[SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE] We have rewritten most of this blog to reflect the current situation. Many cafes have closed or moved during the pandemic, and some new ones have opened. We present you with a new and improved list of cafes to visit in Japan. And watch out... it's not 7 coffees anymore, it's 8 and a bonus.
It seems like every other month, there are fun and exciting new concept cafes opening up in Japan! From your favourite kawaii characters like Pikachu and Hello Kitty to shows such as Grand Blue and Psycho-Pass, these cafes offer a unique experience for anime fans and non-fans alike. Many of these cafes, though, are pop-ups and operate only for a month or two, so it is easy to miss out if you are not already in Japan. No worries, though, because we are pleased to bring you a list of permanent character cafes, we’d recommend for your next visit to Japan!
1. Pokemon Cafe (Tokyo and Osaka) and Pikachu Sweets (Tokyo)
Japan’s first permanent Pokemon-themed cafe opened in 2018 to great fanfare, and we can see why. It’s an incredibly classy cafe with just the right amount of Pokemon-inspired decor to delight fans and also serves up some incredibly kawaii dishes. The cafe’s take on a carbonara is shaped like Pikachu’s butt, and they have a delicious cheesecake shaped like Jigglypuff. We’re also delighted that the cafe offers more than just the typical popular Pokemon, so you can also pick up a Gengar smoothie if that’s more your style! For your friends back home, they offer some take-out options, like uncooked Pokemon pasta and Pikachu cookies.
A second Pokemon Cafe opened in Osaka in September 2019. Shortly after, in December 2019, the first Pikachu Sweets store opened in Tokyo. Pikachu Sweets only sells Pokemon-style candy and drinks, so head to the Pokemon Café if you're hungry.
Directions - Pokemon Cafe Tokyo
Directions- Pokemon Cafe Osaka
Directions- Pokemon Sweets (Tokyo)
Browse Pokemon Goods
2. PEANUTS Cafe, Diner, and Snoopy Chaya (Tokyo)
If you’re looking for a themed cafe that doesn’t overwhelm you, the PEANUTS Cafe is perfect. At first glance, it is just like any ordinary cafe, but once you step inside, you start to see little signs of the theme. There are Snoopy plushies on the wall, the hanging lights are decorated with Peanuts postcards and comics, and there is a store selling memorabilia. All the food is also served on Peanuts-themed tableware! Take a break from exploring the hip Naka-Meguro neighborhood with some delicious hot chocolate, and don’t forget to grab a t-shirt from the store!
There are currently three types of Peanuts restaurants. First, there are the Cafes, which have pasta, pizza, and drinks. Today there are many Peanuts Cafes in Japan: three in Tokyo, one in Osaka, one in Kobe, and one in Nagoya. Each one has a slightly different menu. There's also the Peanuts Diner, which is a bit fancier. The Peanuts Diner is only in Yokohama.
And finally, there is the Snoopy Cha-ya. You may be thinking: What is a chaya? Cha-ya (茶屋 in Japanese) means tea room. It's like a cafe but in traditional Japanese style, specializing in traditional Japanese tea and sweets. You won't want to miss out on these beautiful salons! There are Chayas in Kyoto, Hokkaido, Mie, Nagano, and Oita.
PEANUTS Cafe - Official website for cafe addresses
PEANUTS Diner & Marine Walk, Yokohama
PEANUTS Cha-ya in Kyoto & Official page to see directions to all Chayas
Browse PEANUTS Goods
3. Sanrio Cafe (Tokio and Kamakura)
Hello Kitty, My Melody, Kuromi, Pom Pom Purin, Little Twin Stars, Pochacco, Gudetama, Keroppi... there are so many Sanrio characters to enjoy at the Sanrio Cafe. The good thing about this cafe is that they have hearty meals on the menu. There are burgers for those who come hungry, and the burgers are obviously kawaii! For sweets lovers, there are dessert plates with pancakes and fruit. There are also fruit smoothies and lattes with Sanrio art.
Below are two more coffees from Sanrio, but they are for particular characters.
Directions - Kamakura
Browse Sanrio Goods
4. PomPomPurin Cafe (Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagoya)
PomPomPurin has not one but four cafes all over Japan! If you are a fan of this adorable Sanrio character, you should drop by at least one of the locations. Each cafe has a slightly different decor, but you can generally expect to be greeted by PomPomPurin’s classic yellow and brown. There are also special menu items depending on which cafe you are at. For example, you can chomp down on a delicious “flower curry” only at the Harajuku cafe, while Osaka patrons can enjoy Kansai-style udon with handmade rice balls. All, of course, will be impeccably decorated with PomPomPurin’s likeness, just in case you forget where you are.
Buy PomPomPurin Merchandise
5. Cinnamoroll Cafe (Tokyo)
The king of Sanrio: Cinnamoroll. After being voted the most popular Sanrio character in the world, it's no wonder he has his own cafe.
Take a break from shopping in chaotic Shinjuku to enjoy a meal with your favorite cute pooch. There are foods like omurice, beef stroganoff, pasta, cakes, ice cream, and drinks of many kinds. There are fruity sodas for those who don't like coffee but want a nice drink. Like all character cafes, there is a store selling exclusive items such as stuffed animals, key rings, and bags. It's on the ground floor of the Marui Annex, so very convenient for travelers.
Buy Cinnamoroll Merchandise
6. Final Fantasy Cafe (Tokyo/Osaka)
The beloved Final Fantasy video game franchise comes to life at Cafe de Eorzea. It has locations in Tokyo and Osaka, where you can stop to enjoy its artistic interior decoration. The Akihabara cafe, in particular, has beautiful stained glass windows, Moogle sculptures, and a bar that looks straight out of the game screen. In Osaka, the tables and chairs are the same as in a video game tavern. Wait, a bar? Yes! You can order Final Fantasy alcoholic beverages to accompany your meal if you wish. Warning: You have to book in advance to enter the Tokyo location.
In Osaka, you can enter without reservation from Monday to Friday, but you have to reserve for Saturday or Sunday.
Directions - Tokyo
Directions - Osaka
Buy Final Fantasy Merchandise
7. Kirby Cafe (Tokyo and Hakata)
The Kirby Café started as a limited-time café. It was so popular that they decided to reopen it as a permanent restaurant. Let me warn you: This coffee will destroy your wallet. It's not that the food is so expensive; it's average for a character cafeteria. The items in the store are just so cute and useful that you won't be able to get away without buying something. I love the crockery they sell, and the Kirby stuffed animals with a chef's hat. There are pizzas, burgers, loco moco, omurice, curry, and more. There are also cakes and ice cream for dessert. Warning You have to book in advance to enter both locations. Go here to book in Tokyo, and go here to book in Hakata.
Directions - Tokyo
Directions - Hakata
Buy Kirby Merchandise
8. Rilakkuma Tea House (Kyoto and Hiroshima)
Relax with Rilakkuma in these magnificent Japanese tea rooms. The menu varies slightly depending on the location, but both offer traditional Japanese food. Like the Snoopy Chaya, the interior has a natural and cozy look with lots of wood and Japanese motifs. The shops have traditional Japanese tableware, aprons, cosmetics, t-shirts, handbags, towels, and more! For travelers with a very tight schedule, you can also order takeaways, such as pancakes, to eat while strolling in beautiful Kyoto or Hiroshima. Warning: You have to make reservations using a machine in the cafe. We recommend you arrive in the morning to reserve, and then you can enjoy Kyoto or Hiroshima without worrying about the reservation.
Directions - Kyoto
Directions - Hiroshima
Buy Rilakkuma Merchandise
9. Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory (Tokyo)
Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory is not actually a themed cafe but more like a patisserie that sells creamy Totoro cupcakes. However, we like it so much that we have included it in this list. You can find it in the Setagaya neighborhood of Tokyo, and you can choose to eat at TOLO, the restaurant upstairs where pasta is served, or grab a cupcake from the patisserie downstairs. If there is space, we recommend that you grab one of the tables to be able to accompany your cupcake with coffee.
Totoro cupcakes come in various flavors, many of which are limited editions. The custard (classic!) and chocolate ones are available all year round, but you can also get cookies from the patisserie to take back to your friends.
Oh, did we forget to mention that the owner is Hayao Miyazaki's sister-in-law? If you are a studio Ghibli fan, you must visit this place.
Buy Totoro Merchandise
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