If you are coming to Tokyo and hoping to grab a drink then you’re in luck. Japan loves nights out on the town. The bars in Tokyo are notorious, they supply high quality drinks till early in the morning and are jam-packed full of inebriated salary men, office workers taking part in crazy parties and a whole host of interesting Japanese characteristics.
Drinking is an incredibly popular pastime and a massive industry in Japan, but just like with everything else, the Japanese have put their own unique twist on it. Because of the vast competition that the bars of modern Tokyo face, a selection of establishments have resorted to some quite creative tactics to stay ahead. In the West we might have a simple themed bar such as an Irish pub, but things in Japan are rarely simple, they always like to go the extra mile. Here are four of the strangest bars in Tokyo that need to be seen to be believed.
1. Science bar INCUBATOR
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Located near Yotsuya-Sanchome station, this little bar has a crazy gimmick that will leave you wanting more. Science bar INCUBATOR (Also known as simply Incubator) is a chemistry themed cocktail bar. Upon entering the fine establishment you will be bombarded by the visuals of a laboratory right out of a science fiction film. Real and replica scientific equipment surrounds you and is even used to make the drinks.
When you enter you will be expected to get into the spirit of things. You need to put on a white lab coat and slip into the role of the (soon to be drunk) mad scientist. The eighteen seater bar becomes full of mad scientists all served by qualified biologists themselves dressed in lab coats, goggles, and industrial gloves. They will bring you a variety of strange concoctions to entice you. The drinks come in test tubes, beakers and all sorts of strange containers in keeping with the theme. Don’t be scared if your drink starts to bubble or fizz when it comes, that’s part of the bars charm. If you order any kind of drink best served warm, such as sake, you can keep it nice and toasty with a Bunsen burner. Even the water is filtered through a Millipore system.
The food here is equally quirky, served in a mock gourmet style, you must eat it with the measuring spoons and tweezers it is served with, don’t ask for chopsticks or forks here. Every meal you order comes with its own side dish of dehydrated figs made to look like a scientific experiment gone array.
Science bar INCUBATOR is becoming very popular, not only for its bizarre theme but also for its highly recommended food.
2. Little TGV
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Do you love trains, cute women and ordering a variety of side dishes instead of a whole meal? Then you’ll love little TGV. Located in Akihabara this place is a cross between a maid café and an izakaya. It offers the usual izakaya treatment of copious amounts of alcohol as well as variety of food to try, but it does it a little differently.
This izakaya is made for people who love trains to an unhealthy degree. There are no windows, only large TV screens showing non-stop train videos. The staff all dress in the cutest train uniforms imaginable. The booths are made to look like fancy train carriages, and they have a model train exhibition. As if this wasn’t train heavy enough already, all of the drinks are named after railway lines around Japan, and the staff will use ketchup to write any station name you request on a serving of omu-rice.
3. Kaiju Sakaba
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For those of you who don’t know, kaiju is the name give to giant Japanese monsters such as Godzilla. These monsters have been a big part of Japanese media and culture since the country started producing film and television. There are many fans of the giant monster movie genre around the world and this bar caters to that fandom.
Kaiju Sakaba is filled with Kaiju memorabilia, from the original Godzilla to the more recent Hollywood movie Pacific Rim. All of the food and drink on the menu are named after monsters from the popular Japanese scif-fi show Ultraman, which included a whole host of villainous kaiju. Ultraman has been running since 1966, and has had a variety of different incarnations through comic, tv, film, video games and more. This long lasting series has spawned some of the most iconic characters in Japanese filmography, as well as created a style that has influenced Japanese media immensely.
The whole place looks like a miniature toy museum, and all of this is made even more bizarre by the manager of the bar who dresses up as these monsters and periodically checks in on his customers. This bar is a must visit for film buffs, monster fans, or just connoisseurs of the absurd.
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Colors may technically be a café but its open late and was too weird not to be mentioned. It is not every café that lists items on its menu such as “quit smoking” or “reconnect with you inner child”, but the hypnosis café Colors offers this and so much more.
The bar was first opened in Sapporo but has since moved south to the more receptive customers of Shinjuku in Tokyo. This bar offers a variety of drinks to help you relax but what people really come for are its mind bending sessions of hypnosis. The bar takes on up to eight clients at a time and they are served by the barista who is also the hypnotist. He guides clients on a journey through their minds for anywhere between ¥1000 to ¥15,000. It can get a little pricey, but it is far cheaper than any qualified psychologist and many people are eager to try their Trauma Erasing Service, Past Life Regression Guide, as well as their most popular service Diet Hypnosis.