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We had a feeling that our visit to Odaiba Island’s Miraikan Future Science Museum was going to be awesome, and we were right. The only disappointment came when it closed, and we had to leave. Officially named the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, this is the most cutting-edge science museum we’ve ever visited.

Miraikan Museum Tokyo

Hanging from the ceiling in the foyer, the Geo-Cosmos globe welcomes visitors into the Miraikan. A Super-HD model of the Earth six meters in diameter, with organic LED panels that project over 10 million pixels, the Geo-Cosmos displays a rotating series of maps, from up-to-date global weather patterns, to topics like “Human Migration,” “Train Systems” and “Tuna Migrations.” It’s as absorbing as it is gorgeous, and we could easily have spent an hour on the lounge chairs in the foyer, watching it spin.

After tearing ourselves away from the globe, we toured exhibits dedicated to the International Space Station and the human genome. The museum is kid-friendly, but hasn’t been dumbed-down. There’s a hands-on model of the internet, for example, and an interactive room called “The Songs of Angura.” This is a fully immersive introduction to the science of Spatial Information. Kids can walk around playing with their “shadow-selves,” while adults can delve into supplemental material about creating digital space maps or the tracking of behavioral patterns.

The museum is usually crowded (this is Tokyo after all), but many of the exhibits ask you to take a number and assign you a time to return. It’s a great idea; when your time comes to play with the internet model, for example, you can do so in relative peace. And in the meantime, there are more than enough distractions.

One such distraction is provided by Honda’s famous robot, Asimo, who performs every hour in the museum. Initially, we found him adorable, this little humanoid tramping out onto the stage and waving at us. But as the demonstration progressed, I started to feel uneasy. Here was Asimo demonstrating how fast it could run, how it could jump, grab and throw, and all I could think was, “This thing could hunt me down and rip my head off, and there would be nothing I could do about it.” I’ve always known that the day would arrive on which we would bow before our robot masters, but in the Miraikan I realized how close it already is.

Before leaving, we went to the Miraikan’s dome theater for a 3D movie about the cosmos called Birthday. The 3D was top-notch, and truly created the illusion of diving into the Milky Way. I immediately wanted to watch it again, but we couldn’t. 5pm had rolled around and the museum was shutting down. We were ushered out… in the Japanese fashion, of course: politely and with much bowing and apologizing, but firmly. So for your own visit, make sure to show up early. Even then, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see everything it has to offer.

Location on our Map
Miraikan – Website

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Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
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Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
Miraikan Museum Tokyo
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June 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm Comment (1)
Our Favorite Shibuya Sights We spent many entertaining evenings in Shibuya, which has become one of the most exciting areas in Tokyo. There are so many bars, shops and things to do here, that it would be hopeless to attempt listing them all. But here were a few of our personal favorites.
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