1. Robot Restaurant
Japan has always been a technologically progressive country and accordingly now boasts the world's most psychedelic eatery: The Shinjuku Robot Restaurant. Imagine if Isaac Asimov wrote a book on a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper while he was on acid, and you're halfway there.
Hidden in a basement within the ward's busy Kabukicho commercial district, the main draw is not the food (which has been rated as "meh" at best) or the drink selection (which is "limited" and "sports-stadium-expensive"), but the overwhelming insanity of a sparkling new universe that's part Tron, part Alice in Wonderland. And as might be expected from any respectable basement-dwelling Japanese institution, scantily-clad young women dancing on top of neon-plated tanks. Now that we think about it, it's really more of a PG-rated burlesque than a traditional knife-and-fork establishment.
It cannot be properly expressed just how bonkers this place is. How do you put the feeling you have into words when you're surrounded by seizure-inducing lasers, neon dinosaurs, prismatic furniture, rainbow afros and non-stop dancing.
To keep everything running smoothly, the club employs 40 workers just to service the automatons. Twenty to control the robots, either from within or by remote, and another twenty to maintain the robots, ensuring they don't malfunction and mutiny against their human handlers. After all, a lot can go wrong when Medieval Times meets Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
How does a place this wonderfully zany even exist? The restaurant's PR Manager Yumi Ito states that thanks to zany Japanese media, people are indoctrinated on the awesomeness of robots from an early age. Therefore, the restaurant was designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. And, obviously, a little T&A never hurts.
2. Godzilla Hotel
The Japanese adore Godzilla way more than any populace should love the avatar of its own destruction. But because apparently the entire country has an incurable case of Stockholm Syndrome, earlier this year the scaly behemoth finally became an official permanent resident of Nippon. The monster's storied legacy can be traced back to 1954, when 'Zilla first arose from the Sea of Japan to demolish the island nation's paper-thin buildings and surprisingly abundant water towers.
As a newly-minted citizen of Shinjuku, Tokyo -- a ward that the monster has lovingly ransacked on three previous occasions -- Godzilla received the further honor of being named tourism ambassador during a ceremony in April. Since this is Japan, no tribute is complete without a giant statue. At the same time, a massive Godzilla head was erected upon the Shinjuku Tokyo Building. The view is slightly better up high.
Adjacent the giant head, Hotel Gracery now offers "Godzilla-view" rooms that go for several hundred dollars a night and are already booked for the foreseeable future. Godzilla themed rooms, which are decorated with huge claws and old-school movie posters are also available. And by "available," we mean "harder to book than Book of Mormon tickets on the moon."
And if that wasn't enough, in 2014, hot on the heels of the latest Godzilla movie, Tokyo's Midtown Gardens hosted an insanely realistic, 22-foot-tall statue that puts on a nighttime show. If you want a bit more interaction from your Godzilla effigies, you could consider Kurihama Flower Park, where a large slide in the monster's likeness allows children (and child-like adults) to climb through its nuclear crotch before hurtling down its tail.
God bless you, Japan.