The Japanese capital offers no end of options for the visitor in search of the weird and wonderful. In fact, there might be no other city on the planet that has quite so many out there bars, restaurants, clubs and cafes. Here is a few of our favourites.
Vowz would be a pretty normal bar if it wasn't for the fact that every member of staff is a Buddhist monk. No, not a barman dressed up as a Buddhist monk or an actor portraying a Buddhist monk. An actual, 100% certified disciple of Buddhism. They are pretty talkative too, so, if you fancy learning about spirituality while relaxing with a beer, get on down to Vowz Bar.
Shinjuku 8bit Café
Retro gaming fiends will find themselves in heaven at this off-beat Shinjuku spot, where customers button bash on late 80s/ early 90s classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Brothers and Shinobi while DJs spin class game music and everybody drinks heavily. It's one of those kitsch, ultra-hipster ideas that seems so obvious you can't believe it hasn't been tried before. A table costs 4.50 and, for that, you get unlimited games. The crowd is not nearly as nerdy as you might imagine, as old school games are a pretty mainstream obsession in Japan.
If you like something a little different when you head out for dinner, then Kagaya might be just the thing for you. Described by some visitors as ‘the world's weirdest restaurant', it is run by owner Mark Kagaya, who has a, shall we say, interesting way to interact with the clientele. Mark is not the kind of owner who likes to sit in the back office counting the money but rather, believes in taking a hands on approach to the business. Most nights he is out on the floor taking his diners' orders using his huge collection of glove puppets, before delivering the food dressed in one of his many fancy dress costumes. Believe us, this description does not even halfway do justice to how strange it gets.
If you thought London's breakfast cereal café was the world's most strange single-food eatery, then you have not yet been to Tokyo's Mr Kanso. Here customers can choose from shelves stocked to bursting with what must be the world's largest and most varied collection of tinned food. From Spam to tuna to walrus curry and beyond, you can find just about any foodstuff on the planet stuffed into a little metal box and eat it right there on the premises.
Drinking and guns really don't mix, yet nobody told the owners of HollowPoint, Tokyo's only shooting range/pub. Customers can order a drink at the bar, hire an air gun and blast away at a selection of targets in a specially designed gallery. It's a lot safer than it sounds – after all, there are no real guns on the premises – and, if you like weaponry, a pretty fun night out.
Nakameguro Ping Pong Lounge
If you want to simultaneously pile on and burn off the pounds during an evening's boozing, then the Nakameguro Ping Pong Lounge is a good bet. Here beer and ping pong go hand in hand, with customers taking it in turns on the numerous tables between rounds.