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Travel tip On a trip to Japan across the themed cafés in Tokyo & Co
When traveling to Japan, the culinary side of the country should not be neglected, because the Japanese are generally more adventurous and somewhat more curious than the Germans. This is particularly evident in the many unusual themed cafes and restaurants that tempt you to try things out on vacation in Japan. What sounds absurd and bizarre to us in Europe is a big trend in Japan. Many themed cafes and restaurants are based on elements of otaku culture such as manga and anime. Fancy Japan Cafés such as the Katzencafé, the Maid Café or the many unusual seasonal cafés in Tokyo, Osaka and major Japanese cities such as Kobe, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo are particularly popular with travelers.
The experience: Japan Café
The popular Japan Cafés certainly include the animal cafés already known in Europe, the Maid Cafés or the 2D Café, which is particularly popular among artists and Instagrammers. Overall, there is an incredible variety of themed cafes across Japan. The topics used range from creepy to funny to bizarre, from vampires to railways to Alice in Wonderland, there is a separate theme café for almost every subject.
Insight into the Cat Café Mocha in Harajuku
The cat café
In Japan there has been a real animal café boom in recent years. Within a very short time, numerous cat cafes and other animal cafes sprang up all over the country. Special highlights are, for example, animal cafés where cats, owls, dogs or even mini pigs can be petted while drinking coffee. In the so-called "Nekokissa" (猫 喫茶) you order coffee and cake as usual, while living house cats roam around next to you in the guest room, who like to be petted and play with you. The Cat Café Mocha in Harajuku, Tokyo is probably the most stylish cat café in Japan. Around twenty cats of different races roam the light-flooded café, which is equipped with spacious seats, dragging plants and free Wi-Fi. In the middle of the room is a wooden, sculptural tree with seats for the cats built into the branches, which, among other things, serves as a retreat. While the animals sit in the canopy, they can watch gold-painted bird cages hanging from the ceiling. Particularly popular are the cats Sunflower, a blue-eyed Himalayan cat, Chaahan, a red-haired Norwegian Forest Cat and Pomme, a Munchkin cat with sturdy legs and stubby ears.
Eat Drink: The typical drinks and snacks of a café are available to guests
Audience: Although it looks like a tourist trap, most of the guests are local and young cat lady lovers (and gentlemen).
Entry: About 200 yen for ten minutes, the minimum stay is 30 minutes, you should have a few extra yen ready for food for the cats.
The Maid Café
A special Japan café trend is the so-called Maid Café, of which a particularly large number can be found around the Tokyo train station in Akihabara. This type of themed café is probably one of the most extraordinary phenomena for Europeans. Anime and manga fans in particular know the idea of being served by a maiden. Maid Cafés try to turn this idea into reality by creating a completely different world in the interior of the themed café. When visiting a maid café, it is of course about ordering food and drinks, through which one comes into contact with the so-called maids. In addition, the various Maid Cafés offer special activities such as selfies with the maids. Since taking photos is forbidden in most of the themed cafés in Japan, the Maid Cafés are a great place to take Polaroid photos with their favorite maid. These photos can then be personalized and decorated by the maiden. In addition, a game can be played with the maid, the maid can sing a song for his guest or the maids put on a show for all guests.
The counterpart for female guests who would like to be served and entertained by a male waiter is called the Butler Café. Especially in the districts that are also or more geared towards female anime fans (in Tokyo for example Harajuku and Ikebukuro) you will find it here.
Eat Drink: Typical food and drinks from a café are offered. Since the maid cafés are made cute, all the dishes are prepared and served very cute, sometimes the maids refine the meal at the table with a personal message made of chocolate, syrup or ketchup. Before the food is consumed, the food is conjured up delicious and a heart is formed over the dish with your hands.
Audience: People who like to be served by a maid (or butler) and want entertainment and are looking for contact.
But of course the colorful world of theme cafes in Japan does not end with these examples of Japan Cefé concepts. Whether it's an action-packed lunch break in the Gundam Café, reliving childhood memories in the Moomin Bakery and Café or chatting with Snoopy in the Peanuts Café, every traveler will find an individual café experience that will be remembered for a long time.
Rainbow colors and flashy: dining in a themed café
Themed cafes for a unique holiday in Japan in every season
The 2D café
The 2D Café in Tokyo's popular Shinjuku district creates an optical illusion when entering the room. In the 2D Café you have the feeling of being swallowed up by a sketchbook. The 2D Café, which opened in 2019, makes the real, three-dimensional world look like a flat illustration. All the furnishings in the room appear to have been painted on a single surface, and through ingenious tricks that fool the eyes, the furnishings appear completely monochrome, with white floors, tables and chairs. However, the furniture is actually all two-tone. While the flat faces are white, the edges are soft, uneven black streaks in the style of sketch lines.
Eat Drink: Colorful 3D food and drinks are served in a black and white 2D manga look. The offer ranges from a large selection of bubble tea, tea, coffee and juice to sweet desserts.
Audience: An absolute hotspot for great photos and thus an attraction for influencers and Instagram lovers.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the first Pokemon Center, which opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo in 1997, the Pokemon Center Tokyo DX opened in March 2018 in the Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store. In addition to selling Pokemon items, the first Pokemon Center opened with its own café. Pokemon Café Tokyo offers super cute Pokemon characters, themed dishes and drinks, and limited items. Depending on the time of year, the Pokemon Café has seasonal offers. Most recently, the dishes were inspired by Pokemon Sword and Shield and were on the menu for two months.
Eat Drink: There is currently a pikachu taco rice platter, Eevee Hamburger steak stew platter, yamper sandwich picnic platter and, for dessert, zigzagoon cookie tiramisu or ice cream panna cotta.
Audience: All Pokemon fans!
Temporary themed cafés for the Japan trip
Many Japanese - but also international - brands and companies want to be part of the Japan Café trend and are therefore opening themed cafés in cooperation. As a result, many of the themed cafes in Japan are only open for a limited time in collaboration with other brands and companies. In general, these temporary cafes need to be reserved well in advance to make sure you get one of the much sought-after and usually sold out seats.
To be informed about the latest themed cafés, it is worth taking a look at our news page. The Dango News website also provides a good overview of updates on pop-up theme cafes in Japan.
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