Walking around Tokyo, trying to find a place to eat everyday, it was surprisingly hard. Many restaurants in Tokyo don’t allow children, many are obscure, then there is the language barrier so we likely passed a ton of restaurants without knowing it, lots are reservations only, closed during specific hours, or themed dinner restaurants booked days to weeks in advance.
Themed dinner restaurants are easy to spot. You’ll see pictures of UFO’s dancing wildly around in the windows, cryptic signage, or erotic pictures that have no place on a city sidewalk with children around. After coming across tons of these restaurants, we decided this was definitely something we needed to experience during our trip in Tokyo.
There is a dry well of compilation lists offering options for themed dinner dining in Tokyo, so we were relegated to finding a family friendly option on our own. We happened to pass by a flyer while walking around town that advertised for Ninja Akasaka. Since we’d been studying the history of Japan during our trip, including the history of Ninjas and how modern day Kung Fu originated in Okinawa, we knew it would be a great fit. On top of that, our children are currently enrolled in Kenpo Karate back home, and we knew they would love it.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Japan, 〒100-0014 Tokyo, Chiyoda, Nagatacho, 2−14−3 赤坂東急プラザ
Hours: 5pm – 1am
They were a full week out before they had an opening in their reservations, and only one open slot at that.
Ninja Akasaka is located in the Akasaka Tokyu Plaza. Akasaka is an upscale hotel in the Chioyda prefecture of Tokyo and the plaza is the attached shopping center. Fortunately we got there very early because Google sent us walking around in circles for a half hour. We finally figured it out five minutes before 5:00pm. The ridiculous part was that it was directly outside the exit of the JR Ogikubo Train station, the very station we exited after arriving.
The door is very ninja-esque. It blends into the wall of the exterior with no markings, signs or even a doorknob. We saw a group of people standing outside, and they indicated it was indeed our themed dinner!
A Ninja dressed in full garb with only their eyes exposed ushered us into the restaurant. We were led through dark tunnels, over bridges, under fire and finally found our way to the secluded and secret Ninja hideout. There are several trap doors that can only be opened with Ninja magic, which generally speaking involves some hand motions and saying the words: “ninja magic”. We had our own dining room to ourselves with the table at ground level and a hole in the floor beneath it for our legs. We sat on pillows and it was quite comfortable.
The menu, delivered on a scroll, offers several a la carte items and several prix fixe menu selections. We opted for the prix fixe menu because it came recommended, and we had no idea what most of the items on the menu were except for the sushi. We chose the same for our children.
The prix fixe menu comes with a selection of 11 items.
Shuriken star-blades grissini (throwing star shaped black tortilla chips with dipping sauce)
Turban shell bombs with garlic butter (snails)
Vegetable cocktail of the season topped with whipped Japanese stock (came in a shot glass and tasted like raw fish with foam)
Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse)
Ninja-style cream puff (black puff filled with a fish tar tar)
Sherbet candy in flavors of the season (this was omitted)
Meat specialty or seafood specialty of the day (similar to a deli meat plate)
Special Sushi & Sushi Roll (large and delicious selection)
Today’s dessert (chocolate cake)
The children’s version was very similar.
Our server brought in all the selections one by one. She explained each item and its significance. Our soup was cooked in front of us with 500° hot rocks she dipped into the mixing bowl with tongs, as she cut the greens with scissors. It is very engaging to watch! The sushi is brought out on a platter for each person, which made the kids feel very important because we are stingy and usually don’t share that much with them.
At the end of the meal a different Ninja came into our dining room and gave us a private magic show. This was no Gob Bluth show.
It was actually super impressive. The final trick he did was had one of our children write her name, in her hand writing, on a card she chose from a deck of cards. He put the card back into the deck and shuffled it around. The next thing he did was pull the card out of a pocket inside a sealed envelope that was tucked inside his suit! We were all shocked and are still trying to figure it out! Plus, we got to keep the card as a souvenir.
Our exit was through a huge portcullis that was on fire, but with a little more Ninja magic, the fire was put out and we were able to exit.
The themed dinner was about 2 hours long, and the cost was exorbitant. Our meal came to approximately $300USD. It was the most expensive ticketed item for what we got in return, but it was very memorable. We all thought it was really special, definitely unique and categorically Japanese.
► For Kids: This is a great dinner experience for the whole family, especially for the kids. The food offers a taste of Japan in a kid friendly presentation, and it’s a treat for them to see their soup cooked with hot rocks, a mystery dessert they get to unwrap and a magic show to complete the evening.
There are a few restrictions when it comes to children dining in this restaurant. During weekdays children are only allowed to visit between 5:00pm-7:00pm. Infants are never allowed. Also, you may not bring more than 5 children, unless the same number of adults will also be dining.
Have you done a themed dinner in Japan? We considered the UFO experience or the Sumo themed diner, but in the end Ninja Akasaka won out. What did you think? We’d love to hear about it!