Kayabuki: Monkey waiters in Utsunomiya
Why is everyone so obsessed with building robot workers when there are so many monkeys in Japan just begging to do manual labor? (Video from YouTube user budgettroubleblog)
Tochigi-based blog Budget Trouble reviews a special restaurant in the prefecture's capital of Utsunomiya that 'employs' two monkeys as waiters. The Utsunomiya area is usually known as a center of gyoza culture, but with so many monkeys in the Tochigi mountains, it makes sense to also spin the simian angle into a restaurant theme.
At the izakaya Kayabuki (Miyuki-honcho 4688-13, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi Prefecture, tel. 028 662 3751), two monkeys, Fukuchan and Yacchan, bring hot oshibori towels to guests and help out where they can with waiting duties. The owners, however, were evidently not content with just having monkey waiters, so they dress up Fukuchan in a women's mask and wig -- like an animal version of the doller café maids.
Budget Trouble's Anna Ikeda did not exactly recommend the establishment on food and service grounds but if you want to hang out with monkeys while you eat in Tochigi, Kayabuki is the place.