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The Nerd Cafes of Tokyo

With the (recent?) closure of Osaka’s Sailor Moon themed cafe, Cafe Talisman, I’ve needed to look elsewhere to get my nerdy food fix. Sadly, there is a relative dearth of these in Kansai (the ones I have found are not geared toward my interests). Tokyo houses many, a large portion of which are only temporary, so make sure you research before getting your heart set on a specific one. Such temporary locations which have already closed their doors include four Super Mario cafes, the Sailor Moon theme at the Q Pot Cafe, and the Sailor Moon AniON Namco Cafe. I had the opportunity to visit the Q Pot Cafe (wonderful) and the AniON Cafe (the atmosphere was great, but the food was not).




Namco has three different cafes and for each of these, you will need to enter a lottery to get a reservation several weeks in advance. At least for the Tiger & Bunny (if you like hilarious and suspenseful anime, check it out!) location in Akihabara, these go very quickly, so keep an eye out on their respective websites http://www.namco.co.jp/characro/tigerandbunny/. There is the Idolmaster Cafe also in Akihabara http://www.namco.co.jp/characro/idolmaster/, and the Gintama Cafe in Ikebukuro http://www.namco.co.jp/characro/gintama/. All of these have both a regular menu and character menus based on their franchise, as well as goods and a table charge. The Tiger & Bunny and Idolmaster Cafes charge 300円 per person, while the Gintama Cafe charges 500円.


IT&BDrink’ve only been to the Tiger & Bunny Cafe (and have no plans of visiting the others), but I’d assume their commitment to theme is similarly strong. Origami Cyclone wall stickers are always in sight, but out of the main line of action. For each item you order (on a tablet!), you get a token with which you can vote for your favorite hero. Unsurprisingly, the (arguably) main character, Wild Tiger, is often at the top of the list. As for the consumables, the food can be a rather strange conglomeration though still enjoyable, and I really liked the Wild Tiger drink (complete with glowing ice) while not caring for the carbonated selections. The Apollon Trio Tropical Soda has fruit on top, but it’s frozen and largely inedible. Periodically throughout your visit, a brief show discussing the ranking of the heroes will commence.


In Ikebukuro, Namja Town by Namco hosts many food stalls (serving gyoza and various desserts), crane games, and a shop. They also have limited time collaborations, including Sailor Moon, Axis Powers Hetalia, and Youkai Watch. As a cat lover, the mascots of Namja Town fell into the “love at first sight” category.




The Capcom Bar http://www.paselabo.tv/capcombar/ has a variety of foods and goods from several franchises, from Ace Attorney to Resident Evil (Biohazard in Japan for those not in the know). It is in Shinjuku and you can make reservations a month in advance. You can play some of their games on PlayStations housed there and the waitstaff will imitate various Capcom characters if you ask nicely.


OEorzeaf the themed cafes I’ve been to, none have been quite as immersive as Eorzea, Pasela’s Final Fantasy XIV restaurant. The various weapons lining the walls, the game’s music, and the menu all lend to an incredibly fun experience. The dishes I’ve had seemed rather heavy, so consider splitting with a friend if you go. The drinks are good, but relatively weak. You also have the option to play the game on one of the four systems across from the bar.


Pasela has many other locations, some of which are also collaborations. I’ve seen advertisements for a Dragon Quest bar. Also, they’re known for their honey toast. On my most recent trip to Eorzea, the group that had won a gigantic version of the dish ended up sharing it with everyone else there as it was too much.


Other Companies


The largest Gundam Cafe is located just outside of Akihabara Station and is currently celebrating its 5th anniversary. http://g-cafe.jp/english/ I’ve never been, so I have little to say about it, but it is probably one of the older anime-inspired cafes around.


ArtniaArtnia is perhaps my favorite themed cafe in Japan (and therefore, the world). It is general Square Enix, though with a heavy emphasis on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. There are several things you can do at the cafe: shop for goods (some Kingdom Hearts, Bravely Default, and SaGa merchandise is available in addition to the two more widespread franchises), listen to the games’ soundtracks before considering a purchase, marvel at figures and other more expensive merchandise (along with the odd display of concept art), and eat and drink to your heart’s content in the cafe. They typically have special menus in addition to their main one (largely full of Final Fantasy inspired fare). The last time I went, in honor of the recent announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake, a menu focused specifically on that game was available. As you dine, you’re also treated to one of the many marvelous soundtracks the franchise has given birth to.


Though not every intellectual property has yet developed a cafe, the concept seems to be gaining popularity. I have enjoyed each cafe I’ve gone to and hope to return to many of them. I encourage anyone with even a slight interest to jump in and see what the deal is!


Brittany Teodorski



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