Japan is a land of sumptuous food, makers of legendary game series and producers of blockbuster anime titles that even non-watchers would've heard of. Any of the 3 reasons would've been a good enough reason for anyone to put Japan into their bucket list for their future holidays. However, it didn't take long for someone to come to a conclusion of putting all the good things about Japan together. Why not combine the love of a game or anime with delicious food and kill two birds with one stone? And thus, theme cafes are born and here are 6 theme cafes in Tokyo that will satisfy your inner geek and also your belly at the same time.
Situated right below the headquarters of Sqaure Enix, Artnia is a must-visit for avid Square Enix fans who's mad for anything Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts. The cafe consists of 3 areas: The Luxury, Fantasy and Cafe & Bar area. The Luxury area comprises of a retail and display area that sells apparels, character figures as well as replica accessories that is modeled after some of it virtual counterparts in their respective series. The Fantasy area features a much more casual shopping experience with merchandise such as plushies, keychains, CDs and character cookies, while the Cafe & Bar is... well a cafe & bar that provides exclusive Sqaure-Enix themed food and beverages. If you're in for some fancy booze then alcoholic drinks are also available after 5p.m.
1F Shinjuku Eastside Square
6-27-30 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 160-0022, Japan
It's fair to say Square Enix knows how to satisfy their fanbase. Unlike Artnia cafe, Eorzea cafe, though also part of the Square Enix line-up, is more focused on the Final Fantasy aspect of it's series. And it's not just any Final Fantasy. Eorzea cafe based it's theme more on the MMORPG side of the Final Fantasy series, namely FFIV. What makes it stand out is just how true the cafe is to the fantasy element of the game with the interior almost resembling that of a really classy tavern as if being transported into another world. This aspect doesn't only just end in it's facade as even the entire menu is heavily themed into the world of Final Fantasy. While it is indeed a cafe more sided to the MMO world of Final Fantasy, Eorzea does keep it familiar for all FF fans in general by using synonymous FF classics like moogles, cactuars, chocobos and summons in many of their items, making it a must-go for any FF fanatics. It is important to note that reservation is needed to be able to get into the cafe via their website and English translations are available to help you through the reservation process.
2F Pasela Resorts Akiba Multi Entertainment
1 Chome-1-10 Sotokanda, Chiyoda
Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
Ok, I swear this is not a crazy love-in with Square-Enix. It's just that they REALLY know how to market their stuff. I definitely have other themed cafes further down the list so stay with me!
Unlike the other 2 cafes, the Square-Enix cafe themes itself on specific game titles that they have released recently on a limited-time basis. Opened at the end of 2016, the cafe has alternated in between Final Fantasy XV as well as NieR: Automata. The themes typically switches every fortnightly, and although there's only ever been 2 game series recurring themselves since the launch of the cafe, the menu is always updated with news food items as frequent as Ignis coming up with a new recipe. If you think the food looks familiar, then it may very well is.
Just like the Eorzea cafe, reservation is also needed to enter the cafe through it's website. A cover charge of 500 yen per person is needed and this will come with a drink with a choice of alcoholic ones as well. The cafe breaks itself up into time slots of 90 minutes sessions for patrons to walk around to shop and dine in it.
Yodobashi Akiba 1st floor
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Hanaoka-cho 1-1
Open: 9 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
If you've read an article of mine about The Ultimate Shopper's guide to Akihabara, you'll know that Animate is basically the poster boy for anything anime. This doesn't just include comics and merchandise either. Animate Cafe is another business opportunity for them to capture even more hearts of anime lovers, and it also have various number of theme cafes all over the country. All cafes are limited-time collaborations themed after a number of different popular anime series with the decors, menu and a mini retail area selling exclusive merchandise of a particular series. A reservation is required for the admission into the cafe, so it is advisable to head over early to choose a time slot(each session is 90mins) in which you will be allowed into it. During certain days, you may even get to be treated with something special. In my case, I happened to visit on the day of a certain character's birthday and to which the cafe added an exclusive little bromide to celebrate the special occasion.
The Sega buildings is possibly one of the most iconic buildings in Akihabara, but do you also know that there's themed cafes at the top of both of them? Together with it's outlet in Ikebukuro, Sega has a total of 3 cafes in Tokyo. Just like the other anime collaboration cafes, they are also time-limited themed of a certain series with a total of 90 minutes admission time. However, what's different for the Sega cafe is that you will actually have no retail space on display in the cafe. All exclusive merchandise is listed on part of the menu and if there are any that fancies the patron, they will have to purchase them when they check out at the counter. Admission into the cafe is strictly by reservation on it's website only. A lottery system will be used if there are too many applicants for a particular time slot and notification will be made through an email. Remember to bring along your passport for identification purposes.
As you can observe for these themed cafes, they all share a few characteristics in terms of operation. Bar a few of them, most of them requires a reservation, choosing of a time slot and also around 90 minutes of admission time. Once you've understand how the cafes generally work, you're now safely equipped to start visiting one. So go forth, my fellow brethren, to begin your adventures of a different kind of cafe-hopping!