Japan, being the birthplace of Hello Kitty, Pikachu, and Totoro, is a country that absolutely loves illustrated animal characters. So ordinarily it wouldn’t be a surprise to spot a bar with a drawing of a bear, dressed in overalls, greeting customers at the entrance.
What is weird, though, is when you find one where the bear looks like he just murdered the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot.
That’s the storefront of Reeast Room, a bar in Tokyo’s Taito Ward, just a little over the Sumidagawa River from the Tokyo Skytree. Reeast Room’s concept is “a theme park where you can do things that you’re normally not allowed to,” and this permissive attitude takes many forms. For example, there’s a Free Art Wall (which also seems to include the floor) where you can express yourself as you see fit with fluorescent paints.
But what convinced us to step inside was Reeast Room’s ax throwing facilities.
Yes, that’s right, ax throwing. Reeast Room’s management is of the mind that if tossing back a few beers can be a way of blowing off steam after a stressful day of work, so can tossing forward a few axes.
Obviously, the ax-throwing space is separated from the rest of the bar by sturdy safety partitions. In front of you, mounted on the wall, is a target, because you’re not just throwing axes randomly like a barbarian.
It turns out that throwing an ax accurately is a pretty tricky endeavor. It’s a lot heavier, of course, than a dart, so you need to put some serious power into your throw for the ax to travel the full distance to the target. At the same time, you need to make sure it rotates just the right amount so the blade hits the wall first, not the handle.
We asked the staff if they had any pointers, and they told us “It’s just something you get used to after a while,” which we guess is an easier path to mastery if you happen to work in a place where you can chuck axes during your downtime. Thankfully, though, Reeast Room doesn’t charge by the throw, and with 30 minutes of time in the booth for 2,480 yen, eventually we started to improve enough that we felt ready to take on an added degree of difficulty.
One of the ax-throwing booth options is something Reeast Room calls the Bull Challenge. For 200 yen, the staff will put a balloon on the target’s bull’s-eye, and if you can hit it with your next throw, you win a free cocktail. Considering that the cocktails normally cost 690 yen, this is a significant saving. More importantly, since you’re reaping an economic benefit with a successful throw, it’s a chance to legitimately list “professional ax thrower” in the work experience section of your resume, so obviously we had to give it a try.
And we just missed.
Still, even if you don’t win any free booze, the weighty THUD as a successful throw buries the hatchet’s blade into the target is immensely satisfying, with a definitive finality far beyond what you can get from a dartboard. Or, if you want to mix things up, other options include throwing knives and shuriken.
If you’re more melee-minded, Reeast Room also has a Break Room, with the “break” being the smashing kind, not the resting kind, since you can go to town swinging a metal baseball bat into the scenery, like it’s the bonus round of an arcade game beat-‘em-up.
If you so choose, you can just eat and drink without wielding any weaponry.
Just remember to drink, and throw, responsibly.
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Komagata 1-2-13-1
Open noon-10:30 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (Friday-Sunday)
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