Here in America, our cafes are rather quaint and boring. We might order an espresso and a pastry to go with it, but then we just sit down to chat or type away on our laptops. It's all quite dull and mundane. But what if cafes didn't have to be so... traditional?
Japan certainly doesn't think they have to be! Quirky themed cafes have popped up all over the country, offering a unique experience to guests every visit. They're so popular that they've started spreading to other Asian countries—but America is still lagging behind, sadly.
Check out these awesome Japanese themed cafes to see what we're missing out on! There's no doubt that you'll want to visit Japan after seeing some of the cool stuff that they've been doing.
8. Pokémon Cafe
The Pokémon Cafe sits inside the Pokémon Center, a gift shop for all things related to the Pokémon franchise. The cafe is outfitted with statues of your favorite Pokémon, and has the most adorable Pokémon-themed food.
Order an Eevee teriyaki chicken burger, and you'll get a burger patty in between a bun that resembles Eevee. Similarly, the Pikachu curry features a smiling Pikachu face made from rice.
7. Vampire Cafe
Japan's Vampire Cafe doesn't feature any vampires of the sparkling variety. This delightfully dreary cafe is filled with red, black, and bloodstained furniture that gives off a perfectly gothy vibe. You'll sit behind a velvet curtain as you wait for your vampire host to take your order.
Aside from the impressive environment, the food also suits the chilling theme. Dine on devilish food such as "Van Helsing's dead body" (steak) or even the "Dead Forest" (salad).
6. Moomin Bakery and Cafe
You may have heard of the Moomins, a family of fictional characters originally found in a Finnish comic strip for kids. These adorable hippo-like creatures now have their own restaurant in Japan and South Korea.
The Moomin Cafe and Bakery promotes togetherness—whether you come alone or with friends, a Moomin character will keep you company. The staff will seat a Moomin plush doll in a seat next to you as you eat. While it may seem childish, it has definitely made an impact on lonely customers.
In addition, the menu features delicious European specialties that you can eat in a quaint, welcoming environment.
5. The Lockup
Horror and escape room fans will love The Lockup, a creepy, prison-themed restaurant. The staff will lead you to a prison cell, where you'll spend your dinner drinking cocktails from test tubes and eating eyeball-covered food.
At a few points during your meal, you might notice the lights go out. Prepare yourself for a scare—the staff will dash around the restaurant, trying to frighten the "prisoners" in each cell.
4. Gundam Cafe
For any Gundam fan, visiting Japan's Gundam Cafe is a fantasy come true. A life-sized Gundam will greet you outside of the restaurant, making you feel small in comparison. Inside the futuristic cafe, you can chow down on mech-themed food and indulge on lattes decorated with characters from the Gundam series.
After you're done eating, you can head to the gift shop that's filled with plenty of collectibles and Gunpla models. The Gundam Cafe is also one of the only restaurants that makes a trip to the bathroom exciting: press the button on the bathroom wall and you'll suddenly get transported to the inside of a mech!
3. Hedgehog Cafe
Japan popularized cat cafes, which influenced even more cat cafes to open up around the world. However, cat cafes aren't the only animal-themed restaurant in Japan—it's also home to hedgehog cafes.
Who doesn't want to relax and pet hedgehogs? Here, you can hold and play with these adorable creatures. If you fall in love with one, you can even adopt it.
2. Ninja Akasaka
Have you ever wanted to feel like a star in a ninja movie? Once you enter Ninja Akasaka, you'll get the ninja experience that you've always dreamed of.
On your way to the ninja village, you'll venture through a dark, mazelike path that leads to your table. The entertainment doesn't stop there—your ninja waitstaff will have some cool tricks to show you while you eat your ninja-themed food.
1. Kawaii Monster Cafe
The Kawaii Monster Cafe aims to embody the colorful Harajuku culture in one restaurant. That's why the cafe is filled with neon colors, life-sized sculptures, and a wait staff that looks like they're from another dimension.
The food tastes and looks just as unique as its surroundings. Choose from a variety of kooky cocktails, and pair that with a wild entree like the rainbow spaghetti or chocolate chicken. How bizarre!
Experience Japan From Home
These creative cafes are just one of many reasons why everyone should visit Japan at least once in their life. Japan has such a unique atmosphere, you'll feel like you're in a different universe—and one of the best parts of visiting Japan is tasting their culinary culture.
But traveling to Japan may not be on your itinerary for quite some time, whether because the costs are prohibitive or because you want to stay safe at home. Fortunately, there is a way to experience a bit of Japan even in your pajamas...!
Bite Into Japan
TokyoTreat is our favorite Japanese snack box, with 15–20 full-size Japan-exclusive snacks and drinks in every box, delivered right to your door every month.