One of the main things which we were worried about when it came to visiting Tokyo with the kids, was food. We heard that most places in Tokyo or at least those that would be serving the more ‘authentic’ Japanese experience, would not be too child friendly (think small places/ no high chairs/ unfriendly chefs/ zero tolerance for kids who make a pip). So how do we ensure that we get a decent experience (i.e no fast food) but yet feel welcomed and have the kids enjoy themselves.
A friend who had just returned from Tokyo recommended that we try the Ninja Restaurant at Akasaka. The Ninja Restaurant Akasaka is basically a themed restaurant which served mainly course meals and is ‘set’ in a Ninja village. The experience starts from the moment you enter their doors and its main entrance is so non-descript that you can’t even tell what’s behind that door on street level. In fact you wouldn’t even notice it unless you were looking for it. Trust me, we were looking for it and we missed it. :p
Upon entering, your Ninja guide would take you through the ‘village’. Through trap doors and door ways with low beams and ceilings. Lots of bending down and going down narrow stairways before you eventually reach the main dining room. It was all very dark so please excuse our photos which were all taken in a very dark restaurant. Oh and we couldn’t take any photos of our ‘journey’ through the village for fear of falling.
We prepped Jah way beforehand for fear of his reaction to the ‘scary’ ninjas and the dark restaurant so thankfully he was perfectly fine and loved the experience. However we totally forgot about prepping Bella, actually it would have been quite impossible to prep her. She was and is still currently in the phase of “I’m scared of everything” (come on! She was even afraid of standing next to cute ole Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland..sigh). So there was a bit of resistance from Bella and she insisted on sitting on Joel’s lap through the entire meal which was well not the best dining experience for him.
Anyway we were led to our private dining room, yes a private dining area/ room even though it was just the 4 of us. Thank goodness so that we could have some privacy to calm Bella. Oh yes and because we had kids with us, the restaurant had advised that we could only book the 5pm to 7pm dinner slot as they do not allow kids after 7pm due to the ‘nature of the crowd’. While some people might feel ‘discriminated’ by this, I felt that it is a very good system to ensure that the kids were allowed a friendly environment and no one was going to be upset that they might be seated next to kids. 🙂
We were asked to pre-order our sets when we made our email reservation so that the kitchen could ensure that they had the ingredients for what we wanted. They had a kids menu available but we chose to order 3 adults meals to share amongst the 4 of us because we weren’t really keen on the kids menu. However a recent check on their website shows that they have updated their kids menu offering a little and even offer a kids ninja bandana as part of the set. Would have been nice if they had it during our visit 🙂
We ordered their 2 sets of their Tasting Course as well as their Jyubei course. The courses were delivered one by one and only after you have completed each course. So you would probably buffer about 2 hours for the meal. The food was good! Some dishes probably alittle ‘stranger’ than I would have liked but we all loved their beef. In fact the kids were fighting us for the only course of beef that we ordered..grrrr…We didn’t take photo of a lot of our food because we were so caught up in eating, the entertainment and also with pacifying with Ms Bella so honestly the food photos don’t do the meal much justice.
Some of the courses were accompanied by a bit of fanfare – like dry ice coming out of a ‘treasure box’ which they would ask you to open and also get you to crack the magic egg, or a ninja sword display before you were served your next dish as well as some drama as your ninja server prepares your stone boiled soup.
We were initially concerned about whether the kids could sit through a 2 hour meal but with the fanfare and entertainment, the kids were entertained (or at least Jah was..Bella was just always on edge every time the Ninja reappeared with food :p)
They rounded up the meal with a private Ninja Magic Show where a magician would come to your private dining area and perform a few magic tricks. Jah was amused and annoyed all at the same time because he felt tricked by the magician’s ball disappearing from under the cup act. :p
What impressed me about the experience was the fact that the show didn’t just end with dinner. Our Ninja server engaged us and the kids all the way as she was escorting us out of the ‘village’ and even needed Jah to help perform some ‘magic’ before the door would finally open to let us out. They even took their act all the way to street level as they bid us goodbye.
It was an awesome first dinner out in Tokyo and truly a wonderful official start to our Tokyo Trip. 🙂
More of our kid friendly Tokyo Adventure coming up soon…
In the meantime, you can read about…