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-up 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)
Japan’s first permanent Pokemon-themed cafe opened in 2018 to great fanfare, and we can see why. It’s an incredibly classy cafe that has 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.
Address: 〒103-0027 Tokyo, Chuo-ku, 11-2 Nihonbashi 2-Chome, Nihonbashi Takashimaya S. C. East Building 5F
2. PEANUTS Cafe (Tokyo)
If you’re looking for a themed cafe that doesn’t overwhelm, the PEANUTS Cafe is perfect for you. On 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!
Address: 〒153-0042 Tokyo, Meguro, 2 Chome-16-7 Aobadai
3. 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 definitely drop by at least one of the locations. Each cafe has slightly different decor, but in general, you can 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 will be able to 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.
Address: 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, 1-7-1 Jingumae, CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU 3F
4. Shirokuma Cafe (Tokyo)
If you’re not familiar with Shirokuma, now is the perfect time to get acquainted. Shirokuma is the titular character of Shirokuma Cafe, a manga series (later adapted into an anime series) about a group of animals and humans who hang out at a cafe run by a polar bear. Live out your manga fantasy at this cafe, with adorably-plated food, a photo wall to snap pictures, and tons of stuffed Shirokuma plushies to bring home with you! We’re pretty sure that panda roll cake is perfect for your Instagram feed.
Address: 〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, 2−1-2 TOHMA高田馬場
5. Gudetama Cafe (Osaka)
Conveniently located in the heart of the Umeda business district, the Gudetama cafe is a must-visit for anyone who is a fan of this popular animated character. Sink down into one of their comfy chairs in the classic Gudetama-style after a long day of shopping and treat yourself to a delicious meal off their menu. There is classic cafe fare, including curry rice, parfaits, and lattes. If you’d like to bring home a little Gudetama with you, there is also a store on-site!
Address: 〒530-0017 Osaka, Kita-ku, Kakuda-cho 5-15, HEP FIVE 7F
6. Gundam Cafe (Tokyo/Osaka)
If you think themed cafes are all about kawaii characters, think again. Japan has a themed cafe for pretty much everything, so it should come as no surprise that there is a Gundam cafe for the tens of thousands of fans out there! There are currently three cafes spread out across two cities, Tokyo and Osaka. The Gundam Cafes are both in Tokyo (in Akihabara and Odaiba) while Gundam Square is in Osaka’s Suita ward. Regardless of where you go, you’ll probably have a blast. There are usually staff in cosplay, displays with rare Gunpla, and a gift shop.
The food is inspired by Gundam, and many of the dishes have creative names, such as the “Hyaku Shiki Omurice”. Their menu also changes frequently, so it gives you a reason to go over and over again!
Address: 〒101-0028 Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, 1-1 Kanda Hanaokachō
7. Final Fantasy Cafe (Tokyo/Osaka)
Final Fantasy is a much-beloved video game franchise, and it comes alive in the Eorzea Cafe. With locations in Tokyo and Osaka, you can drop by either one to get a taste of its artfully-decorated interiors. The Akihabara cafe, in particular, has gorgeous stained glass, Moogle sculptures, and a bar that looks like it belongs in the video game. Wait, a bar? Yes, if you so fancy, you can order alcoholic drinks here to go along with your meal!
Address: 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, 1 Chome-1-10 Sotokanda
8. Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory (Tokyo)
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory isn’t really a themed cafe -- it’s more a bakery and cafe that sells adorable Totoro cream puffs. But, we love it so much, we’re including it in this list! Located in Tokyo’s Setagaya neighborhood, you can either choose to dine in at TOLO, the cafe upstairs, where they serve main dishes like pasta, or takeaway a cream puff at the bakery downstairs. If there is space, we’d recommend snagging a table so you can enjoy your cream puff with a cup of delicious coffee.
The Totoro cream puffs come in different flavors, including seasonal ones. The custard (a classic!) and chocolate are available year-round, and you can also pick up some cookies at the bakery for your friends back home. Oh, did we mention it’s run by Hayao Miyazaki’s sister-in-law? Yup, if you’re a Ghibli fan, you have to come here!
Address: 〒155-0033 Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, 5 Chome-3-1 Daita
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