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Tokyo jumps on theme bar bandwagon

by Yoshiaki Miura

Staff Photographer

Tokyo and its surrounding areas provide an array of entertainment spots to serve the varied interests of its inhabitants, day or night. The latest fads are theme bars and restaurants for those seeking an unusual drinking or dining experience. Guys who were fascinated by Ultraman in the heady high-growth 1960s can lose themselves in nostalgia at Kaiju Sakaba — www.kaiju-sakaba.com — a Kawasaki restaurant-bar themed on the space monsters the hero battled in the sci-fi TV series, whose popularity with kids pushed its viewer rating as high as 45 percent. Supervised by the famed Tsuburaya Productions Co., which still produces the show, the establishment is based on a make-believe story in which the operator, space invader Alien Baltan, serves “kaiju” (monsters), who gather for a pint after losing to the space heroes. It is now open to Earth inhabitants, as the story goes. In addition to more than 200 kaiju figures and photos on display, the bar, which opened March 14 and will stay open for a year, offers kaiju-themed dishes that stir memories of old “Ultraman” episodes. For “tetsuota,” short for “tetsudo otaku” (railway geeks), Tetsudo-Izakaya Little TGV (http://littletgv.com) in Tokyo’s Akihabara district provides an ideal setting for tipple-loving rail enthusiasts. On typical weekday evenings, suit-clad businessmen gather here to discuss their obsession by a large “N-scale” railway layout decorated with photo displays and rail memorabilia such as engine name plates in real train seats. While the above two restaurants target mainly hobbyists, the restaurant Ninja Akasaka (www.ninjaakasaka.com) is for those looking for more of a show. Its mysterious, dimly lit decor resembles old “ninja houses” with a creaky wooden floor, staircases and secret doors. The eatery resembles an amusement park attraction filled with lots of fun ideas. It also offers ninja shows by professional magicians and serves dishes in a unique, fun presentation style.

This section, appearing on the first Monday of each month, offers a snapshot view of areas that may interest tourists. To view The Japan Times video report on Kaiju Sakaba, go to youtu.be/DEt9pTcy70s