It is a known fact that Japan boasts many unique restaurants, from animal themed cafés to maid cafés. And being a country with anime deeply ingrained in its culture, anime themed cafés have become popular attractions for otaku (anime fans) and non-otaku alike.
When in luck and you score the perfect timing to visit Japan, you get to check out pop-up stores or themed cafés in collaboration with newly released movies and anime that are usually open only for a limited time. But given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, timing your trip nowadays can be a little tricky. Worry not, below are five permanent anime themed cafés in Tokyo to write down on your bucket list for when it’s safer to travel again.
1. Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core
Enter the world of Gundam in this recently revamped flagship Gundam Café where you can choose from three dining areas: the Restaurant Area, Zeon’s Diner and fortuneLatte Café.
Make your Gundam pilot dream come true and check out the Restaurant Area, which resembles the inside of a spaceship’s dining hall. Complete your Gundam pilot experience by ordering their pilot lunches, which are inspired by the meals the pilots had in the anime. You can also enjoy dishes like the Fresh Oven Baked Neapolitan Pizza and The Ultimate Gourmet Burger while watching Mobile Suits flying outside the ship’s window.
Another option is to walk into the Principality of Zeon in Zeon’s Diner and prepare for an immersive display as Mobile Suits come to life from the dishes you order. At the back of the bar sits a special guest, presenting the perfect photo opportunity with your glass of “Anohi no Ippai/The Drink on That Day”, which is available in alcoholic or non-alcoholic versions.
Both the Restaurant Area and Zeon’s Diner require advance reservations.
Lastly, the FortuneLatte Café is perfect for those with tight schedules but still want to experience the Gundam World. Fret not because despite the Café only offering take-out items, it is not less entertaining as the first two and still provides an experience like no other. You can order a latte with a surprise printed pattern that is determined by your answers to the questions given to you beforehand, or a tapioca drink in a bottle with designs featuring your Mobile Suit or Gundam character of choice, which you can bring home as a souvenir.
Whichever dining area you choose to visit, it is a guaranteed dream come true for all Gundam fans.
2. Pokémon Café
Rejoice, Pokémon Trainers at heart! With the success of Pokémon Go and the recently released Nintendo Switch game, Pokémon Snap, the Pokémon Café, located on the fifth floor of Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center is sure to satisfy your thirst for a Pokémon adventure, as well as your hunger for aesthetic food.
There is a variety of kawaii (cute) dishes to choose from like Snorlax’s Tummy Filling Nap Lunch Plate and I Choose You!! Poke Ball Dessert Bowl. The café’s Gengar’s Confuse Ray Smoothie is a must-try, too! Aside from the Instagram-worthy meals, some of the menu items can also be served in take-home containers like a Gengar glass or an Eevee take-home plate.
While in the café, one unique experience coffee lovers should not miss out on is the café’s Choose YourPokémon Latte – available hot or iced, and can also be in a take-home mug or glass. Choose your partner Pokémon (from No. 001 to No. 386!) and have it decorated on top of your latte. You gotta try ‘em all, indeed.
Because the place attracts people of all ages, make sure to plan ahead and make your reservations beforehand on the Pokémon Café website.
Address: Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center, 2-4-1 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8265
Opening Hours: 10:30-22:00 (Reservation Basis)
3. Kirby Café Tokyo
Step into Kirby’s Dream Land, a cozy themed café located on the fourth floor of Tokyo Solamachi, where you’ll be greeted by a life-sized Whispy Woods and delightful dishes inspired by Nintendo’s adorable pink ball of joy and his friends. With tableware and entrée selections uniquely designed to adapt the game’s characters and elements, choosing what to eat from the menu may be deemed difficult as a boss fight.
From the Whispy Woods Lunch set that comes with a take-home luncheon mat and Whispy Woods cocotte, to various pizza flavors including dessert pizzas, all served on Kirby-shaped boards – the menu will definitely leave your mouth hanging open as wide as Kirby’s acclaimed ability.
And just like the other anime themed cafés, Kirby Café also offers their very own Kirby-themed latte art in their Art Collection au Lait which is available in three flavors – Café au Lait, Banana au Lait and Strawberry au Lait, and comes with a free mug and coaster. For a cuter twist, you can also order Kirby’s Uki Uki Marshmallow au Lait, decorated with a marshmallow-shaped Kirby that is way too cute to eat.
The café offers seasonal items in their menu so be sure to check their official website before visiting to snag an even more unique opportunity to try out limited dishes.
Address: Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi East Yard, 45, 9, 1-1-2 Osuke, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Reservation Basis)
4. Kamen Rider: The Diner
The Kamen Rider dates back to 1971, and due to its popularity, the franchise is still celebrated until today. The Diner is the official themed restaurant of the Kamen Rider anime series. The inside of the café is designed to look like the Shocker’s secret base, with Kamen Riders statues standing guard and props from the anime displayed, offering fans of all ages the perfect photo opportunity.
They offer a variety of dishes and beverages inspired by the Kamen Riders – from rice and noodle dishes to even alcoholic beverages. The café also offers a limited lunch set from 11:00 until 17:00, where you can enjoy two half-sized dishes of your choice, soup and a salad for only 1,210 yen.
Address: Pasela Resorts Ikebukuro Honten 4F, 1-21-9 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00 (Reservation Basis)
5. Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory and Tolo Pan Tokyo Coffee & Bakery
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory is considered a hidden gem for Ghibli fans all over the world not only because of its homage to one of the most beloved characters in the Ghibli world, Totoro, but also because the café owner is actually the sister-in-law of Studio Ghibli director, Hayao Miyazaki.
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory only offers takeaway for its one-of-a-kind Totoro-shaped cream puffs. They offer seasonal flavors like Caramel Banana and Strawberry, while the Custard & Cream and Chocolate flavors are available all year long. The bakery also sells Totoro-shaped cookies and other pastries you can bring home.
Located on the second floor of the Cream Puff Factory is the Tolo Pan Tokyo Coffee and Bakery, a quaint café where you can enjoy your adorable cream puffs with a drink. Do note that the cream puffs are slightly more expensive when you choose to eat them at the cafe compared with takeaway.
Whether you choose to dine in or take away, this experience will surely fill you with nothing but warmth and nostalgia.
Address: 5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya City, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:30-19:00 (closed Tuesdays)
Japan never disappoints in bringing what we thought could only exist in our TV screens to reality in these anime themed cafes. Whichever café you choose to include in your travel bucket list, it will be an unforgettable treat that is sure to make anyone happier than ever.