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The Dark Restaurant Combines Fine Dining And Chills to Halloween Horror Nights At Universal Studios Japan

For the second consecutive year, Universal Studios Japan will be adding a unique dining option found only at the Halloween Horror Nights in Osaka this fall. The Dark Restaurant will deliver guests into a terror-filled, yet delicious meal filled with surprises throughout.

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

As the story goes, a once world-renowned chef has risen from the grave and is back as a zombie. Instead of eating brains, he’s decided to do what he does best: cook for guests at Universal Studios Japan. Depending on your origin story of choice, zombies often don’t care for daylight. Thus, in this case, he has hired an entire wait staff of the undead and they must work in conditions of… you guessed it… pitch black darkness.

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

I am not talking dimly lit; these conditions are “can’t see the hand in front of your face darkness.” In reality, the staff uses night vision goggles to bring food and drinks to your table, as well as provide some unique scare opportunities. This also means guests have no idea what kind of food is placed in front of them. To make it even more awkward, the Japanese guests are not given chopsticks. I have a hard enough time using them in normal lighting conditions, personally. Instead, they are forced to eat with their fingers, a habit not found too often in Japan.

The Dark Restaurant

Last year’s food ranged from roast beef to fruit salad, with a grapefruit jelly and shortcake for dessert. This clearly is messy food designed to mess with your head. However, diners do not know what the meal will be in advance. The Dark Restaurant warns patrons in advance that if you have a food allergy, this is not the experience for you.

The Dark Restaurant

In addition, the wait staff will taunt the guests with slight touches to the arms and shoulders. Perhaps they feel a spider on their arm or ants running across their legs. Guests are told from the beginning that they must remain seated throughout the experience. This brings several screams from patrons, particularly females, from out of the darkness heightening the fear even more.

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

Copyright Universal Studios Japan

After spending roughly 45 minutes in The Dark Restaurant, patrons are handed a card with a QR code on it so they can scan it to find out what they just ate. Seriously, they don’t even tell you while you are in there. It becomes somewhat of a guessing game.

Dining In The Dark

Granted, Dining in the Dark has been around in the United States for several years. It’s often times a way for guests to simulate what the blind must feel when they are dining so you can’t “eat with your eyes.” However, this new experience at Universal Studios Japan adds a new twist on a Halloween event that I haven’t heard about anywhere else in the world. Would you be willing to try this if they added it to a Halloween Horror Nights event in the States?


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  1. SurferClock
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a HUGE fan of Halloween Horror Nights, but this would be an experience that simply wouldn’t work in the high-energy environment of Orlando’s Horror Nights. Folks take the opportunity to get completely, utterly smashed. Nothing like this is going to work until Horror Nights etiquette improves. They have to have OPD out there to keep the peace…it simply wouldn’t work.

  2. piggy35
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Surfer. I see what you are saying and partially agree. However, if they offered it at one of the lowes resorts just outside the theme parks or even, a little more daringly, at city walk. And perhaps did it in “seatings” not unlike the hoop dee doo review, with the first “seating” being at 5-530 and the last at 830, I am fairly convinced it would do well.

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