Tokyo is full of great restaurants. So many in fact, that you might just run short on time trying to sample them all. Do you want to have a sit-down Japanese meal, or do you want to try one of those wacky theme restaurants you’ve heard so much about?
Well, why not both? Fishing Restaurant Zauo is a place where the young (or the young-at-heart) get to experience a fun and memorable meal while the more serious diner enjoys great Japanese-style cuisine.
The central dining area of Zauo in Shinjuku is a “fishing boat” sitting in a pool of water.
And in that pool swims your next meal—one of the dozens of live sea bream, waiting for the wiggle of shrimp bait or a swooping net. Because at Zauo, you can fish for your own dinner!
Finding the right fish
To fish, you will need to get a pole and bait (108 yen) from the staff. If you have no idea how to fish, they have an English guide and helpful staff members to assist you. From there, you pick out a likely anglin’ spot and get to catching dinner.
The sea bream are obviously the most numerous, but they aren’t your only option--you can catch flounder, spiny lobster, or other fresh seafood from isolated tanks at the edges of the main pool.
Once you hook a fish, the staff will be there to help you net him. The staff will then beat the taiko drums and announce your successful fishing expedition to the restaurant, with much cheering and clapping.
Of course, you must get a photo of yourself and your catch to post on your social media. Hold on tight, the fish know what’s coming. They will flap wildly and try to get away!
Now you must decide how you want your fish prepared. Grilled or boiled? Sashimi or deep fried? And what about side items? There is an English menu for the kinds of kid-pleasers you just can’t catch with a pole and bait, such as French fries and fried chicken. If you’re not feeling up to the whole fishing experience (or you’re just a bad fisherman), you can order the same fish you see in the tank from the menu. But in our opinion, it’s way more fun to catch them yourself.
We decided on the sea bream sashimi, and it did not disappoint. Fresh fish with soy sauce and just the right amount of wasabi is a fish done right.
There’s no need to worry about not being able to speak Japanese at Zauo. The restaurant serves many foreign tourists daily, and English menus and fishing instructions are always available. Even getting a reservation is easy—the English section of their website has a Reservation form, where you can choose the location, date, time, number of guests, etc. Reservations can be made and/or changed up to three days in advance. All you need to worry about is whether you have enough fishing skill to hook a big one!
Zauo is a great place to take the kids for dinner during your Tokyo experience, and will be a wonderful memory of your trip.
Writer: Derek Winston
- Address 3-2-9, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023
Hours of Operation
- Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (last order 2 p.m.)
- Dinner 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (last order 10 p.m.)
Weekends and Holidays: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (last order 10 p.m.)
Fishing only available for full-course menu orders booked in advance