One of the funnest things about visiting Japan for anime fans has to be being able to visit stores dedicated to your favorite characters and series. But what about in between those shopping trips when you want to grab a bite to eat? How about you stop at a character themed cafe dedicated to those series you love so much!
What is a Character Cafe?
A Character Cafe, sometimes also called a popup cafe, is exactly what it sounds like! The entire cafe is typically themed after a whole series or a single or set of characters from a series. The menu consists of food items based off of the source material, sometimes even looking like characters! These cafes also often offer exclusive merchandise as many of them are time limited, often occurring around new releases or anniversaries, so make sure you check ahead of time if one you want to see is coming to town!
1. Kirby Cafe
The Kirby Cafe started as a limited time popup which is now home to stay in the Tokyo Skytree! This Cafe has a varied menu with everything from pizza to parfaits! Along with a variety of merchandise, an album containing the music played in the background of the cafe while you dine is also available for purchase.
2. Sanrio Cafe(s)
Sanrio characters are some of the icons of “kawaii culture”, so it’s no question they would get a cafe dedicated all to themselves! (among other things which you can read about here.) The actual Sanrio Cafe, which is dedicated to an assortment of the company’s large cast of characters, is actually one of the newest permanent ones themed after the whole collection! Cinnamoroll and PomPomPurin both have permanent cafes and just about all of the most popular characters have had a popup at some point or another. Crossover cafes are also popular, such as the Sanrio X Toilet Bound Hanako Kun Popup Cafe that ended in December 2020!
3. Peanuts Cafe
The Peanuts Crew is a little more well known outside of Japan but did you know that the rights to distribute Peanuts merchandise is actually owned by Sanrio? Just like Sanrio originals, Peanuts is very popular in Japan! (In no small part thanks to Snoopy the dog!) The Peanuts Cafe carries a selection of Peanuts themed foods and souvenirs, and one of the two locations in Tokyo is located right next door to the Snoopy Museum!
4. Moomin Cafe
The Moomin Cafe is another foreing character cafe that has taken over Japan! There’s actually three Moomin Cafes, two in Tokyo and one in Fukuoka and they sell everything from food to furniture!
5. Pokemon Cafe
Saving one of the best for last, the Pokemon Cafe has several locations, one of which is located in the Pokemon Center DX & Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo. It carries a wide selection of food and drinks. The standard ones are mainly themed after Pikachu and Eevee, but there are plenty of limited seasonal options for others! It also carries a lot of exclusive merchandise including chef and waiter themed pikachus! This particular cafe does require reservations so be sure to plan ahead!
For those of you looking for an experience that includes your favorite characters, look into visiting a character cafe! Not only will you be able to treat yourself to a delicious meal, it’ll be fun and exciting as well!