90 minutes of flashy robots, sea animals, bouncing parrots, mermaids, tribal dancers, and colorful lights. If you want to experience the unique, crazy side of Tokyo, the Robot Show is just what you are looking for.
1. Purchase tickets in advance. We purchased tickets for the 7:30pm Tokyo Robot Evening Cabaret Show at the Robot Restaurant months in advance. There are 3 shows a day and tickets sell out fast. Instructions state attendees must be present at least 30 minutes prior to the show time or no admittance. Running behind schedule, we arrived only a couple of minutes before showtime and were admitted.
2. Directions: Take the metro to Shinjuku station and exit through the east gate. After a short walk, an enormous white sign on one of the buildings with colorful letters: Robot Restaurant 20M with an arrow pointing straight ahead comes into view.
3. Arrive early enough to enjoy the show before the show. After receiving tickets, visitors are directed across the street to the flashy pre-show lounge. Drinks and food are for sale during a musical robot performance, but with so many restaurants in Tokyo we recommend grabbing lunch before the show. After the performance, there is an opportunity for photos with the stars. At 7:30pm everyone is directed to a different, but equally gaudy staircase leading to the robot show.
4. The front row is very close to the show. The room is rectangular with 3 tiers of seating on opposite sides with very narrow aisles. We enjoyed seeing the dumbfounded expressions on the faces across the stage from us between acts. Guests seated in the front row are warned by the crew, the show will be very close at times, requiring the audience to lean back. This is no exaggeration. Sitting in the front row, we leaned back several times to avoid being hit by a nearby float.
5. Exiting in the middle of an act is Prohibited. Overpriced popcorn, bento boxes, beer, and water are for sale between acts. Minutes before the show begins, the aisles are closed with chains. An announcement is projected onto one of the showroom walls instructing all drinks to be placed in the recessed cup holders and all objects removed from the small table. Anyone not seated when the chains are in place will have to wait until the act is over to return to their seat.
6. Participate. Wave that glow stick. Giving my arm a break, a giant parrot bouncing by stopped and handed me my glow stick. There are also times throughout the show members of the audience have an opportunity to participate.
7. The second act is crazier than the first. The crew installs a chain link fence between the audience and stage before the second act. Unrelated to the first act, projected onto the wall is a story of sea animals living a joyful, peaceful life invaded by evil, robot aliens. The video ends, darkening the room when sharks, crabs, lobsters, clown fish, and other aquatic creatures emerge on stage to battle the intruders. As the last wounded sea animal scampers off stage, the crew dismantled the chain link fence.
8. There are more than just robots in the show. There are robots, but also many other components to the show. The third act involves singers on floats corresponding with their outrageous attire, people wearing glowing strands of lights affixed to black body suits dancing to a Michael Jackson mash-up, tribal dancers, singing fish, and other strange performances. Just abruptly as the madness began, it ends and the show is over.
9. We Recommend the Robot Show. Keep an open mind. Some of the crew is dressed in black walking behind the floats and animals with a remote control, the costumes, robots, and floats do show some wear, but the show is entertaining and kept us laughing. Before booking the show, we read many reviews and watched Anthony Bourdain’s reaction in Parts Unknown. Leaving the showroom, we both agreed there are no words to describe what took place during those ninety minutes. It’s a Tokyo must see, sensory overload, experience!