Maid Cafes and Cat Cafes aside, Japan definitely continues to top the “creative list” with so many interesting cafes that offer diners a very unique experience. Here are just five unique themed cafes that can be found in the East of Japan, all within a short train ride from Central Tokyo.
Japan has a huge anime and manga culture, so cafes paying homage to timeless titles are always popping up around the city. The first one to open was the Gundam Cafe (ガンダムカフェ) in Akihabara (秋葉原). Visitors can relax and be taken into the world of Gundam, a giant robot “mecha” anime that started in the late 70’s. All the food and drinks are themed and the waitresses are dressed in Gundam uniforms from the Earth Federation.
Gundam Cafe Akihabara is open daily from 10:00am to 10:30pm, and is just a short 1 minute walk from the Electric Town Exit (電気街口) at JR Akihabara Station.
Apart from bustling Akihabara, another Gundam Cafe can also be found in the futuristic Odaiba (お台場) district. Visitors to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (ダイバーシティ東京) can also treat themselves to a great view of the majestic 1:1 scale Gundam model. It lights up daily from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm with many light displays that makes Odaiba feel really futuristic!
Gundam Cafe DiverCity is open daily from 10.00am to 9.00pm, accessible from Daiba (台場) Station on Yurikamome Line or Tokyo Teleport (東京テレポート) Station on the Rinkai Line.
If Tokyo is home to cafes themed after popular bands or anime, you can be sure that they have cafes themed after video games as well. The famous Japanese game company Square Enix, launched it’s Artnia Cafe in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district in 2012.
Here also all the food and drinks on the menu follow a Final Fantasy theme. Apart from ordering cappuccinos with chocobo foam art, Artnia also boasts an impressive alcoholic “summons” menu as well. And like most theme cafes, once you’re done with your meal you can continue spending your money at the souvenir section of the shop.
Artnia is open daily from 11.00am to 10.00pm. Visitors can take the A3 exit from East-Shinjuku (東新宿) Station on Toei Oedo Line or Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. Alternatively, take E1 exit at the Shinjuku-Sanchome (新宿三丁目) Station on Toei Shinjuku Line or Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and Fukutoshin Line.
Moomin Bakery & Cafe
If you’re in Tokyo and feel like trying out some Finnish delights but worried about being dining alone, look no further! Moomin Cafe (ムーミンカフェ) serves food and pastries made from Finnish rye, so it is a great place to try out some Finnish bread.
Moomin originates from Finland and is widely popular in Japan. The cafe claims to save diners from the woes of solo dining with its “anti-loneliness” magic – all customers are seated with a Moomin companion in the cafe.
Moomin Bakery and Cafe is open daily from 8.00am to 10.30pm except Sundays and Public Holidays where it closes at 10.00pm instead. Access to the Cafe is via Suidobashi (水道橋) Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line and Toei Mita Line, Kasuga (春日) Station on Toei Oedo Line, and Korakuen (後楽園) Station on Tokyo Metro Lines.
Have you ever watched Japanese school life anime and drama, and wondered to yourself what lunch period was like in Japanese schools? You can now experience that for yourself at the Kyushokutoban Cafe in Tokyo.
The term Kyushokutoban (給食当番) stands for school lunch duty, and is customary in Japanese schools where the students have take turns to dish out food for their peers in school. At this cafe, tables and chairs resembles school desks and chairs, and the chalkboard is scribbled with the menu of the day. Food is served on stainless steel trays and served by waiters and waitresses all dressed up as students.
Kyushokutoban is open daily except Sundays and Public Holidays from 11.30am to 2.00pm and 6.00pm to 11.00pm. Interested visitors can get to the place from Shin-Okachimachi (新御徒町) Station on Toei Oedo Line, JR Okachimachi (JR御徒町) Station on JR Yamanote Line, and Naka-Okachimachi (仲御徒町) Station on the Hibiya Line.
Nanjya Monjya Cafe
As a kid, we have all undoubtedly hoped to own a tree house to occasionally hide away in. This is exactly what the Nanjya Monjya Cafe (なんじゃもんじゃカフェ) can provide! While not exactly located in Tokyo, this cafe in Yokohama is a short 30-minute train ride from JR Tokyo Station.
This unique cafe fulfils everyone’s childhood dreams of climbing into a tree house, and has only 20 seats available. There is limited food selection but nothing can beat enjoying a simple cup of coffee high up in the tree!
Unfortunately, this cafe is not located right outside a train station and can require quite some effort to get to. Not to mention that it is only open for a short five and a half hours (12.00pm to 5.30pm) everyday except Sundays, Public Holidays, and days with bad weather. The Facebook page updates daily at approximately 10.00am to inform everyone if they will be open for the day.
Here's how to get there: 1. At Mitsuzawashimocho (三ツ沢下町) Station, take Exit 4 and walk straight with Family Mart (ファミリーマート) on the left. Turn left at the Second Junction after Family Mart. 2. Continue straight past the green way and up the flight of stairs after. 3. Continue past the Junction. 4. Continue along the road outside of the Mitsuzawa-Higashimachi Jichikaikan (三ツ沢東町自治会館). 5. Turn left and take the stairs up when at the junction. 6. Turn right onto a small path in the middle of the stairs and follow the small path to the tree house
These are just some of the unique cafes Tokyo has to offer, with more that are bound to appear around Japan. So the next time you visit, don’t forget to visit one of these cafes or discover a few more around the country!