restaurants

Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious

Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious

While Japan is brimming with hamburger joints, you can also find plenty of restaurants that specialize in the meatloaf-like hamburger steak. Served on a griddle to ensure it stays sizzling hot, the lack of a bun means that with a hamburger steak the meat can take center stage.

The drawback though is that not having two slices of bread to hold everything together usually means fewer options as to what ingredients you’d like in your hamburger steak, compared to a hamburger sandwich. Unless, that is, if you stop by the restaurant Sakana no Nakasei in Tokyo, where you can customize nearly every aspect of your hamburger steak, right down to what kind of meat to use and how coarsely it’s ground.

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We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

My wife, who’s always interested in learning more about foreign culture (no doubt in an effort to better understand her insufferably baffling husband), recently asked me how Easter is celebrated in America. “We usually hunt for Easter eggs and eat chocolate rabbits,” I told her, which quickly presented us with two problems. First, our apartment isn’t nearly large enough for a proper Easter egg hunt, and while you can get special Easter donuts in Japan, bunny-shaped candies are surprisingly nonexistent.

Stumped as to how to spend the holiday, my wife offered a suggestion. “Why don’t we go to the rabbit café?”

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With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

Theme restaurants can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re munching on Final Fantasy desserts or knocking back a cocktail while surrounded by witches and monsters, a little break with reality can be just the secret ingredient you need for a satisfying meal.

Except, what do you do if you can’t round up a posse to go with you? Playing make-believe in a group can be fun, when everyone is egging each other on and having a good laugh, but most people feel awkward enough eating in a normal restaurant alone, let alone one that’s recreating a fictional world.

Thankfully, the Moomin Café has a solution to the solo-dining dilemma: they’ll seat stuffed versions of the beloved cartoons’ characters at your table to keep you company.

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Dirt cheap all-you-can-drink sake sampler in Tokyo saves us money plus a trip to Akita

Dirt cheap all-you-can-drink sake sampler in Tokyo saves us money plus a trip to Akita

Sake is often referred to as “rice wine.” Some would argue the term is misleading, since unlike wine, sake is brewed, but Japan’s traditional spirit does have something in common with the world’s favorite grape-based alcoholic beverage. As with wine, depending on the ingredients and exact production process, two different types of sake can have very different flavors.

This can make searching for one that suits your palate a complex, if not unpleasant, task. There’s also the fact that most of Japan’s best-tasting sake is produced far outside of its major urban centers, which is why we were surprised and thrilled to find a restaurant in downtown Tokyo offering a sampler of sake from distant Akita Prefecture for just 500 yen (US$4.90). Our excitement only grew when we found out that the deal is also all you can drink.

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Raunchy rice, latex ladies, and squeezable soap dispensers: Taiwan’s first sex-themed restaurant

Raunchy rice, latex ladies, and squeezable soap dispensers: Taiwan’s first sex-themed restaurant

This, discerning people of the internet, is “Funny Sex,” a brand new restaurant located in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City. Featuring phallic food, booby-shaped stew pots, and more wieners than you could shake a sausage at, the joint is already receiving a lot attention online, and America’s CNN has included it on their list of must-see locations in the city.

Take a look behind the restaurant’s NSFW doors after the jump.

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Food, hard liquor, and guns all on the menu at Tokyo’s airsoft bar

Food, hard liquor, and guns all on the menu at Tokyo’s airsoft bar

When you want to blow off steam, there’s nothing like blowing something away, which partly explains why Japan’s interest in airsoft guns, which fire BB-like ammunition, continues to grow. But even though work is a major source of stress, most people don’t have the time to drive out to one of Japan’s rural airsoft fields (or catch a plane to the awesome urban set-up in Korea) after their shift ends.

Thankfully, though, there’s a way for Japanese professionals who’ve had a rough day at the office to fire off a couple rounds without putting a hole in their living room wall, as we found out at a Tokyo restaurant with its own airsoft shooting range.

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Mr. Sato sacrifices his hands on the altar of all-you-can-eat shrimp

Mr. Sato sacrifices his hands on the altar of all-you-can-eat shrimp

We all have foods that we love perhaps a little more than we should, but for Mr. Sato, a man whose love of food in general has taken him on many a colorful, abdomen-abusing adventure risking his health and even his sanity, the gustatory passion that tops all others is shellfish. So when he headed off to report on an all-you-can-eat shrimp restaurant for us, we feared for his life.

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Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.

Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.

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Six sensational Starbucks for sakura spectators

Six sensational Starbucks for sakura spectators

With the earliest varieties of cherry blossoms already starting to bloom around Tokyo, it’s almost time for sakura season to get into full swing! It’s Japan’s most enticing time to get out of the house and enjoy the beauty of nature! There’s just one little problem, though.

It’s still pretty cold out.

So if you’re torn between feeling immersed in Japanese culture and feeling anything in your toes, here are six Starbuck’s locations where you can relax with a warm cup of coffee while gazing at the cherry blossoms just outside the windows.

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Need gyoza right now? Great dumpling restaurant is just 20 seconds from Yoyogi Station

Need gyoza right now? Great dumpling restaurant is just 20 seconds from Yoyogi Station

Although the juicy pork dumplings called gyoza originated in China, they’re a favorite of both students and expats in Japan. Filling and cheap, they make a great hot meal, and are also a popular way to fortify yourself for a night of drinking, or to satisfy the alcohol-induced bout of the munchies that follows one.

While Japan is filled with gyoza joints, some of the most popular develop an almost cult following, so when we got wind of a tasty pot sticker depository called Sosan no Mise at the next station over from the RocketNews24 office, we decided to check it out.

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Indian restaurant’s unique interior appointment: corpse-containing coffins 【Video】

Indian restaurant’s unique interior appointment: corpse-containing coffins 【Video】

As with any business venture, the key to running a successful restaurant is to differentiate your establishment from its competitors. Earlier this month, for example, we talked about a pub in Kyushu called Sacrifice that accomplished this by filling its interior with creepy mannequins and props that would be right at home in any horror movie.

But for those of you who take issue with the inauthenticity of Sacrifice’s fake corpses and skeletons, might we offer this alternative: a restaurant in India where diners sit among coffins with centuries-old bodies inside.

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Ultraman pub lets you get ultra-full and ultra-drunk while having ultra fun

Ultraman pub lets you get ultra-full and ultra-drunk while having ultra fun

Among the many Japanese tales of heroes of justice battling giant monsters, Ultraman may just be the most popular. Since its television debut in 1966, hardly a year has gone by without a new Ultraman TV series or motion picture.

The franchise’s longevity means that many long-time fans who started watching when they were young kids are now full-grown adults. On the one hand, growing up means more responsibility, but it also means more freedom, including the freedom to knock back a few cold beers at a new dining and drinking establishment where Ultraman’s monstrous foes take center stage.

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Tokyo restaurant says its lunch set has too much sashimi, as if such a thing were possible

Tokyo restaurant says its lunch set has too much sashimi, as if such a thing were possible

One of the biggest restaurant trends in Japan over the last two decades has been a steady erosion of the image that delicious food equals high prices, and vice-versa. These days, there are some real bargains to be found for those willing to do a little searching, particularly at lunch.

The afternoon dining market has gotten so competitive that often you can get an amazing meal plus change for the 1,000-yen bill you use to pay for it, which is exactly what you get with this gigantic tuna sashimi bowl.

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Tokyo café says the best ice cream topping is two more ice cream cones

Tokyo café says the best ice cream topping is two more ice cream cones

Today, let’s take a moment to ponder a serious question: what’s the best sundae topping? The old stand-by of a dash of sprinkles? A handful of chopped nuts for a little crunch and texture? Or do you find the idea of all that empty-calorie decadence troubling enough that it threatens to ruin the fun, so your vote goes to a few pieces of fruit?

We say the correct answer is none of the above. For our money, the best way to crown your parfait is with a whole ice cream cone. Of course, some of our more sarcastic readers may ask, “Yeah, smart guy? Well then what do you put on top of the ice cream cone?”

Another ice cream cone, obviously. Did you even have to ask?

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Horror bar Sacrifice has spirits of both the haunting and drinkable kinds

Horror bar Sacrifice has spirits of both the haunting and drinkable kinds

I’ve never fully understood the appeal of horror movies. After all, what’s the point in paying good money for something that’s going to make you want to pee your pants? On the other hand, purchasing beer always seems like a wise financial decision, despite its similar bladder-assaulting properties. Now, there’s a place where both fright fiends and fans of fermented barley can get their fix, the horror bar Sacrifice.

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The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

Hospitality Magazine recently announced its annually updated list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia. While the top prize went to Bangkok’s Nahm, Japan did snag the second and fifth place sports on the list.

But while Japan has a rich and complex cultural legacy all its own, its most highly ranked dining establishment isn’t a Japanese restaurant, but a French one.

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Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

The basic idea of going to a cafe is that it’s a place to relax for an hour or so. You can sit down and have a cup of coffee, but eventually you’re going to get hungry, smelly, or sleepy. Sooner or later you’ll need to leave and go somewhere else for a real meal, hot bath, and good night’s sleep.

Unless, of course, you stop by a unique cafe in Saitama Prefecture, which not only has luxurious Japanese-style bathing facilities, but just about everything you need for a comfortable lifestyle.

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What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

Curry is pretty much the ultimate Japanese comfort food loved by children, adults and picky eaters alike. And with data showing that Japanese people eat curry more than once a week, it has definitely become one of the country’s national foods despite its Indian-British origins. And one curry restaurant in particular, Curry House Coco Ichibanya or “Coco Ichi” to its patrons, is reaping the benefits of this curry craze, claiming about 80% of the market share! With more than 1,200 shops in Japan and 116 overseas franchises, it seems like nothing can stop this curry giant.

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Wander into the magical land of Ghibli in this fairytale forest town

Wander into the magical land of Ghibli in this fairytale forest town

The only thing more gorgeous than the characters from Studio Ghibli’s animated movies would have to be the magical lands in which they live and play. And if you’re looking to play in a forest town where Totoro might be lurking, this unique shopping town in Japan’s Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is the perfect location.

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Japanese restaurant chain turns boring old chopstick sleeves into fun origami

Japanese restaurant chain turns boring old chopstick sleeves into fun origami

Family restaurants like Saizeriya are a staple of Japan’s cheap culinary world. From fake Italian food to fake Mexican-Indian hybrids that taste far better than they really should, family restaurants are a great place to hangout for high school students, to grab a quick meal between meetings for harried salarymen, or to take hungry kids for frazzled parents. Though convenient, the chains aren’t exactly known for their high class presentation.

However, Aiya, a family restaurant focused on Japanese-style cooking, has come up with a way to offer their customers a bit more pizazz!

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