Vampire Cafe: Over a decade of Tokyo’s best undead dining in Ginza

As one of Tokyo’s swankiest neighborhoods, Ginza is home to numerous up-scale restaurants and cafes that will as much do damage to your wallet as fill your stomach with delicious food. From French cuisine to delicious brunch, you can find just about anything in Ginza—including a Vampire Cafe!

Though you might not expect to see many theme restaurants like this in Ginza, it turns out these bloodsuckers have been going strong for over a decade. If you’re hoping for a night of spine-tingles and blood-red everything, this is the place for you!

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Onigiri good enough to get off the train for: We tried the food at Bongo and it was amazing!

Otsuka isn’t exactly the most famous neighborhood in Tokyo. Located next to bustling Ikebukuro, it’s a quiet area and most people assume there’s not much to do. Whether or not that’s actually true, one of our Japanese writers found himself getting off the train at Otsuka Station the other day with a singular purpose in mind: He was there to eat onigiri (rice balls).

But should you hop on a train to Otsuka just for some food you can buy at a convenience store? Is this onigiri restaurant really worth a trip to this quiet neighborhood? Read on to find out!

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New Tokyo restaurant promises food that tastes like crap: actual poo-flavored curry

It’s getting harder and harder to be truly original these days, and nothing much seems to surprise anymore. And then something like Curry Shop Shimizu opens in Tokyo. This is a real curry restaurant that specializes in poo-flavored curry.

The very notion of that is sure to send a flurry of questions up to the old cranium, the biggest one no doubt being “How do they know what poo tastes like?” Well, they actually have a good explanation for that, along with answers to other questions you may be pondering…

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Tasty and cheap: 30 minutes of all-you-can-eat yakiniku for only 780 yen

We used to think that the 45-minute all-you-can-eat lunch of cook-your-own grilled meat lunch for 950 yen (US$7.60), offered by the Jimbocho Shokuniku Centre restaurant, was pretty hard to beat in terms of value for your money. However, we’ve recently learned that there’s another yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo that offers an even better value!

If you love meat and are looking for a bargain, read on to learn about our meal at Asakusa Buta Yashiki Horumon Sakaba.

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Japan’s largest all-you-can-eat-and-drink offer spans eight different restaurants in Osaka

Since 1 July, a small corner of the Chayamachi district in the downtown Umeda area of Osaka has been holding a huge deal: All-You-Can-Eat-and-Drink Alley. For a flat rate of 3,500 yen (US$28) you can have three hours to run wild and eat as much as you want from eight different restaurants in the alley, going back and forth among them freely.

Still not enough? Okay picky pants, how does also having all-you-can-drink of any drink from coffee to wine sound? We thought that would convince you! Let’s take a quick look at what’s in store (or stores rather) for you there.

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Australia’s Muzz Buzz coffee shop to open Japan’s first drive-through outlet in Tottori

If you were to overlay a map of Japan with the locations of major restaurant and retail chains both domestic and international, the Chugoku region would look like a meteor hit it and Tottori Prefecture would be ground zero.

Tottori was the last prefecture in Japan to have a Starbuck’s open within its borders and still doesn’t have a 7-Eleven or Circle K anywhere. However, their fortunes appear to be changing, because the Australian coffee chain Muzz Buzz will be opening their first drive-through store in Tottori this autumn.

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Our Japanese reporter gets a heaping helping of American Denny’s

Our Japanese writers are certainly no strangers to American cuisine or at least the lower echelons of it. Whenever in the USA they tend to try places unheard of in Japan or compare easy-to-order fast food fare like McDonald’s.

One place that’s often overlooked on these trips is Denny’s. Already a well-established “family restaurant” (low-priced restaurant with waiting staff) in Japan they just assumed it was more of the same in America too.

However, after his close encounter with an empty gate at Area 51, our reporter Go Hatori was cruising across the vastness of the US and began feeling a little fatigued. He suddenly spotted that familiar yellow sign of a Denny’s and thought it would be a good place to catch a quick little bite.

Little did he know what lay in store…

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This restaurant has a new secret weapon: a robot that slices the perfect noodle faster than any human

China has a new celebrity, and it’s not another 7′ 6″ giant who can dunk a basketball or martial-arts master taking center stage in American action movies.

It’s a noodle-slicing robot named Foxbot, who can be found at Dazzling Noodles, an open-kitchen restaurant chain in North China’s Shanxi province.

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We go to Kanazawa to meet Bao, the miniature pig who works in a pork restaurant【Video】

Kanazawa City in central Japan is famous for fresh fish and seafood, kaga yasai (15 types of vegetables, officially ordained as “local”), and delicious rice and sake. But it’s not all fancy shellfish and obscure vegetables. The aptly named restaurant TABOO in Kanazawa has a real live miniature pig as its manager!

“But, surely the pig’s not actually there in the restaurant?” wondered our reporter Yoshio. “If so, he probably just works weekends.” What’s more, isn’t working in a pork restaurant something of a dangerous endeavour for a pig? “What if he’s already been eaten?” There was nothing for it – Yoshio’s mind was made up! He must head to Kanazawa for himself and attempt to secure an interview with this most unusual of restaurant managers.

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‘Dressed Omurice’ might just be the most beautiful omurice we’ve ever seen 【Video】

Ask Japanese kids what their favourite foods are and you’re as likely to get the answer “hamburg” or “curry rice” as you are “sushi.” Japanese food is popular around the world, but less well known to foreigners is the proliferation and popularity of yōshoku dishes – Japanese western food. Yōshoku makes up a sizeable part of the menus of family restaurants in Japan, as well as being popular home-cooked food. Staples include the aforementioned hamburger steaks (no buns) served with demi-glace; curry and rice, eaten with a spoon; naporitan spaghetti in a ketchup-based sauce; and of course omurice, chicken-and-ketchup rice topped with a thin yellow omelette.

There’s always room for a little more innovation, though. Like this restaurant in Saitama that’s turned the old favourite, omurice, into a beautiful swirl of eggy perfection.

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Gunma Prefecture automat diner serves surprisingly delicious hamburgers with a side of nostalgia

From corn soup to gold soda cans to stag beetles, you can find almost anything in vending machines situated on approximately every street corner in Japan. And not too long ago in Showa-era Japan, it was pretty common to see restaurants staffed entirely by vending machines serving bland, but hot food at an affordable price. Some savvy business owner decided to cash in on this nostalgia and recently opened up an automat diner where customers can relive a time when “dining out” meant putting coins into a vending machine and waiting for your food to pop out!

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Haneto Izakaya: Enjoy Aomori food and music from the comfort of Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.

Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!

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A restaurant in China is offering discounts to overweight men and thin women

In a ridiculous way to draw in more customers, a restaurant in China is offering discounted or free meals to customers of a certain weight, according to CRI English News.

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Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile

It’s no secret that there are a lot of unusual food choices available in Japan–some of which have upset quite a few people. There’s a good chance that this offering by a Yokohama restaurant will be no different and will likely divide people between the “gotta have some” and the “WTF?!” crowd. In addition to offering crocodile, ostrich, and camel meat, Chinjuya in Yokohama also provides customers with the opportunity to munch on fried axolotl grown in captivity.

You can even order giant isopods!

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Big shrimp for dinner! Food’s greatest oxymoron taken to its most moronic level

Japan loves to wow you with cute and tiny food. Sometimes the food is so tiny you need a magnifying glass to truly appreciate its beauty. Other times the food is so cute you can barely stand to eat it. However, you don’t often hear about the opposite end of the spectrum in Japan. The “Land of the Rising Sun” isn’t known for its gigantic foods and proportions. (You can leave that to the United States.)

But perhaps some restaurants are trying to separate themselves from the pack by adopting some more “Western” ideas. A restaurant in Nagoya is selling a dish of three humongous shrimp, and it’s definitely a sight to be seen! If you’ve never seen the largest shrimp in the world before, they make jumbo shrimp look, well…shrimpy!

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Kyoto restaurant only sells one dish, features mannequins and gets rave reviews!

In a country filled with countless ramen, udon and sushi restaurants, it can be very difficult to choose. Which one is the most delicious? The most interesting? How do you find the restaurant where you can understand everything on the menu?

If you’re in Kyoto, look no further than Issen Yoshoku, the restaurant that covers all those bases, plus, you never have to dine alone!

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The Yakiniku Rules: dating advice from the front line

“When you take a girl out for yakiniku, you have to follow the rules“, says Natsuko. “Too many men these days forget about TPO“, she adds, referring to the importance of the three things – Time, Place, and Occasion – that are supposed to dictate appropriate behaviour in social situations.

We asked one yakiniku-loving Japanese girl to give us her honest opinion on the dating game, and – well, it was pretty brutal.

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Cafe Talisman, Osaka’s Sailor Moon theme cafe

As we’ve previously discussed, Japan is chock full of cool little cafes. Obviously, not every single cafe in the country is going to be spectacular, but we have to say that we have found no end of fun places to sit down and order a coffee. But if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, we may have found the ultimate place to enjoy a latte: Cafe Talisman.

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Eating soufflé and hanging out in hammocks at Cafe Asan

Tokyo is practically overflowing with great places to eat–being one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world has to have some benefits, right? While rush hour traffic might be test the patience of even the most benevolent Buddhist monk, at least you can find a good place to eat without too much effort. Of course, not every eatery is going to be excellent, and some places tend to rely on gimmick as much as their culinary skills to pull in patrons, like hanging hammocks inside the dining area. Can you really enjoy a nice meal will swinging from the ceiling like a lazy Tarzan?

Well, we stopped by Cafe Asan in Ueno and sat in their hammocks to find out! Read on to see if you should add the cafe to your Tokyo itinerary.

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Secrets of the sushi shops: 10 tips and tricks the chain restaurants don’t want you to know

With major restaurant chains hit by food safety scares, and a factory worker jailed last month for lacing frozen foods with pesticides, consumer confidence in the food industry in Japan is at an all-time low. Writer and food safety campaigner Hirokazu Kawagishi’s latest book is a timely contribution to this renewed skepticism about the food we eat, where it comes from, and whether it is what it claims to be. In Gaishoku no uragawa (literally, “the other side of dining out”), Kawagishi reveals the secrets behind Japan’s restaurant trade.

In an extract published in Toyo Keizai this week, Kawagishi lifts the lid on Japan’s kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) with 10 pro tips to help you decide which restaurants are worth your time — and which to avoid.

Let’s take a look at what he recommends, including why you should always take a closer look at the squid; the secret significance of the hole in the soy-sauce pourer, and more tips to make sure you don’t get scammed at the sushi counter.

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