All About The Restaurant Of Mistaken Orders In Tokyo

The restaurant isn't intended as a cultural experiment or a performance art venue. While the servers might occasionally misplace orders, it isn't due to any lack of skills
A restaurant-goer enjoying a salmon based dish
A restaurant-goer enjoying a salmon based dishShutterstock

Japan is renowned for its perfectionism in various cultural outputs, such as the gruelling manga art and the years of labour to perfect katana or samurai swords.

However, the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders in Tokyo offers a refreshing change from this competitive culture. It’s like going on a blind date but with your dinner. For those who struggle with decision paralysis due to the overwhelming menu options, this element of surprise could be a welcome relief.

Sashimi sushi set with chopsticks and soy
Sashimi sushi set with chopsticks and soyShutterstock

What’s Up With Misplaced Orders?

The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders in Tokyo is not a cultural experiment or a performance art restaurant. The waiters here may sometimes misplace your order, but it's not because of a lack of skills. Rather, it's because they are living with dementia, a condition that affects memory. It is reported that two thirds of Japanese individuals with dementia reside in their own homes, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

This restaurant is an inspiring example of how society can embrace and include individuals with disabilities in culture and daily life. When your order gets mixed up with another customer's, it presents a unique opportunity to strike up a conversation and make new friends. In fact, despite 37 per cent of orders being mistaken, 99 per cent of diners reported high levels of satisfaction with their experience.

Original Conception Of The Restaurant

The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders started as a recurring pop-up event to raise public awareness about dementia. The event was first held in 2017 and has since become a recurring event. The project has raised around $115,000 through crowdfunding to get started and hopes to influence people's perceptions of ageing and cognitive decline.

Founded by Japanese television director Shiro Oguni, this unique concept was inspired by his experience of being offered a dumpling instead of a burger during a visit to a nursing home.

After noticing this mismatch, Oguni aimed to simulate the experience of cognitive impairment by intentionally serving incorrect food orders in the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders. With this, he created a new management ecosystem with varying levels of functionality and mistakes that do not harm anyone.

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