Not only can you eat an abundance of delectable cuisine in Japan but you can often experience creative themed restaurants and cafes offering interesting and unforgettable memories too. When I first arrived in Japan all those years ago I was always keen to visit such quirky places but the novelty wore off a bit as the years progressed.
However, every now and again I am happy to visit such places and this was one such occasion. After our rabbit cafe experience back in November we popped a few doors along to the huge Sunshine City shopping complex in east Ikebukuro as I wanted to go to Namja Town which is a bit of a bizarre place; a cross between an amusement arcade and a theme park.
Back in May 2006 I did actually visit Namja Town but really couldn’t remember anything about it beyond the basics so wanted to jolt my memory with this return trip. A ticket (500 yen) is needed just to enter and there are many parts which are designed to look like the early post-war days.
Namja Town was opened in 1996 by Japanese video game company Namco although there appears to be no real focus on such entertainment. Instead, it features carnival-style games (600-800 yen each or all included in a 3,300 yen passport), a haunted house, and as ever with Japan there is inevitably some exclusive character mascots. Remember, this is the country where mascot merchandise incredibly generates over £10bn each year!
Our focus was purely the themed dining and this place is famed for a couple of different foods. The first one was gyoza, and with many different styles of Japanese-style pan fried dumplings on offer, I decided to sample the weirdest type I could find. That happened to be wasabi and mayo gyoza for 400 yen. I was a bit disappointed when it was served up as they were tiny bite-size pieces rather than the regular sized ones I’d anticipated based on the picture menu.
The other food specialties include pancakes, crepes, cakes, gelato and ice cream which was why I was there. There are dozens and dozens of different flavours available but sadly we were too late in the day to sample the real strange flavours such as curry, natto, wasabi and so on.
For 580 yen you can choose six favours and in the end we tried the following; double cheese, sunflower, mascarpone cheese, corn, kelp (seaweed) and avocado milk ice cream! Each flavour is a small serving and they are carefully placed in the tray by the staff in the order you reserved them so you can be sure which one you’re eating!
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Vending Machine Stand’