Tokyo, Japan

Christon Café

A Catholicism-themed restaurant where sacrilege is on the menu. 

Though Christianity exists in Japan, it doesn’t carry the same weighty history as it does in many Western nations. This might be why restaurant proprietors can not only get away with running a medieval Catholicism-themed café, but why business is booming.

Beneath the vaulted ceilings, candlelit chandeliers, sumptuous velvet curtains, glimmering gold and marble tabletops, stained glass, and polished wooden altars, guests might forget they’re not in a cathedral after all. Statues of Christ weeping blood and haloed Virgins grace every nook and cranny. There is also a decidedly gothic element to the restaurant: gargoyles loom in the corners, menus are cross- and coffin-shaped, and organ music scores your meal. Cocktails like the “Little Devil” and the “Joan of Arc” come with crucifix-shaped stirrers.

Diamond Dining, the restaurant company responsible for some of Japan’s most famous concept cafés, allegedly collected the Catholic antiques in Europe and South America and transported them back to Japan. The original Christon Café is in Osaka, but its popularity led to the opening of two more locations in Tokyo (one in Shibuya and this one in Shinjuku) as well as one more in Fukuoka.

The restaurant has become a popular place for “joshikai,” or women-only gatherings, particularly with Gothic Lolitas who match the scenery in their black lace. After hours Christon Café transforms into a nightclub, and it’s rumored to play host to all-night fetish parties.

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