You probably have heard about cat cafes, maid cafes, butler cafes, vampire cafes but Japan goes even further than that! Themed cafes of your favorite anime and games are getting so big that there are even limited cafes which are fully booked in no time. In a series of 3 blogs I’ll take you to 4 different themed cafes which all worked differently. The first theme I want tackle are anime cafes.
The first limited themed cafe I ever visited was from the anime Free way back in 2015. You only could get a seat through an online lottery system. Nothing was in English so it looked like I couldn’t go at all. Luckily I found a nice girl who helped me and guess what, I won a seat on the only day I was able to go. I had printed the confirmation email and went to Anime Plaza Ikebukuro.
I can’t remember how I went in and how the food tasted but this cafe was really good decorated. Posters of the boys were everywhere and videos and music were played non-stop so it got stuck in your head in no time. I took the menu items from my favorite characters and they hold an lottery where you could win some of the limited cafe items. I didn’t win but luckily I could buy those limited items when I payed for my food. The poster I bought is still hanging in my room.
A few years have passed since then and systems have changed a bit and are more foreign friendly now. I’ve visited a more recent limited anime cafe which was Inazuma Eleven themed. For this cafe you could book a seat online one month before the actual date with Tablecheck (which is a website in English!) or you can go on the day and try to get a free spot. This cafe was in collaboration with niconico douga Ikebukuro so their cafe was turned into a soccer heaven for a few weeks.
Before going in I had to show them the reservation email and my passport. And I needed to be 15 minutes earlier than my timeslot. Many people want to visit those cafes so there are timeslots, most have a 90-minutes frame. You are allowed to leave earlier but you are not allowed to stay longer than the given time. Also at some cafes there is a limit with how much you are allowed to order so be aware of that.
The decoration was less ‘’full’’ than the Free cafe but instead they had walls were fans were allowed to draw their favorite character (or they hate but I doubt that haha) which made it more personal. There were also TV screens but I barely heard anything because the volume was set too low. This time my favourite characters weren’t on the menu so I took items that suited my taste the most. The drink I had was good, the ice cream was a really good combination with the orange juice. The fried rice was a miss though, the soy sauce was the only thing I tasted. The cafe tries to make up for it by giving every customer a coaster and placemat as souvenir and after leaving you got the chance to buy limited items in the shop.
A big thing to know when you go to anime themed cafes is that you go for your favourite anime and for the limited items. Don’t expect food to be very good. Reserving systems work differently so find out how it works before you go. I hope those reviews gave you a bit of an insight of anime themed cafes and how they work. Don’t be afraid to go to one because it’s a nice experience!