[Anime Culture Monday] Honey's Anime Hot Spot: Tokyo Ghoul Café Pop-up at The Guest Café and Diner Ikebukuro

Admittedly, when you think about Tokyo Ghoul, a cafe based on this anime and manga about eating humans might be the last thing you think would be a good idea. But on the flip-side, considering many of the leading characters work at a cafe right in the story, maybe it's a great idea! And well, it is a story about eating, even if that food might be human flesh... some of the characters are known for being gourmets or binge eaters. So actually, a cafe based on this hit anime and manga series - with a soon to release live-action film - makes perfect sense! Though perhaps not for the faint of heart because they were very true to the theme and atmosphere of the show, The Guest Cafe and Diner in Ikebukuro has taken full advantage of a limited time Tokyo Ghoul theme.

The Guest Cafe and Diner has a few locations in Japan, and each has limited pop-up themes that last for around a month or so each. The Ikebukuro location is quite a new one but has already been quite busy with past themes like Yowamushi Pedal and Kimi no Na wa. so far in 2017. And Tokyo Ghoul has been no different! With a running time from May 27th to June 28th, it's only here for a limited time. Getting in can be a bit of a struggle but we are here to tell you how to do it. And for those of you too far away to visit for yourself, here's an inside look into our trip to the Tokyo Ghoul cafe during opening week.

Spoiler alert - it was well worth our (nearly seven-hours) wait.

Tokyo Ghoul Café Info

Location
  • Access – Ikebukuro Parco Main Building 7F, 1-28-2 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo-to
  • Train Lines –
  • Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Tobu Tojo Line JR "Ikebukuro” Station
  • Subway Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line, Marunouchi "Ikebukuro” Station
Cost of Admission
  • Food/Drink Cost (one main dish or dessert per person)
Hours of Operation
  • Open 10 am – 10 pm (Food Last Order – 9 pm, Drink Last Order – 9:30 pm), May 27th, 2017 – June 28th, 2017
Official Website

The Experience

The food at the Tokyo Ghoul cafe was really well thought out and heavily themed. For food, we ordered the Kaneki Mask Curry, which was black rice surrounded by red sauce like Kaneki's mask and eye, and the Chocolate Coffee Bean French Toast, which was eaten in the manga (an edible scan is provided in case you forget which scene). As for drinks, we settled on the Cat Latte, a coffee featuring the art that Kaneki made for Hide when he was pretending it was from Touka, and a Black Sesame Banana Smoothie with an edible Kureo and a tiny briefcase to take some cool pictures. They also had items like hot dogs carved to look like fingers, cheesecake in the shape of eyeballs so you could re-enact a famous Tsukiyama's scene, a drink in the colours of Touka's kagune, and Hamburg steak in a bag exactly like the one Kaneki receives when he finally eats human flesh for the first time.

Well, we did warn you it wasn't for the faint of heart. But it's definitely a unique and fun experience! How brave are you in what you order?

One of the most hilarious things on the menu was the disgusting sandwich. It looks just like the one Kaneki tried to make himself eat when he was still clinging to humanity and not wanting to accept he was a Ghoul. The caption on the menu even read that if you could manage to eat the sandwich if meant you weren't a Ghoul. Luckily for us, the couple next to us dared to try it (you can only order it in addition to the rest of your order and not alone) and they said it was, indeed, very disgusting!

Some of the items on the menu come with a special addition. A couple of them come with a large picture card that you can use to make a background for your Twitter or Instagram picture of the food, featuring the scene in the manga it was taken from. Many of the items come with a small edible character in them made out of “monaka,” a kind of thin Japanese wafer. If you want the most Tokyo Ghoul experience though, be sure to order the Kaneki Mask Curry. When they bring your food, they also bring a replicate of Kaneki's iconic mask! You can take one picture of it on the table, and one picture wearing the mask (they'll ask you to wear a sanitary mask under it that they provide so don't worry about germs!). It's a really fun extra experience, especially for Kaneki fans.

In addition to good food and great memories, you can take home a few free souvenirs from the cafe. Everyone gets a free mini poster as a placemat when you sit down. We recommend rolling it up and saving it before your food comes and has a chance to soil it! You also get a free random sticker of manga art for each person, and some items (such as the black sesame banana smoothie we ordered) come with an extra sticker.

And in addition to taking some things home, you have a chance to leave a gift behind, too! Each person receives a little note that you can write or draw on to your heart's content and leave at the register when you pay. If your card is chosen, it will be displayed for a while on the outside wall of the cafe for everyone to see! A marker is conveniently provided at the table but if you want to take your art more seriously, bring your pens!


Additional info

The Guest Cafe and Diner is really easy to find despite Ikebukuro station being a bit intimidating for people not used to the area. It's conveniently located inside of Parco, which is part of JR Ikebukuro station. Just head off your train following the many orange signs for Parco, head up to the seventh floor, and you're greeted with the restaurant as soon as you exit the lift! No need to worry about getting lost in Ikebukuro, it's all right there attached to the station!

Because the restaurant regularly changes their theme, the small restaurant itself doesn't have any major themed decorations. However, it does feature several TVs playing scenes from the upcoming live action Tokyo Ghoul, as well as manga scans. Plus there is some manga artwork inside the restaurant and quite a lot around the outside that you can check out! Even if you can't get a seat at the cafe, there's also a small exclusive goods shop that is accessible to anyone just outside. It features everything from t-shirts to posters to can badges, and loads more, mostly featuring manga art of all your favourite Tokyo Ghoul characters. Also on display is a few costumes and props from the live action that you can see up close and personal whether you eat at the cafe or not.

But if you are interested in trying the cafe and all of its unique foods and drinks, there's very likely to be a long wait. The waiting system is actually quite convenient, however! Simply approach the monitor near the entrance and print out a numbered receipt. On the receipt, there will be a QR code to scan with your smartphone. Follow the link, agree to the terms and services (the website is in Japanese but very easy to navigate) and send a blank email when prompted to the provided email. This confirms your reservation!

When it's almost your turn to get a seat, you will get an email telling you to return to the cafe where you can wait in only one queue outside. You must order everything while waiting in the queue, so when you sit down your food and drinks will start arriving very quickly! Good thing because the tables have a 90-minute cap on them. Be warned that you need to make your COMPLETE order while in the queue as you can't add anything later, and everyone in your party must order at least one main dish or dessert.

Our advice? Come early and get a number as fast as you can. By late afternoon the cafe was already out of reservations for the rest of the day, and nothing would be worse than travelling to Ikebukuro and not being able to get a table at this limited cafe! Or try your luck on a less popular weekday afternoon when everyone else is working or at school.


Final Thoughts

So if watching an anime about eating people makes you hungry - or well, just if you're a fan of Tokyo Ghoul in any way! - the Tokyo Ghoul pop-up cafe at The Guest Cafe and Diner in Ikebukuro is a great experience. It has some really themed, well thought out foods and dishes that taste pretty good too, exclusive gifts and goods, and a few cool things on display to see as well. Whether you like the anime, the manga, or are interested in the upcoming live action film, there's more than enough to keep you interested. It's only there until June 28th though so if you get the chance, head over fast! For everyone outside of Japan, we hope you have enjoyed having an inside look at the cafe all the same.

Have you been to the Tokyo Ghoul cafe or are you planning to go? What would you order if you were going? How was the food if you went? Do you have any questions about how to get in? We are here to talk if you drop us a comment below!

Jet Nebula

Writer

Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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