Japan Today
Image: SoraNews24

Has Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant closed permanently?

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant is one of the city’s busiest tourist attractions, entertaining masses of international visitors with four daily shows featuring light-filled performances starring robots and scantily clad women gyrating in mid-air.

▼ A taste of the visual extravaganza provided by Robot Restaurant


Though Robot Restaurant is open to everyone, it’s mostly frequented by foreign visitors, which means the place took a big hit when the country was shut off to overseas tourists due to travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic last year.

▼ In April 2020, the company announced it would be closing temporarily.


With Japan still closed to foreign tourists, and Tokyo currently under a state of emergency following a surge in new coronavirus cases amidst a fourth wave, Robot Restaurant has remained closed since April last year. While the official website still states that this is a temporary closure, people in Japan began to question whether that had now changed, after images showed the giant sign outside the premises had now been taken down.

▼ What Robot Restaurant usually looks like


▼ And this is how it looks today.


Photos and videos shared online showed the huge sign being taken down by a team with a small crane truck on April 17, almost a year to the day since Robot Restaurant announced its temporary closure.

▼ Twitter user @3693000World snapped these three photos of the removal work as it took place.




As soon as people around Japan saw the demolition work on the sign being carried out, chatter about the current status of the restaurant began to circulate online.

Comments included:

“So Robot Restaurant is finally closing…how sad to see an iconic Kabukicho landmark disappear.”

“Is it true that Robot Restaurant is closed?????”

“That place relied heavily on foreign tourists so it’s impossible for them to stay in business, considering the current situation.”

“The city is becoming more and more devastated by the pandemic.”

“Is this the end of the Japanese robot industry?”

One commenter, however, claimed the sign had been removed for safety reasons, saying:

“I spoke to someone connected to the restaurant and they said the shows have been suspended indefinitely. It seems the reason why the signboard was removed is because there would be a problem if it falls. But no matter how you look at it, it’s a withdrawal, right?”

We contacted Robot Restaurant directly to ask why the sign had been removed and if the temporary closure had become permanent, but as of this writing, they are yet to respond to our inquiries.

Here’s hoping they don’t become yet another coronavirus business casualty like these fallen companies, because with vaccines yet to be distributed in Japan, the wait to open the country back up to tourism looks like it’s becoming much longer than previously anticipated.

Source: Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese restaurant from the Edo Period forced to close due to coronavirus pandemic

-- Osaka loses a beloved icon as giant pufferfish disappears in the middle of the night 【Video】

-- Is it time for manga and anime to start introducing the coronavirus outbreak to their settings?

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I went there once, when I had friends visiting from overseas who really wanted to go (Nobody is missing anything if you were considering going). I couldn't help but notice the only Japanese people there seemed to be staff, more or less. Maybe a light sprinkling of people entertaining foreign friends/visitors.

At nearly 100% reliant on foreign visitors, I can't imagine they'd survive with closed borders.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The restaurant always told customers to come 15 minutes early because they cannot let in late comers. Why? Because when the show starts they have mechanical robots running around the entrance and stage floor.

they would need to interrupt the show to admit late comers and they made this clear when you booked tickets.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This place was so overrated. They totally went for the shock value + sensory overload and many tourists felt they had to experience it. Waste of time, money and tastebuds (the food was barely edible). Tokyo and Japan overall should see this business as a hallmark of the type of tourism to avoid, not attract. Unless you want to become a backpacker trail like Thailand or the rest of SE Asia catering to the lowest of the low.

It won't be missed.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

J Tokyo

So only rich people should be allowed to travel? No backpackers allowed. The rich already control everything else, now let's limit travel to the plebeians too.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I sounds like that no one will miss it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The staff were the rudest, most disagreeable people I have ever met in all my time in Japan

Well, seeing as it's yakuza-run, I'm not surprised.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who cares!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It wasn't a restaurant. It was just a show, a really poor show. If you were about 6 and had never seen a computer game, you may be slightly entertained. Otherwise unless watching a man push a "robot" on wheels around a room with bright lights and noise is your thing.... save your money.

I went with overseas guests who wanted to go.... they regretted later. Not a single Japanese customer in the room.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It was a cabaret (with bad bentos) wasn't it, a show, not a restaurant. It's nice when people use the right words for things. Especially things that aren't new.

I'm sure its fun if you go with the right attitude, but like 90% of the articles on Sora News, that attitude will have a very heavy slice of "OMG isn't Japan zany!" Confirmation bias, i.e., seeing what you want to see, will do the rest. I suppose tourists come looking for other aspects of Japan, zen or whatever, will do the same thing.

one of the city’s busiest tourist attractions

Busiest compared to what? Tokyo Disneyland? Meiji Jingu? Sky Tree? TDL will get 100 times as many people every day.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It was a schtick that was not going to last forever. The pandemic just quickened its demise.

The Robot Restaurant is like a circus, a casino, and a high school cafeteria had a baby.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good riddance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Like the Mario Kart thing, they won't be missed, the place catered to loud and obnoxious foreign millennials, good riddance.

So only rich people should be allowed to travel? 

Why not? Quality over quantity all the way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I went to a robot factory once. There were robots making robots . . . in the dark.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It was just tacky,

0 ( +1 / -1 )


I think you need to calm down little bit when topic is about Japan, it's not the keyboards fault. Still, Tokyo the best city for you.

This and Mario Cart are gone. Great for Japanese public.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Weird. Looks like Star Wars meets Mabini Street

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No problem. sure a new one will pup up as soon as COVID is subdued. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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