Pokémon is one of the most well-known and successful anime franchises that has come out of Japan. With a TV show airing for over twenty years, a multitude of video games on a variety of platforms, and an enormous amount of merchandise, those who don’t consider themselves fans have usually at least heard of the more iconic mascots such as Pikachu and Mew.
Fans of this great franchise were ecstatic at the beginning of 2018 to hear that a new permanent Pokémon café was opening! It finally opened its doors in March, though due to the enormous amount of bookings, I couldn’t get my own seat until June. Here is my experience visiting this themed café.
I thought it was unusual to have a themed café from such an enormous franchise as this in Nihonbashi, which is mostly a business district, rather than a more popular area such as Harajuku or Shinjuku. It took a while to arrive, but the large sign on the building was impossible to miss.
Even before entering the café, you are greeted with Pokémon themed walls because there is a Pokémon Center shop right next to it. It helps you get hyped up! The café is on the left as you walk in, with the shop on the right.
We arrived about ten minutes before the time we had booked and were let in quite quickly. The café was surprisingly spacious, and filled with things like signed pictures from the developers and hundreds of cute soft toys. Take away the café element, and you’d have a collector’s basement of Pokémon treasures.
There was also a huge amount of Pikachu chef toys, setting the theme for the café right as you walk in. They were extremely cute!
Upon sitting down, you turn over the paper mat, which has a random Pokémon on it. You get to keep that and take it home with you! We got Machamp and Charizard (called Kairiki and Lizardon in Japanese, respectively); the latter is considered one of the most iconic Pokémon out there, so it was a lucky win! I noticed it was only first-generation Pokémon that appeared on these mats. This probably appeals to people’s nostalgia factors, which I thought was very clever.
Food and Drink
All of the food and drink on the menu was Pokémon-themed, of course. There were lattes, smoothies, and parfait desserts, as well as main meals with various characters’ shapes and faces on them. We opted for the Eevee and Pikachu lattes for drinks, which had a cute shape of the character on top. There was an option to keep the mug for an extra 1,000 yen.
For food, I chose the Snorlax hamburger doria. It looked cute, but in all honesty, it didn’t taste good at all. After all, you go to a themed café for the décor and the unique experience, not for food quality.
My friend went for the Eevee teriyaki chicken burger and said it was decent!
Also on the menu for main meals are the Pikachu carbonara, Pikachu curry (mild or hot), and the Pikachu plate lunch, where you can also keep the dish for an extra fee. Sweets include a Jigglypuff cheesecake, an Eevee chocolate parfait, and a Lapras parfait, which looked amazing but were a hefty 1,180 yen each. There was also a variety of shakes and ice cream floats on offer, giving a decent variety of choices for hungry visitors.
To our surprise, later into our visit, a giant Pikachu suddenly came out to greet everybody! The children visiting the café were delighted to meet the cute Pokémon mascot, who waddled around the restaurant dancing and playing. It was a nice bonus to the day that got people excited and happy.
Towards the end, a staff member came over with an ipad with several Pikachus on it. Choose your favourite and you win a Pokémon coaster! We won Bulbasaur and Squirtle.
Tips for Visiting
If you decide to visit this brand new Pokémon Café, here are some tips.
- You must book in advance. Ideally, book on a weekday because weekends fill up quickly. NintendoSoup gives an easy to follow guide on booking a table.
- You can go alone or in a group of up to four people.
- Takeouts are not allowed.
- Smoking is not allowed.
- The menu is available in Japanese, Chinese, and English.
- Order from the iPad at your table.
- Guests can only stay for a maximum of 90 minutes per booking.
- Come with a budget of around 3,000 yen for food and drinks. Bring more if you’re planning to buy something from the Pokémon Center afterwards.