Thunderbirds Cafe

Well, it only took 47 years, but finally Tracy Island has come to life in Tokyo in the form of the charming Thunderbirds Cafe. It nails the vibe of the 1960s TV show perfectly. Clambering down the stairs among dense faux-foliage to the restaurant’s basement entrance – a lavish red leather door – visitors are greeted by a spacious hall decked out in thrall to International Rescue, those pioneering puppets who saved the world week in, week out. All the music is taken from the show, a mix of tropical tiki pop and dramatic adventure scores, and mute TV screens show episodes on loop.

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Lockup

Last week, I reached an all-time high on the level of weirdness when I found “The Lockup,” a prison-themed restaurant in Shibuya (Tokyo). And by prison themed, I mean that the restaurant was in the basement of a building that made you go through a labyrinth of horror to just get to the door, the staff all either wore stripped prison suits or sexy cop outfits with handcuffs (only the women), and all of the food was “prison-themed.”

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Cup Noodle Museum

The Cup Noodle Museum is enormous, looking more like an art gallery than a temple to convenience food. Spread out over several floors, starting with over 3,000 (different) instant noodle packages, there is a recreation of the shed where Momofuku developed his ramen, his story presented beautifully (and the comparisons to an art gallery continue – it really is impressive). The highlight for me, was towards the end, where you have an opportunity (if you book it) to make your own instant ramen in the Chicken Ramen Factory.

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Ninja Akasaka

Staff dressed like ninja escort you via trapdoors to your table, take your order and might even perform special ninja magic tricks. Sure it’s campy and even touristy, but dude, they’re ninjas! Kids will love it, and grown-ups don’t have to suffer through bad food. À la carte dishes with ninja-fied names (‘transformation of tuna and negi (leek) sashimi’) are creative but dainty for the price; go for the 10-dish set menus.

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Alcatraz ER

One of the first theme restaurants to open in Tokyo, Alcatraz ER is, as its name suggests, styled after a prison hospital. A prison hospital from hell, that is. The menu includes human intestines (OK, it’s an unfeasibly long sausage in a kidney dish), a penis on a bed of lettuce (another sausage, suggestively carved) and various impossibly spicy delectables. One thing to keep in mind -- you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the wicked nurses, who have a habit of pulling down unruly customers’ trousers to administer an injection from a gigantic syringe. You have been warned.

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Mr Kanso

A chain of bars currently opening up in Tokyo has been getting a lot of attention for its unusual menu, which includes items such as sea lion curry and steamed Korean silkworm chrysalis. Not for the faint of stomach, Mr. Kanso, is a no-frills drinking establishment that offers an impressively diverse menu of 350 items all of which come out of a can.

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