6-Nen 4-Kumi is the latest in my never-ending quest to explore as many of Tokyo’s quirky eateries as possible. Translating to “sixth grade, class four,” this classroom-themed izakaya will take you on a trip back to your school days. The nationwide chain is a fun dining experience regardless of where you were educated, offering foreigners a glimpse into Japanese elementary school life of a bygone era. The best thing is that it also contains an all-you-can-eat candy corner.
The 6-Nen 4-Kumi classroom vibe
While there are a number of branches in Tokyo, we visited the Shinjuku branch. I was immediately impressed with how wholly dedicated the staff were to the establishment’s motif. Snapping into character the moment we arrived, a male staff dressed as a P.E. teacher instructed us to enter in single file.
All of the seats in 6-nen 4-kumi are in separated “classrooms” for different subjects, with the interior furnished according to the theme. We were taken to the “audiovisual room,” so there were headphones hanging on the wall and a Super NES connected to a TV. There were even handful of game cartridges, so I think we could have actually played if we wanted to.
Water was served in a plastic beaker with small plastic cups. I am not sure if this is the norm in Japanese elementary schools, but we certainly felt we were getting the child treatment, lol.
Partway throughout our meal, a staff member knocked on our door and asked if we were ready to take our test. It seems part of the dining experience includes doing a school test. But since it was all in Japanese, and thus would be pointless for my cousin and his wife, I declined. I may try doing it if I go again.
Before leaving, we took photos while carrying randoseru leather backpacks, a must-have item for Japanese elementary school students. There are also small yellow caps available for those really wanting to relive their school days.
Outside of course bookings, the table charge is 550 yen per person, with a minimum one drink, two food order per person. Ala carte is still decent value for money, though, as prices are fairly reasonable at around the 500 yen – 800 yen range. In addition to standard izakaya fare, the menu also contains Japanese schoolkid favourites such as as Neapolitan spaghetti, onigiri, and tamagoyaki.
Retro aluminum dishes typical of those used during kyushoku (給食), or school lunches, feature prominently as serving dishes, adding to the school vibe. We ordered some yakitori and kushikatsu, along with this “Russian shumai” set for fun. It was essentially five pieces of the Chinese steamed dumplings where one was stuffed with wasabi, but you didn’t know which — hence the Russian roulette element.
It was also garnished with a Canadian flag. When I asked the school nurse-dressed waitress why Canada, she said it was purely random. “Would you prefer a Japanese flag instead?” she offered. Nope, just curious.
We also ordered a Caesar salad, and the dressing was provided in a syringe we had to squirt over the salad. I actually found the method much more practical than a squeezy bottle or spoon, to be honest.
6-Nen 4-Kumi abandons its school-theme with a wide range of alcohol on the menu, and an all-you-can drink option. But there is also a full page of non-alcoholic drinks, which is more than most izakayas. Creative mocktails include “science experiment” — ginger ale poured into a blue liquid — and a whole “Gari-Gari-kun” popsicle plunged into Dekavita C energy drink.
As with most themed restaurants, the food and drinks are nothing to write home about taste-wise. It is more about the novelty and experience, and in that regard 6-Nen 4-Kumi hits the jackpot with…
All-you-can eat candy?!
Shortly after we were seated, one of the “teachers” came into our “classroom” to inform us that there was a candy corner. Picking up a small basket and bucket in the room, she said we were free to go fill the basket with as many sweets as we liked within our two-hour stay limit. The catch was that we had to consume everything we took before leaving. No takeaways. The wrappings (i.e. trash) were to go into the bucket.
The sweets corner was filled with a delightfully wide range of retro era sweets, from tiny poo-shaped gummies to soccer ball chocolates to potato fry crisps. Although they may have been nostalgic to the average Japanese person, most of them were new to us. So the novelty of trying all sort of new candies after dinner was the best kind of dessert. It was like trick-or-treating, with unlimited treating.
Getting to 6-Nen 4-Kumi Shinjuku branch
The 6-Nen 4-Kumi Shinjuku branch is a 2-minute walk from the East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station. It is also just a few minutes walk from stations on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Seibu Shinjuku lines.
Address: 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-16-3 新宿スクエアビル9F
9F Shinjuku Square Bldg, Kabukicho 1-16-3, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
The Shinjuku branch is open from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. The izakaya has a seating capacity of 90, and bookings can be made on the official website. Although not essential, it may be worth doing so on weekends or if you have a large group.
The chain also has branches in Shibuya and Ikebukuro, as well as in other major cities like Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya. You can find more details on the official website.
If you’re looking for more interesting themed establishments, particularly in Tokyo, check out the full list of my reviews.