If you are in a holiday mood, you have several options in Japan. One is to do the traditional thing of KFC, since KFC is serious business. But since you have to place your order for holiday chicken in advance, you could also opt for the HERO OF JUSTICE option and spend it at KAMEN RIDER: THE DINER in Ikebukuro, Tokyo!
You will also certainly notice that the current Rider's driver belt and accessories are on display in the cabinet as you enter. In my case, it was Kamen Rider Wizard and his many magic rings and PlaMonsters.
Then as you move down the hallway and head left, make sure you have a look in the display on the left as you round the corner.
Actors who played some of the most beloved heroes in Japanese television history have visited the restaurant and contributed their signatures and photos to the growing wall. You'll find signatures from the original Kamen Riders #1 and #2, V3, and check the photos out -- Eiji and Ankh's actors showed up here for a very appropriate birthday party. What's there to party about?
You'll soon be greeted at the front counter by one of the staff members who'll confirm the number in your party and your reservation, then lead you to your table. It doesn't hurt to tell them your favorite Rider when you enter, because if you do... something great will happen involving the sound system. You see, they have a sound board at the greeters station which can blast everywhere in the cafe, and they can play various Driver sound effects at any time. I made smalltalk with the greeter and mentioned that I thought Wizard was being enjoyed by American fans, to which he flipped a switch and I got, "SHABADOOBIE TOUCH TO HENSHIN! FLAME... PLEASE!"
Don't forget to enjoy these original suits for Kamen Rider #1 and #2 as you enter, and then...
Welcome to Kamen Rider: The Diner. This place is a true paradise to anyone who's even had a passing interest in spandex clad bugmen. The red carpet leads to the throne room of arch-villain group SHOCKER! If you want to sit on the throne and have your picture taken, they'll even loan you a black cloak so you too can be Dr. Shinigami and steeple your fingers while plotting the downfall of mankind!
A huge collection of props, memorabilia, and toys dedicated to each and every Kamen Rider (even the secondary ones!) can be found on display in glass cases. You can easily see the belts of Rider #1, Black, Black RX, Kuuga, Agito, and Ryuki on display here.
I was extremely thrilled to find a full collection of Kamen Rider W gear, including the weapons, all the Gaia Memories, and Skull and Accel's gear.
But let's talk about the food. After all this cool memorabilia, you might forget that this is a cafe and not a museum! The food is a little on the pricy side, but it's themed, and each item is designed to look or reference one of the riders. If you can't speak Japanese, they do have an "English" menu, but I say that in quotes, because they basically just ran the names of the items through Google Translate and it came out a little strange.
I got the Gills themed meal, and it was quite good. Additionally, I got a drink called "Into the Forest" which is Hibiki themed, and the top is a sugar lattice "web" to resemble the webs of spider demons. It is alcoholic, but not very. It's mostly whipped cream. Not much kick to it. They also have a Joker themed drink that I'm going to get next time.
To finish it off, I also ordered the Rider Parfait: Fourze Edition. This came out after the meal, and was announced to the entire cafe with the unmistakable Fourze henshin countdown through the sound system: "THREE... TWO... ONE... "
When it came out, the server and I both did "UCHUU KITAAAAAAA!" -- or as Over-Time translated it, "IT'S SPACE TIME!", and then held out our fists. "Kamen Rider Fourze... let's settle this man to man!"
After my parfait, they brought me WAAAAATER... PLEASE! accompanied both by the sound effect and the musical tune that follows.
Next to the Kuuga Tri-Chaser on display, they also display one of the shirts you can get only at the diner: a Kamen Rider Fourze cafe official shirt with the original #1 Driver around the midsection. The back features the logo and chibi versions of every rider up to OOO's. The best thing about this restaurant is that it's constantly changing -- as new shows are released, new features are added to the restaurant.
If you do decide to go, first let me tell you this: it is a small place, and it can get pretty crowded on weekends and holidays. Reservations are always required three days in advance for this restaurant, even if it's NOT a weekend or holiday. You might MAY be able to do a walk-up, but Japan is usually pretty strict about reservations or no reservations, so I do recommend them. The site says that if you plan to come earlier than three days, you need to call them to check availability first. You can make reservations, see the menu, and more on the official site.
To get there, exit the JR Ikebukuro station from the West Exit, then cross the street near the police station, then turn left. You're looking for Pasela Resorts. I hope you get the opportunity to experience this amazingly fun place. Leave your maturity at the door and have a great time. And don't forget to pose! HENSHIN!