Japan - the home of Pokémon, and themed cafes. It’s a surprise that it took as long as it did for a Pokémon Cafe to open, but it’s here now, and well worth the wait! With themed foods, drinks, desserts, free gifts, exclusive merchandise, and the chance to meet Pikachu in person (more on that later), the Pokémon Cafe in Nihombashi, Tokyo has something for every Pokémon fan. Do you only like the original 150 Pokémon? There’s something for you. Are you ready for the newest, latest stuff in the franchise? Something for you, too. Do you like something in the middle? That’s right; there’s something for every Pokémon fan to enjoy.
We had the chance to head to the Pokémon Cafe again this past October and could check out the regular items as well as a few Halloween ones. We are here to tell you all about our experience, what you expect if you go, and how to make the most of a trip to the Pokémon Cafe. Keep reading to hear all about it! Though keep in mind that depending on when you visit the Pokémon Cafe yourself, the specific foods and merchandise in this article may not be available; but they’ll have been replaced with something similar and equally as cool.
Pokémon Cafe Info
|Location|| Access – Tokyo, Chūō, Nihonbashi, 2 Chome−11−2 Takashimaya S.C. 5F|
Train Lines – Tozai Line, Asakusa Line, Ginza Line Tokyo Metro "Nihombashi” Station 5-mins. from Exit B5
|Cost of Admission|| Type – Cost of food and drink (everyone must order something)|
Where to Buy Tickets - https://reserve.Pokémon-cafe.jp/
|Hours of Operation|
First and foremost, one of the key parts of the Pokémon Cafe is the food and drink. The menu changes a few times a year but always features a limited, seasonal dish, a few other main entrees, desserts, and a variety of drinks. We ordered the limited Halloween plate, which was loaded with a lot of popular Japanese comfort foods. There was spaghetti, hamburger steak, fried shrimp, and omelette rice inside of a Pikachu face wearing an edible witch hat.
We also got Smeargle’s painter’s pancakes. This came with three pancakes, some sauces, and small dishes with toppings presented on a plate-shaped like a palette and with a chocolate pen. The pancakes also came with a suggestion guide for Pokémon you could create with the available “tools.” We did our best to make a Pichu as suggested. Very kindly, due to an allergy in our party, the staff were quite accommodating about adjusting the dish for us; all we had to do was talk to the staff. It’s good to know that they will do their best to help with dietary restrictions as the menu is not specific about ingredients used in each dish.
As for drinks, we tried three very different ones. First was MooMoo Milk, which is always available on the menu. It’s a drink that you mix yourself with the help of a friendly staff member and involves milk, chocolate sauce, and chocolate powder that you can shake together and pour into a glass to enjoy. Next, we got Gengar’s grape smoothie, a very strong grape-flavoured drink with a red light inside to add to its presentation. The glass it came in was also available for purchase! Finally, we got a Pokémon latte. What made it special was we could choose any Pokémon from the first two generations as our latte art, and it came in a cool Pokeball mug.
As with most concept cafes, the Pokémon Cafe had some free gifts. First, everyone could keep their placemat from the table (Halloween themed for us). The staff was happy to roll it up for us to keep it from getting dirty while we ate. Each drink also came with a free random coaster. We could choose between this year’s Halloween design, or picking a Pikachu image from an iPad that would result in a random Pokémon coaster. In addition to the free gifts, with our reservation, we could get some exclusive merchandise available only online with cafe reservations. It was waiting at our table when we sat down.
Finally, the Pokémon Cafe had one more special experience left for us. Near the end of our meal, one of the staff made an announcement that Pikachu would be joining us! Sure enough, a few minutes later a huge mascot Pikachu came waddling out dressed in the same uniform as the servers. She proceeded to dance for everyone, and encouraged guests to guess if she was a male or female based on the shape of her tail. Before leaving, she also gave everyone a high five. While it wasn’t possible to take individual pictures with her, we could take plenty of photos and videos of her performances. It was something really special to get to see, and a definite highlight of going to the Pokémon Cafe.
The Pokémon Cafe is one of only a few permanent concept cafes in Tokyo; most other themed cafes change their theme regularly. The Pokémon Cafe, on the other hand, just updated their menu with new items and sells new merchandise. This means that the venue itself can be over the top with its decorations and interior design because the theme will always be Pokémon! The cafe is huge with plenty of tables and feels very spacious and open. There’s a huge Pokeball light fixture on the ceiling, Pokeball shrubberies, two big Pikachu dolls to take a picture with, a giant sleeping Snorlax plush and more! The centre of the cafe also has a line of glass cases that showcase seasonal merchandise available for sale in the attached Pokémon Centre DX (it was October when we went so all this merchandise was Halloween themed).
One of the most intimidating and potentially difficult things about the Pokémon Cafe, though, is scoring a reservation to go at all. While there is a space for waiting to see if there is an extra table in each designated seating time, the chances of getting in on weekends or evenings are slim. If you’re planning to go to one of these busy periods, we highly recommend making an online reservation as far in advance as possible. As an example, we made our reservation two months in advance for a Sunday table. Of course, you can always take your chances, but you may be disappointed.
Meanwhile, ordering food and drinks at the Pokémon Cafe is quite simple. Everything is available on an iPad at each table, and the language can be switched between Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese to help make things easier for overseas visitors. Simply touch the items that you want, decide if you want to include the souvenir plates or cups available with some, and send off your order! If you’re nervous about having to speak Japanese with the cafe staff, you don’t have to worry about it as there is very little human interaction necessary.
In addition to the Pokémon Cafe itself, there is a massive Pokémon store just outside called Pokémon Centre DX Tokyo. The cafe and shop share a lobby with a huge Snorlax, Mew, and Pikachu statue featuring the date and time that you can snap a picture with. Pokémon Centre DX Tokyo is the largest Pokémon store in Japan to date, with an insane amount of merchandise. With walls of plush toys, clothes, action figures, phone accessories, interior goods, and even themed food, there’s something for everyone and every budget. There’s also a memory wall with screenshots from nearly every Pokémon game telling the history of the Pokémon franchise, as well as a display of every Pikachu card that has ever been released. Even if you can’t get a reservation at the cafe, the store is worth visiting on its own.
Theme cafes in Tokyo are always a fun experience, and the Pokémon Cafe takes it to the next level. With food and drinks that are genuinely good, a great atmosphere, changing exclusive merchandise, and free gifts, the Pokémon Cafe is a full experience for fans. And worth going back to more than once! It’s a bit on the expensive side, sure, but well worth the price. They say you get what you pay for, and with the Pokémon Cafe, that’s very true. If you’re a Pokémon fan and in Tokyo for any length of time, it really shouldn’t be missed! Just don’t forget to book in advance to avoid the potential heartbreak of not being able to get a table - despite being open a couple of years now, the cafe remains incredibly popular.
Have you been to the Pokémon Cafe before? How was your experience? Would you like to go now? What part of it excites you the most? Are you already planning a trip? Hit us with your questions and comments about the Pokémon Cafe, we would love to hear them!