Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yurei: Ghost Izakaya in Kichijoji

Name: Yurei
Hours: 5:oo PM-Last train
Price: ¥2,200 course meal
Events: Special effect makeup artists and occasional stage shows.
Address: 1-8-11 B1F, Minami-Machi, Kichijoji

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji

The key to maintaining an illusion is allowing yourself to be taken in by it. Once you begin to question its logic or discover its truths, the spell fades as quickly as a half-remembered dream.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
Also used to wave down waitresses.

As a ghost-themed Izakaya, Yurei isn’t fooling anyone with its haunted house props, voodoo surf rock soundtrack, or bellowing fog machine. But it doesn’t have to—It’s your responsibility as the customer to buy into the hocus-pocus.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
We'd let you eat it, but the guy who's using it needs it back *wink wink*.

The moment you descend the winding stairs and step over the threshold into the dim underworld, your spectral hosts make it clear that yes, you are in Hell, and yes, nothing is what it seems.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
3D bathroom wallpaper provided by the DOOM II guy.

You clink glasses not with a hearty “kampai”, but a solemn “Namu Amida Butsu.” Plates of flaming ribs are engulfed in ghost fire. The bill is paid to the ferryman as fare for carrying you back over to the land of the living. All these small flourishes add up to a engrossing and comedic dining experience. Assuming you allow a gracious amount of suspension of disbelief, that is.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
Each waitress is infused with a unique fruit flavor that they spritz into mixed drinks. Ours had marimo for blood.

The staff are all in on the joke, with the punch line being that, aside from a spooky naming scheme, the food is exactly like any other Izakaya. There's plenty of subtle smirks, but the waitresses never break character as they wheel out a procession of blood and head cheese French fries, Korean hot pot with soup stock from the burning lake, and cursed meat skewers.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji

For those of you with a thing for dead girls, the waitresses contain enough necromantic charm to bury all of Akihabara in a moe-infused protoplasm. They mix custom cocktails, play quiz games, and dress you for your funeral portrait with all the love of a little sister who passed away from an incurable disease. Pretty much the same service you get at a maid cafe, only more tongue in rotting cheek.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
Funeral parlors are the new maid cafes.

Our recommendation hinges entirely on your appreciation for haunted house kitsch. Do you titter at the thought of seeing childrens' disgusted reactions after reaching into a bag of peeled grapes and mini sausages that you told them were eyeballs and severed fingers? If so, then Yurei is right up your harmlessly demented alley.

Yuurei Izakaya Kichijoji
Having un-ironically enjoyed a theme bar, there's only one option left for me.


  1. Only Japan can pull off a restaurant like that. Now if a "Haunted" restaurant opened in the USA it would be laughed at as a novelty.