Japan Cafe Tour 2017

donuts
No need to review Mister Donut becuase it was amazing and I miss it very much (´;ω;`)ブワッ

So as I mentioned in my last post I was in Japan and now that I’m back it’s time for a review of the many themed cafes that I’ve visited.

Osomatsu-san x Sanrio Cafe

This was a collaboration between Osomatsu and Hello Kitty characters as seen in the images. The menu was small but the food was pretty good.I had Totti’s salad while my husband had Jyushimatsu’s butt curry 😂. The drinks were alright and the desert was really cute but I was pretty full so we shared the desert instead of getting another one. That said, this place was really expensive. The entire thing for us cost $65 which is normal for NYC pricing but about double of what you should be paying for your food in Japan. Reservation was easily done online, and we got clear posters and lunch mats as a reward. The only odd thing was, we came a couple minutes earlier than our reservation time – but despite the entire restaurant being NEAR EMPTY the guy told us to wait outside…in the cold. I mean I get it, they don’t want people coming in at the wrong times, but in America typically they at least seat you first so you aren’t standing shivering outside. So other than being made to wait outside til the last minute, and the ridiculous pricing, I enjoyed this cafe.

Yuri on Ice x Princess Cafe

Princess Cafes are located in several locations in Japan and usually change theme every couple months. While most other locations had something else going on, the Fukuoka one had Yuri on Ice so I decided to stop by during lunch. As usual, the menu has very few things on it and you will get coasters for ordering stuff. There’s no reservation here, so it’s first come first serve. As you can see though, there wasn’t much competition to get a spot though. 😂 As far as the food – MEH. The Yuri katsudon was pretty generic and  Yurachka’s piroshiki were PATHETIC. It’s like they aren’t even trying. It was literally a piece of bread roll with some sad beef stuffed into it. The drinks were pretty standard though I accidentally ordered a thick milkshake for my husband cause I couldn’t stop thinking about Christoph’s pole dancing so I said Christophe instead of JJ when asked for drink selections 😂😂😂. As usual there’s goods to get but since I had such bad luck with the coasters, I figured I wouldn’t bother trying to get yet another character I wouldn’t care for. The staff was…hmm yea typical Fukuoka weirdo who is amused & confused on why foreigners would ever come to their city, let alone to a fujo anime cafe. This was probably the worst cafe I visited on my whole trip.

Shirokuma Cafe

Does anyone remember the anime with the catchy opening song full of animals who visit a cafe in the woods run by a big white polar bear? Well apparently it exists in real life and isn’t temporary: It’s always there. Because it’s not a temporary cafe, they’ve had plenty of time to rework their menu that it actually tastes good AND looks cute! All the food is themed for the various animals in the show and was pretty filling. I especially enjoyed the Grizzly cocoa and Penguin-san’s dish. My friend insisted on getting me the stuffed Penguin-san but I had to tell her my suitcase was full (which it was because I ended up going over the weight limit 😂) so she got me a pen instead. They had other various goodies you can get of the characters and the store will often use large stuffed versions of the characters as “walls” between people sitting or for you to face if you are eating alone ;-). I also got a bunch of coasters, I might have completed the set actually lol. Overall an enjoyable cafe and probably the only reason I’d ever come to Takadanobaba.

Neko Cafe Nyankoto

Because this was literally 3 minute walk from Shirokuma cafe, the 3 of us decided to stop by this kitteh cafe. It was probably one of the best 800 yen I spent while on my whole trip. While I’ve been to the cat amusement in Nekobukuro, a lot of the cats at the time were sleeping or locked in their cages. Here, all the cats were out, either sleeping, watching stuff on the window or playing with their regular visitors. They were so soft and fluffy I was basically in furry heaven for an hour. 💖(*   ´ ω `   *)💖 The workers there would sometimes take a kitty in their bed or basket and place it on a person’s lap. They actually put the basket fluff on my lap and we managed to take a photo with him bnefore he ran away xD. (I believe his name was Choux Cream lol) Anyway for 800 yen per hour you get to play with cats, read manga if you want (there’s some lying around), or get a free drink. I was busy taking pics, and floofing all the cats (who hated me because I was a rando instead of their regular visitor xD). Overall I had a really good time and in the end when I was putting my boots on to leave, the black cat (Kinta I think was his name) jumped on my back to use as a ladder to get to the top of the wall in the last photo. Apparently if you bend your back down he sees it as a sign to jump on it lmao 😂 If you’ve never been to a cat cafe and you love cats, please go, you will not regret it.

March Comes in Like a Lion Cafe (3gatsu no Lion)

While visually the cafe seemed pleasing unfortunately this ended up being one of the disappointing cafes as well. I came late ( a week before they close ) so most of the merchandise I wanted to buy was sold out. The food seemed like it would be good but I couldn’t finish my curry and my husband said the broccoli in his gratin was still frozen tasting…. ಠ_ಠ I got duplicates of the coasters & buttons which sucked and the staff felt very disinterested. The person who updates their twitter seems like they are really into it, and were excited because a few other foreigners had come by & left messages on their message board. However when we came on a Monday evening, they didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass and you could tell because they didn’t even fully cook the food they served to us. :/ After seeing the movie a couple days earlier, this was just a huge disappointment to me (almost as much as the ending of the first movie xD). Seems like they are opening another run of the cafe in Tokyo later this month so hopefully that one will be run a little better.

Eorzea Cafe

One of my goals ever since I was playing FFXIV was to visit Eorzea Cafe in Akihabara and finally I accomplished it. Since this is a permanent cafe, everything is well organized and the food is mostly a set menu they’ve had for a while. They do retire some items after some time, but overall you will be seeing the same job drinks and primal foods for a decently long time. They also have non alcoholic drinks for those who prefer not to get drunk at 11AM on a weekday morning 😂.   The cafe has bgms from the game playing and has some computers set up so you can actually play the game if you wish while you stay. Honestly though I was so busy ordering drinks and flooding myself with coasters that I never cared to bother with that. There’s also a jumbo cactpot lottery where you get a ticket and you can win a lunch mat or the giant parfait. Luckily, I won the mat because the 3 of us figured we couldn’t finish the parfait if we won it xD. Pretty nice to win on my first visit! The food was good but be careful of the syrupy drinks – I had a bit too many (at least 4 I think) and my intestines threw a fit a few hours after Σ(゚д゚lll)ガーン. The food was good otherwise and they have a really handy ipad order system now so you can just press the item on the menu and electronically order seamlessly! The only downside is the ipads are kinda small so you can barely read any of the details of what you order so just hope that it doesn’t have stuff you don’t like in it. Pro tip: Unless you enjoy eating mouthwash, stay away from the White Mage drink. 😂😂 Reservation for this is easy – you do it via Lotike online (just do it without registration as they don’t like foreigner logins) and then you pick up from a lawson LOTIKE machine. Remember that when you pick up the “receipt” from the Lotike machine you MUST bring it to the Lawson register and THAT’S where you actually get the tickets from. By doing this, you get a free drink & coaster when you get to the cafe. Preregistering seats also guarantees that you will get a seat because the day we went somehow all the seats got sold out because I guess every foreign FFXIV player got the memo and pretty much 90% of us were flooding the cafe that day. 😂😂😂

Little Witch Academia x Animate Cafe

While I liked the movie, I was never really a fan of the TV series that I ended up dropping after episode 1. However, my friend who was with us, really wanted to go so we figured we’d stop by for drinks since we were getting thirsty raiding all the anime goods stores in Akiba. Everything inside was really cute and colorful and there was maybe 2 other people there besides us since it was a Tuesday afternoon. I had a little tart and a drink but everything was generally pretty good. A really great place if you’re a LWA fan with lots of goodies to purchase as well. Again we walked in without reservations but had no issues.

Otomate Cafe

Being in literally the same floor as the Eorzea Cafe, there was Otomate cafe! The procedure is identical to Eorzea including the buying tickets as well as the ipad order system. However despite this I was an idiot and instead of waiting for them to “walk me to my seat”  I stupidly just…walked in myself and was wondering why there was nobody there. I guess if there was actually people there I woulda gotten the hint but since nobody was around I just wandered in until the host girl was like “uhh can you wait outside” ….😂😂😂 It’s really sad how deserted the cafe was, as besides us there was only 3 other girls there. So because I coincidentally picked the day it was Garaiya’s birthday we all sang Happy Birthday to him with my keychain xD. The girls next to us were obviously frequent visitors so when they got their Garaiya coaster for the millionth time, they just gave it to me. BLESS YOUR HEARTS LADIES (。>д<。) I tried to order only from series I liked but sometimes you just have to ignore the fact that your tea is from Diabolik Wifebeaters because you just want a hot cup of tea 😂. As with Eorzea cafe, you get a free coaster for every piece of food your order and remember once again to watch the syrupy drinks. I only had 2 this time and it still made me a bit sick :(. Just like with Eorzea, by reserving ahead of time, you get a free drink and some can badges (buttons). But yea as this cafe seems like it’s mostly empty you can probably walk in without a reservation and get a seat anytime…

Yuri on Ice x Namjatown

This isn’t really a cafe as much as a “collaboration with collaboration food” in the area. Namjatown had a collab with both Utapri & Yuri. What was unique is that in the “food area” each food stand had a different piece of collaboration food. So on one hand, it was hell finding out where the hell each piece of food I wanted to eat was – but it’s good for crowds because therefore everyone isn’t lined up at the same booth for the respective series. Fortunately because once again I went on a weekday afternoon, there was absolutely no lines and barely any crowds period. The best part was the purikura booth there didn’t make your face look like a creepy big eyed alien like most arcade purikura machines tend to do nowdays. 😂 As far as the food, my husband said the piroshiki actually tasted like piroshiki now and the borsch I had was alright – but once again missing beets because apparently Japan never grows or eats beets in anything. 🤔 The maccachin crepe was really cute but was mostly just full of whip cream so I had trouble finishing it xD.

Collar x Malice at Otomate Garden

Otomate Garden is a hole in the wall edition of their usual cafe and typically changes collaboration menu every month or two. The CxM collabo was supposed to end in March but due to it being so popular they extended it to the end of April so I lucked out. This cafe is hell to get into because tickets will typically sell out within 5-10 minutes. The other thing is, you need to have friends in Japan to actually buy the tickets for you at 7-11. The way it works is you register a 7-11 online account, reserve a slot when the reservations open and then you must pay for the tickets within 3 days. I asked my friend in Japan to buy the tickets for me because I lucked out and managed to snag a spot. The 7-11 site was lagging so bad that I constantly got the “site is overloaded try again in a few seconds” message. It  reminded me of old online class registration for college back in the day…. 😂 Despite every slot filling up within 10 minutes, when we actually got to the cafe there was a ton of empty seats. Apparently people just buy the tickets, come in, get the bromides, lunch mats and leave x_x. The cafe is super tiny so there aren’t that many seats at all. However because it’s so tiny, a lot of people frequently walk around to trade their stuff with you. I lucked out and some nice ladies (and girls) traded their stuff with me so I managed to snag a Takeru coaster and lunch mat ワーイ♪ヽ(*゚ェ゚*)ノ. Everyone was very friendly and polite which felt like a world of difference between the people I encountered in Fukuoka. Nobody seemed to care that I was a foreigner and once they heard me speaking Japanese they were more than willing to start conversations with me in order to trade stuff. Also the ikeman host guy who walked us to our table was super nice and took time to explain everything to me. The food was actually pretty decent so I guess the staff who handle Otomate Cafe probably worked on the stuff here and know what they are doing. We basically ate our stuff and left within an hour so we could grab huge parfait desserts elsewhere because the deserts here looked kinda small and sad lol. That said I think it was an enjoyable visit, but I wish it was in a bigger venue since clearly a lot of people want to come here. Additionally waiting in the stairwell until 5 minutes before our “time” was kinda…lame lmao. Again the issue with the location of it being on the 4th floor of some thin tiny building. If I ever return to Japan I’m not sure if I’d come back to it since getting tickets is too much of a hassle to begin with.


ppap
Pro tip: don’t buy PPAP cookies they are nasty.

And so that concludes my cafe adventures. What I learned is

  • Stay away from too many syrupy drinks if you value your innards
  • Most food will be bad/mediocre especially at limited time pop-up cafes
  • Reservation is good for freebies but not always needed especially if you are coming on a weekday afternoon
  • Be prepared to stand outside until your exact reservation time even if the whole cafe is empty
  • They are expensive, you aren’t gonna get a decent meal for $10 like you can in a lot of places
  • They are all non-smoking so if you struggle finding a non-smoking place to eat, you will never have this issue in these cafes

 

Feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can and good luck on any cafe ventures you may go to on your next Japan trip!

 

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23 thoughts on “Japan Cafe Tour 2017

  1. Thank you for that post ! I always hear about those anime collaboration cafes (and dream of them!!) but hardley ever see reviews of it… Unsurprisingly, the temporary ones aren’t that great haha; might try the Shirokuma one next time I go to Japan though ! And I’d still go to a pop-up one if it’s my favorite anime… Anyway, bad experiences with some cafes aside, I hope you had a great trip !

    1. Aside the rude people in Fukuoka I had a good time in Tokyo. and I can understand wanting to go to your favorite cafe if the series you like is featured… but I overdid it and by the end I was sick of them in general lol

  2. Hey there! I was wondering if you could do a quick bit on the…I think it was called kbook? The used otome store you had found ❤ ❤ (where it's at, maybe how to get there if that's not too much to ask)
    Any used stores to save some $$ would be great lol! Or some other stores you may recommend

    And is there a way to recognize 2nd hand stores easily?
    thank you so much!! I think I may try to visit at least one of the themed cafes while I'm there lol

    1. I’m not gonna do a post on 1 store so I’ll just answer your question. kbooks is in ikebukuro but I don’t remember the exact address. I stumbled upon it on my way to animate so if you head into that area you’re likely to run into it. I’m sure Google maps has it too. other used stores are book off and lashinbang. some stores have sections with used goods inside so you just have to explore and check really lol

    2. Hi. I think there are three different kbooks in Ikebukuro. They are all kind of in the some area, but only one of them has otome stuff. There’s another used store in Ikebukuro with otome stuff. I can’t remember what it’s called but it’s near the bridge by Sunshine City.

  3. some other notes:

    1) there’s only so many characters in these series, so there usually isn’t much choice in terms of the menu. if the game has like the protag and then 5 ~husbandos~ then that means there’s only going to be enough characters for like 2 entrees, 2 drinks, and 2 deserts unless they start doubling/tripling up. shirokuma cafe for example doubled up, so there was like a grizzly hot cococa, grizzly curry, and grizzly chocolate parfait

    2) because of that we started to get sick of them after a while because as you might be able to tell from the photos, it was all curry & pasta all the time at a lot of these places

    3) obviously the fact that it’s a “real” restaurant is the real reason, but this is also why eorzea cafe/otomate garden were able to have a much more varied menu than the other cafes

    4) the stuff at the sangatsu no lion cafe didn’t even try to have any kind of association with the characters.

    1. you gotta check what current cafes are going on since they change frequently every month. certain animate cafes require you to do an “entry” where they randomly select who can get in. I balloted for the yuri on ice one and only got into 1 spot which I had already reserved for another cafe so I had to give it up.

  4. Very interesting 😮
    I didn’t know you have to buy tickets and I don’t have any friend in Japan D:
    Looking the images they post on their Twitter or on websites, like Animate Café, all the food looks delicious, but I guess they aren’t XDD
    Thank you for sharing ^^

    1. not all you have to buy tickets but places like otomate garden and CERTAIN animate cafes (like popular ones like yuri on ice) you really do have to because spots just get instantly taken.

  5. Whaa!!! I’m gonna sound like a total creeper, but it would have been so awesome to meet you. I live about 15 minutes away from Ikebukuro and I go to Sunshine almost every week! Like I said in a previous post, you’re the main reason I learned Japanese and moved here. TT_TT I promise I’m not a psycho, it just would have been so cool. I’m glad you (mostly) enjoyed your trip.

    1. Lol aww, honestly I spent most of the time just walking in & out of stores, and going to my reserved cafes xP I think I walked like 10,000 steps a day. I kinda feel bad for the few friends I dragged along with me and made their feet hurt 😂

    1. yep that’s the cafe. like i said you can probably just walk in – ordering tickets gives you a free drink & a coaster but you need to use the lawson machine to pick them up if you order online so if you’re uncomfortable with that – just walk in. otomate cafe was mostly deserted when I was there on a weekday.

  6. Hell yeahhh I can’t wait for Eorzea Cafe!!! My friend and I are going to be going, it’ll be our first time and my body is ready. *V* our hotel is in Akihabara which is gonna be bad for my wallet www but who cares NO REGRETS LMAO

    1. Try to get tickets from lawson ahead of time, there’s a lot of foreigner visiting it and walk in spots are heard to get. That said, otomate cafe you can just walk in anytime lol.

      As far as Akiba – Akiba is good but the real gems are in Ikebukuro so make sure you drop by there too :p

  7. Thank you so much for posting the cafes that you visited when you went to Japan! My family is planning on going Spring 2018 to Japan so this is great reference (especially Shirokuma Cafe)! 🙂
    By the way did you get the chance to visit the Ghibli Museum as well? Also, are you planning on posting a review on where you went and some highlights of those places?

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