Japan is known for its natural beauty and rich culture but also extremely popular are its weird and wonderful themed restaurants/cafes that are sprawled across Tokyo. There’s something for everyone, from dining in Dracula’s lair to being transported into a 2D world straight out of a manga. These themed restaurants/cafes will make your experience in Japan unforgettable.
Maidreamin, like the name suggests, is a cafe where waitresses typically dress in French maid costumes and dote on you as if you were their master. Though this might sound more than a little strange, the styling of Maid cafes is inspired by a popular anime trope and is intended to be overly cute in a tongue-in-cheek way. The waitresses get very into their performances, teaching customers how to perform a ritual to shoot a love-heart shaped beam from their fingers to make their drink or dessert extra delicious. Some food and drink sets even come with a special performance, where all the waitresses (and sometimes even the kitchen staff) will get up on the stage to perform a choreographed dance number. Maidreamin cafes can be found all over Tokyo but the main cafe is found in Akihabara, which also happens to be the centre of anime culture in Tokyo. Even if you just walk the streets of Akihabara, you’re bound to see a lot of “maids” handing out advertisements dressed in a variety of costumes unique to their particular cafe.
Official website: https://maidreamin.com/multilp/
Opening hours: 11:30 am-10 pm, everyday
Address: 3 Chome-16-17 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
2. 8Bit Cafe
If you’re into retro video games, you would be interested in visiting the 8-bit Cafe, a video game-themed cafe in the heart of Shinjuku. The cafe is a retro gamer’s dream and is packed to the brim with all manner of 8-bit and 16-bit video games systems, from staples such as the original Gameboy and Nintendo 64 to more niche systems such as the VirtualBoy. The cafe is decked out with unique video game memorabilia, such as vintage posters and collectables. Customers are free to rummage through the selection and pick out something to play while they’re waiting for their food and drink. They offer a range of cocktails and mocktails, all named after video games, and also occasionally host special events, like DJ sessions and art exhibitions.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/8bitcafe/ (Sorry it’s in Japanese.)
Opening hours: 6 pm-12 am, closed Tuesdays
Address: Japan, 160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−8−9, 5F
3. 2D Cafe
No, this is not an artist rendition. This is a real, full-colour photo of the interior of the uniquely-styled 2D Cafe, located in Shin-Okubo. As soon as you enter the cafe, you feel as though you have been transported onto the page of a comic-strip. The 2D illusion is masterfully created by the black and white motif and the sketch-like finish of the furniture. But don’t worry, the food and drinks aren’t all black and white. In fact, since the cafe chain originated in South Korea, the 2D Cafe offers a range of colourful drinks and Korean desserts, which you can enjoy at your leisure… just as soon as you’ve finished taking that perfect Instagram photo.
Opening hours: 11 am-11 pm, everyday
Address: Japan, 169-0073 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Hyakunincho, 1 Chome−7−5
4. Alice in a Labyrinth
Prepare to go down the rabbit hole as you enter the Alice in Wonderland Restaurant. With several locations throughout Tokyo, this popular themed restaurant is ornately furnished and decorated in the styling of the world that Lewis Carol created. The waitresses all dress in Wonderland inspired costumes, including Alice’s blue and white dress, and the food and drinks are all named after characters or quotes from the book. The manic design of the interior, with it’s spiral staircases, black and white checkered wallpaper and playing cards does a great job at capturing the essence of the original book. The restaurant is still hugely popular to this day, so I strongly advise you to make a booking.
Opening hours: 4 pm-10 pm, Mon-Thu
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 8 Chome−8−5, 5F
5. Vampire Cafe
Tucked away in the depths of Ginza you’ll find a vampire cafe, an unexpected treat hidden within the luxury shopping district. Here, if you’re brave enough to enter, you’ll find a delightfully Gothic restaurant, complete with skulls, candelabras, coffins and mirrors splashed with red paint (we hope). The Vampire Cafe, inspired by Dracula’s castle, is the perfect mix of romance and horror. The servers add to the atmosphere by wearing Victorian-era inspired clothes, pale makeup and some even trying their hand at a Transylvanian accent. The dishes and drinks follow the vampire theme, the menu boasting a selection of original cocktails such as the Dracula, Necromancer and the Undead, just to name a few. If you like vampires or just very moody lighting the Vampire Cafe is a definite must-see.
Opening hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 4 pm-10 pm, Mon-Thu
11:30 am-3 pm, 4 pm-8 pm, Fri-Sun
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 6 Chome−7−6, 7F
Do you want to try any of these places? You can check out the social media accounts of each themed-restaurant/cafe to get an idea of what they look like. Put them on your to-do list and get ready to visit them.