The Odessa Journal: Ukraine’s crossroads of culture

“Isn’t Ukraine dangerous??” a friend of mine recently asked me.

JAPAN: Tokyo/ Shinjuku (Christon Cafe)

Japan is a place that is never short of uniquely themed cafes. Just when you think you have seen it all, one comes along that totally surprises you. Having said that, there is a café located not far from Shinjuku Station that did just that. It is called Christon Café. If you are thinking to yourself, that sounds strangely like “Christian Café,” well, you are right. This restaurant is based on a church theme! It may seem strange to have a church themed café in a country where the number of Christians comprise approximately 1% of the entire population but aren’t themed cafes all about the novelty anyway?

The first Christon Café opened in Osaka in 2000 and now there is one located in Shibuya and Shinjuku, each boasting incredibly detailed interiors decorated in a religious gothic theme.

The Shinjuku café is located on the 8th and 9th floors of the Oriental Wave Building. The restaurant has high ceilings decorated with enormous chandeliers, dark red curtains, tons of wrought iron, gothic and Catholic imagery throughout. The tables and chairs are a mishmash ranging from luxurious couches to rustic wooden tables with hardback chairs. The restaurant has exclusive VIP seating as well for those seeking a more private dining experience.

VIP Seating

VIP Seating

The food is just as mixed up as the décor, with the basic menu consisting of Italian dishes with Dutch hotpots and French inspired dished sprinkled in. The cocktails are somewhat strange too, some served with glowing ice cubes (plastic LED lights). The average price per person at this café is ¥3500, slightly less than your typical themed restaurant in Japan. However, I have found that dining at these restaurants is more about the experience rather than the quality of the food.

The café operates daily between the hours of 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM and reservations are recommended, especially on weekends when the place is operating fairly at capacity.

Web page:

Address:             5-17-13 Shinjuku Tokyo Japan

JAPAN: Tokyo/ Ginza (Vampire Cafe)

The Ginza district in Tokyo is a popular upscale shopping area filled with numerous internationally renowned department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. In fact, it is recognized internationally as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world, attracting visitors and regulars alike. Unlike another popular destination in Tokyo, Shinjuku, Ginza is not known for its themed restaurants and cafes. However, there is one themed restaurant I am aware of where people have been dying to go!

I am referring to the Vampire Café located on the seventh floor of the La Paix Building which has been drawing patrons for over a decade. As you exit the elevator, your spine will tingle as you enter the realm of the night crawlers. The interior of the restaurant is dimly lit and the décor is black and blood red throughout. The floor of the hallway leading from the entrance is painted with blood plasma cells. There is Baroque music piped in and the walls and interior are covered with crucifixes, spiders, skulls and candelabras. Even Dracula’s coffin is prominently placed within the restaurant. Tables are divided by curtains and restaurant staff are summoned by the ringing of the bell. The host resembles The Count himself and the female servers are dressed as Vampire Maids whereas the male servers are outfitted in tuxedos.

VIP Seating

VIP Seating

The entrees and the drinks are all vampire themed albeit a bit on the pricey side for what you get, but then again, this is Ginza. The fare offered is a mix of French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. An average course will run you between ¥3,000 to ¥4,000. A night out at the Vampire Café for two people can easily exceed ¥10,000. Some of the courses come with all you can drink options available for a set number of hours. It is a great opportunity to try drinks like the Iron Maiden: The Virgin’s Fresh Blood or the Dracula: The Count’s Power. If you choose, you can also order food a la carte. The only downside for foreigners visiting the café is that the menu is in Japanese only.

All in all, it is one of those unique experiences that you will want to live through at least once in your lifetime. The clientele are generally people celebrating a special occasion or those seeking a unique date night destination. The Vampire Café is open between the hours of 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM.

Address:             La Paix Building 7F 6-7-6 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo

Phone:               03-3289-5360