Maid Cafes and what’s so interesting about them?
If you are a hardcore Anime fan, a Maid Cafe needs to be on your checklist of things to do when you visit Japan! Considered to be a heavenly and safe space for Otakus and their inner desires, Maid Cafes (メイドカフェ or メイド喫茶 in Japanese) are small restaurants with waitresses dressed in maid outfits serving food and drinks.
But what makes it even more interesting is the interactions and activities with the maids. With interesting chants such as “Moe Moe Kyun” which translates somewhat to ‘cuteness overload’ and live performances which include singing and dancing. You will never find such an experience elsewhere and whether you like it or not it’s really a once in a lifetime experience.
Are Maid Cafes worth visiting?
Honestly, there is no exact answer to this question as it all comes down to personal preference. A quick google search will show you many articles that talk about how wonderful these establishments are with cute maids and them welcoming you as their Master or Mistress. So, we will do the opposite by looking at the opposite! The negatives.
If you are still deciding if you want to visit a Maid Cafe these are some of the points that you need to be considering:
- These Cafes are often expensive.
- Some outlets make the whole experience very cringy.
- Most of the maids don’t speak English which might affect the whole experience.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a bizarre experience or a small taste of the ‘moe’ culture (A culture that shows affections to Anime girl characters) this is the place for you.
So, let’s dive into the details!
Everything you do will cost money
When I say everything, I mean it. You will be charged a cover charge of approximately 500 yen per hour in most outlets with some even charging a membership fee if it is your first time.
In the cafe, a non-alcoholic drink will cost around 600 yen while an alcoholic one costs around 1000 yen. If you are planning to dine, a meal costs around 1000 – 2o00 yen with the portion sometimes being way too tiny for my liking (by the way, the food taste fine). I guess the justification for these sightly inflated prices is that it usually comes with a short show by the maids to “magically” make the food tastier. Some shops also have services, where the maid draws your favourite animals or anime characters on your Omurice (Omelette rice) using ketchup, which is a nice touch.
Taking photos with them (do not take photos with the maids without permission) also comes with a cost of around 700 yen and if you would like them to perform on the main stage, you will have to pay up for that too (sometimes the performance is included if you order a set meal which costs approximately 3000 yen).
Overall, if you are looking for a decent meal in one of these cafes you are expected to fork up around 3500 yen. At that price, you could get a nice lunch at a good restaurant!
If you are still firm on the idea of heading down to one, but on a tight budget, I would recommend going to Honey Honey in Akihabara, Tokyo. The shop doesn’t have a cover charge and you would be able to find a meal below 1000 yen!
Honey Honey – Isamiya Dai Hachi Building 2f, 3 Chome-7-12, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
In this restaurant, we are all actually cats (Cringeworthy moments)
Some of the popular maid cafes follow a certain setting or script. The shop that I had visited had maids with cat ears. After being seated they shared with me their secret that they were cats and the magic of the shop allows them to temporarily take human form. (Yup, that is probably the weirdest thing you will hear all week)
They also have a special ritual which turns you, the guests, into a cat!!! Which sounds cool, before you realize it’s just you closing your eyes and receiving a pair of cat ears. On multiple occasions, you will have to play along with the waitress. Mine made me do uncomfortable actions such as making hearts with my hands and weird noises which were honestly very cringy. As I was not acclimatized to Japanese pop culture, I was not really in the mood to join in the action.
Considering that the majority of their client base accepts these types of role-playing concepts, it might be hard or slightly uncomfortable for foreigners to play along. But if you are all about trying new things and don’t mind putting your dignity aside (we’ll it kind of felt that way to me), my recommendation will be to head down to Cure Maid cafe.
Believed to be the very first maid cafe in Japan, you are sure to get an authentic maid cafe experience! The shop is loved by the fan base as they usually have collaborations with popular Anime.
Cure Maid Cafe -6/F Gee Store Akiba, Sotokanda 3-15-5, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
One thing you might have realized, after making it this far into the article is that both of the cafes I have recommended don’t have an English website. With the main target of these types of cafes being Japanese men, you can’t blame them. Most waitresses in these establishments do not speak English so this might lead to some issues.
The obvious one is that you might not get the full experience as you might not understand what they are saying. Although, most of the interactions include overly extensive body gestures it is just not the same as fully understanding them.
To make matters worse, I have even heard cases where the waitresses avoid your table as they are afraid of serving foreigners which beats the whole purpose of coming to these cafes.
Although this trend has been improving in recent years due to the increasing demand from foreign tourists, you might want to find a cafe that is foreigner-friendly. Which leads to my last recommendation!
Sugoi Kawaii Maid Cafe is a maid cafe which focuses on hiring foreign waitresses and is probably your best bet when it comes to English Speaking maids. This at-home cafe focuses on providing an experience where guests can interact with foreigner maids hence their whole team are foreigners. Making it one of the best options for a maid cafe, foreigners can enjoy!
Sugoi Kawaii Maid Cafe – 1/3Residence V 8F, 4-6-10, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1 01-0021
Still can`t decide?
So, after reading this list would you still be interested in visiting a maid cafe in Tokyo? If you are and still can’t make up your mind you might want to make a visit to Akihabara which is the hub for all things Otaku! You will be able to find all sorts of maid cafes in Akihabara with my recommendations located in the area too! For those headed over enjoy being pampered as a master or mistress!
Share with us your experiences with maid cafes and if you think it is worth a visit during your trip to Japan! For more articles follow us at Expat Japan Life! You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for blog updates and information about living in Tokyo!