Catch Your Own Dinner at Zauo
By John Asano
Japan is famed for its bizarre themed restaurants and cafes. Maid cafes, sumo, samurai, ninja & vampire themed restaurants, and even haunted prison themed restaurants. One you may have heard about recently is the popular Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku which is a show that you will never forget!
Yes, they are strange and just a little bit odd, but what’s not to like about them? You can enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine while soaking up the unforgettable and interesting experience they offer.
It may come to no surprise that Tokyo is the capital of themed restaurants in Japan. There is a themed restaurant to suit any taste. If you have tired of the typical eating experience in Tokyo then why not indulge in one of these unique experiences.
One of the milder ones and best in my opinion is Zauo Shinjuku located in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo.
Zauo, which translates as ‘sit and fish’, and as you can guess it is a fishing themed restaurant that allows you to fish and catch your own meal. It may sound weird but it is a lot of fun and is certainly unique. Simply pick up a fishing rod, throw out your line and reel in a tasty fish for the chef to transform into a mouth-watering dish.
The seating offered at Zauo enhances the experience as you sit in a large imitation wooden boat full of dinning tables. The boats or should I say tables are surrounded by dozen of water tanks filled with fish.Photo by Jeroen Elfferich
The tank you fish from depends on the type of fish you feel like eating. Your waiter/waitress will present you with your fishing rod and bait and direct you to the right fishing tank. The fish range from sea bream, red snapper, and mackerel to high-end goodies like saltwater eel, shark and lobster.
Once you have caught your fish the staff will ask you how you want it prepared. There are a variety of traditional methods available, but a lot also depends on the type of fish as some will be recommended to be prepared in a certain way. From sushi to sashimi, sukiyaki and hotpots, and cooked fish, Zauo pretty much has it all. If you don’t feel like fishing you can always order your meal directly from the menu.
You can expect to pay on average around ¥4,000 to ¥5,000 on dinner, but prices will vary according to the type of fish you choose.
There is nothing better than eating fresh fish that you have actually caught yourself. I’m just glad that we leave all the hard work up to the professional chefs to prepare the fish, so all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the meal.
Zauo first opened in Fukuoka, Kyushu before dropping anchor in Tokyo, and is popular with both locals and tourists alike. It is definitely a quirky and authentic Japanese experience that you will never forget.
Shinjuku Washington Hotel 1F, 3-2-9, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Monday to Friday 11:30 – 14:00 & 17:00 – 23:00
Weekends & Holidays 11:30 – 23:00
A short 7 minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station South Entrance