TravelCube takes agents on an epic tour of Tokyo’s captivating culinary experiences
The Bullet Train, Mount Fuji and the Imperial Palace are all iconic attractions, but as a group of Australian travel agents recently discovered, if you want a truly memorable Japanese experience head to Tokyo’s Shinjuku district and step inside the living video game they call the Robot Restaurant.
The fantasy-themed cabaret venue, which opened in 2012 at a cost of around $100 million, is famed for its gigantic fem-bots, bikini-clad dancers, LED walls, lasers and anime-style murals.
TravelCube‘s Tanya Blaxill – who led the group of 10 Victorian agents on the eight-day journey to Tokyo and Hong Kong – says that an evening in the restaurant is best described as “beyond crazy”.
“At one point there was a huge robotic snake, and a chick was riding it as it battled a steampunk vehicle with machine guns being driven by an evil warrior, who later took on a robotic eagle,” says Blaxill. “It was exactly what we envisaged the fun, quirky weirdness of Japan would be like, with absolutely nothing making sense – we loved it.”
Almost as fun, she says, was Shinjuku Golden Gai, which is located close to the five-star Hilton Tokyo, where the agents stayed.
“It’s a small area made up of a network of narrow alleys where you squeeze into tiny shanty-style bars and eateries,” says Blaxill. “Each of them was no bigger than a bedroom and they usually only sit between four and eight people, so it took a little while to find somewhere that could squeeze in all of us.”
The Australian consultants – guests of TravelCube and Cathay Pacific – also enjoyed a selection of Tokyo’s more conventional attractions, and embarked on a day trip to Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and Mount Fuji, which hid stubbornly behind a veil of clouds.
The group travelled home via Hong Kong, where they stayed at the beautiful East Hotel and took a cruise on Victoria Harbour for a view of the city’s famous skyline.