restaurants

Our writers show you how to have the most fun at the new Hooters in Tokyo 【Pics】

Spring is a time for new beginnings as well as a great time to open new shops and businesses, and people are eager to escape from their apartments where they spent most of the winter season. Luckily, there are plenty of grand openings everywhere you turn this time of year, which is why our intrepid writers were met with a 100-plus-person line at the new Hooters location near the West Entrance of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station on May 18.

They couldn’t make it into the restaurant on opening day, so they decided to go back the next day, with a twist! What better way to enjoy the newest Hooters restaurant in Japan than by cosplaying the Hooters costume?

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Japanese restaurant in Thailand hangs lanterns announcing “I love boobies” and other philosophes

Even after living in Japan for more than a decade, I still get excited when I see a restaurant with paper lanterns hanging out in front of it. The mix of vibrant colors and bold calligraphy is just so uniquely Japanese that it instantly fills me with a sense of excitement.

Of course, just a bit of the eroticism has faded over time, especially now that I can read the calligraphy and tell that it usually doesn’t say anything more dramatic than “draft beer” or “grilled chicken skewers.” But while those lanterns are usually giving the menu highlights in Japan, at this Japanese restaurant in Thailand, they’re instead plastered with non sequiturs, gags, and the occasional philosophical declaration and/or love letter to women’s breasts.

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Halal ramen comes to Tokyo with Asakusa restaurant, and it’s so good anyone will enjoy it

For decades, the international perception of ramen was that it was something for lazy college students to buy in bulk for when they wanted a quick, hot meal, with only minimal thought given to flavor or presentation. And while ramen does sometimes take that form, assuming it’s all like that is sort of like basing your whole image of pizza on microwavable frozen varieties.

Thankfully, there’s a ramen renaissance going on, as the rest of the world is getting onboard with just how delicious Japan’s favorite noodle dish can be. In response, some restaurants in Japan are adapting to make their food more accessible to foreign visitors, such as this restaurant in Tokyo that serves halal ramen.

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Ultraman-themed Kaiju Pub is coming back to Kawasaki, and this time it’s here to stay!

Getting pounded into the turf by a 40-meter (131-foot) tall martial artist who can shoot beams of energy from his hands can’t be an easy lifestyle. So last year when a restaurant opened in Kawasaki to honor the giant monsters and aliens who so often end up on the losing side of the battles in the Ultraman franchise, we thought it was nice they now had a place to relax, enjoy some tasty food, and knock back a few beers between regularly getting pummeled by the good guys.

Of course, we Earthlings were also welcome at the establishment, called the Kaiju Sakaba (“Monster Pub”). We stopped by shortly after the place opened last year, and all of the Ultraman-themed decorations made us feel like we were little kids again (well, at least until our first round of alcoholic drinks arrived, anyway). And then we felt like little kids again as wept in sadness upon hearing the Kaiju Sakaba was closing last March.

But, just like the ending of each installment of the Ultraman saga gives way to the next chapter, the Kaiju Sakaba is coming back to Kawasaki later this month, and this time it’s here to stay!

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Vegetarian ramen in Tokyo? Not only is it available, it’s apparently pretty great too!

Japan is filled with excellent food, but one of our absolute favorites is ramen. There’s just something (possibly everything) about it that’s absolutely delicious. That said, it does present a problem for vegetarians and vegans, since even the broth uses a fairly copious amount of animal products. Now, you may not care about that, but maybe you have a few friend who do. Or maybe you’re just looking for new takes on traditional food. If so, T’s Tantan, a vegetarian ramen restaurant, is just what you’ve been looking for.

We recently sent one of our Japanese writers to check it out, and now you can read his report below and then go try it out for yourself! Or at least tell all your vegetarian friends about it. We promise they’ll love you if you do!

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New Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo has live public anime viewing and themed food and drinks

Last year, we brought to you all the excitement surrounding the broadcast of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime, coming some 22 years after the original series it rebooted was released. The new anime has so far been streaming on Japanese video sharing site Niconico, but starting April 6, Sailor Moon Crystal will finally air on Japanese TV.

To commemorate the TV broadcast of the new anime, a Sailor Moon themed cafe will appear for a limited time at the Anion Station, a unique cafe and bar located in Shinjuku that caters to fans of anime songs. For one month, the Sailor Moon cafe will be offering special treats and drinks inspired by the anime, as well as  live public viewing of the TV broadcast. Now, that’s bound to attract some ardent Sailor Moon devotees!

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Nine of our Japanese writers share the restaurants they absolutely must visit again!

Have you ever had a meal so good that you decided you absolutely had to come back at least once before you kicked the bucket? It might have been some tiny restaurant on a beach or a five-star establishment in Shinjuku, but we imagine lots of people have some special place where the food was just freaking perfect.

So, we asked our Japanese writers what those places were for them and compiled the answers. You’re welcome! Click below to find out the ten places (someone cheated) they absolutely must visit again and see if your favorite eatery made the list.

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Drinkers’ paradise found at Tokyo restaurant-100 types of sake, all-you-can-drink, no time limit

A lot of bars and restaurants in Japan offer special deals where you can drink as much as you like for a certain amount of time, usually about two hours. The downside is these packages often don’t give you access to the full beverage menu. While beer and basic cocktails are generally included, if you’re in the mood for sake, you’re generally restricted to whatever the house brand is.

So we were excited when we heard about a new watering hole opening up in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood that lets you pick from 100 different types of sake for its all-you-can-drink plan, and even better, there’s no time limit.

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Abashiri: Home of Japan’s Prison Museum, Prison Cafeteria, and Prison Beer

Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.

That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.

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Sanrio character My Melody’s new cafe may be Tokyo’s cutest (and pinkest) yet

Although Hello Kitty is its most recognizable icon, she’s not the only star in the Sanrio lineup of cute mascot characters. Pink-hooded rabbit My Melody also has a loyal fanbase since her debut in 1975, and starting this month, she’ll be getting her own cafe in Tokyo, complete with palate-pleasing pink parfaits, curry, and special My Melody merchandise you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

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Staggering servings of salmon roe are waiting for you at these four Tokyo restaurants

There are a couple of distinct price tiers to seafood in Japan. Squid and octopus tend to be very budget-friendly, with a step up in price for sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. Among the most premium offerings of all is where you’ll find salmon roe, or ikura as it’s known in Japanese.

Due to its high cost, ikura is usually served in modest quantities, sometimes seeming more like a garnish than a legitimate component of the meal. However, that’s not the case at these four Tokyo restaurants, which dish up such generous portions that their ikura literally overflows the bowl.

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Dutch restaurant’s odd ramen with soybeans has one ingredient we didn’t expect, lacks one we did

As the cuisine of one country becomes popular inn others, sometimes it picks up new ingredients and variations of part of its journey around the globe. For example, spaghetti bolognese is incredibly popular in Japan, but so is pasta with mentaiko (spicy cod roe).

The fact that the latter isn’t something you’d ever find in an authentic Italian restaurant doesn’t make it any less delicious. So when our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro spotted a restaurant in the Netherlands advertising ramen with one very unusual ingredient, he decided to give it a shot. Little did he know, though, that the surprises were just beginning.

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Our Japanese staff members pick the top places in Japan they’d like to visit again someday

Figuring out where to go during your stay in Japan can seem like an insurmountable task. For first-time visitors to the country, there are so many famous places to visit that the task of deciding becomes overwhelming. On the other hand, if you’ve been living in Japan for a while, you’re probably tired of all the crowded, touristy places and would like to go somewhere off-the-beaten path.

To help out our readers who are struggling with this internal dilemma, we’ve asked three reporters from our Japanese-language RocketNews24 team to share with us the top three places in Japan they’d definitely like to visit again someday. These three have had ample opportunities to travel to various places around the country and experience the local scenes in the name of eclectic journalism, so you can think of them as seasoned experts on the matter. Let’s see what little-known travel recommendations they have waiting for us!

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Awesome Akihabara restaurant sandwiched by busy train lines offers more thrills than a maid cafe

For a time, shopping for electronics was just about the only thing to do in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. In recent years though, the area has gone through a renaissance, and it’s now packed with restaurants and cafes, too.

Of course, just because your feet are tired and your throat is parched doesn’t mean you’re ready for the excitement to stop. So if you’d like to mix some thrills in with your cafe time, how about stopping in for a drink or snack at a restaurant that’s sandwiched between the tracks of one of the busiest train lines in Japan?

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Have the “best coffee in Paris” in Tokyo! We visit new Coutume shop in Futakotamagawa

Paris is certainly a city with no shortage of cafes, and when the coffee you’re serving is good enough to be highly praised by discerning Parisians, you’re bound to get noticed — even half way around the world in Tokyo! That’s exactly what’s happened with the cafe Coutume, which opened its third location in Japan earlier this month. The new shop, located in Tokyo’s Futakotamagawa neighborhood, provides a slightly different service style from the first two branches in Japan that opened last year in Aoyama (also in Tokyo) and Osaka.

And of course, we were more than eager to go and check the new shop out on opening day to taste what some people are saying is Paris’ best coffee!

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El Bulli-trained Japanese chef serves edible origami at gastro cafe Celaravird 【Pics & Video】

Molecular gastronomy, the science-based art of cooking, has brought us some mind-blowing edible concoctions over recent years. Rose water balloons, vinegar gels and fruit caviar are some of the dishes pioneered by leaders of the movement, including Ferran Adrià, chef of the famed El Bulli Restaurant, and René Redzepi from Noma, whose restaurants have been named best in the world.

Koichi Hashimoto has worked with both these chefs and is now bringing what he’s learnt from the greats to a 16-seater dining room near Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. His nine-course dinner menu, priced at 6,800 yen, is an absolute bargain in the molecular meal world, and reflects his aim to bring creative gastronomy to casual dining. Come with us as we take you through the menu at Celaravird, with all the delicious photos from our recent visit.

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Set your alarm! Limited time maid breakfast cafe coming to Tokyo’s Akihabara

For most of their patrons, a visit to one of Japan’s maid cafes comes after a tough day at the office, or maybe as a special reward at the end of a busy week. But if enjoying the cafes’ light fare and frilly costumes can come as a pick-me-up after some hard work, can’t it also provide the energy boost to kick-start your workday?

That’s the theory behind a new, limited-time maid cafe that’s opening up in Tokyo, where customers can bolster their spirits with a maid-made breakfast before heading out to tackle the day’s challenges.

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Continuing our tour of the best sushi in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market with Mr. Sato! (Part 2)

After the first part of our Mr. Sato-lead tour of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, we’re sure a lot of our readers are excited to see what else our resident gourmand had for us. And now the wait is over! Here are the last four sushi establishments as visited by Mr. Sato and his daring accomplice in raw fish consumption Nakano.

Whether you’re preparing for your first trip to Tokyo or just looking for some great places you might have missed, this is one article you’ll definitely want to read!

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Friends too busy to go to the Pokémon Cafe? No problem! Pikachu himself will sit with you

If you’re a Pokémon fan who’s feeling blue over missing your chance to eat at the limited-time restaurants based on the series that previously appeared in Yokohama and Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood, cheer up. Until the end of February, the Pokémon Cafe is back again, this time in the trendy part of Tokyo called Shibuya, and looks to be cuter than ever.

Unfortunately, when you combine food and cuteness in one of the busiest cities on earth, you also get long lines. Helping to make the wait worth it, though, is the possibility of having a meal while sharing your table with a very special dining companion, Pikachu.

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Tokyo University campus has its own sushi restaurant where great dining meets higher education

No matter how scholastically talented you are, it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach. Even the bright minds at Tokyo University, Japan’s most prestigious institute of higher learning, need to take a break from studying and grab some chow now and again.

Of course, it’s hard to give yourself a mental recharge eating bland cafeteria food. Thankfully, that’s not a concern for the students of Tokyo University’s Kashiwa Campus, who’re lucky enough to have an amazing sushi restaurant right on the school grounds.

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