Tokyo Maid Cafe – The Ultimate Kawaii Experience
The Maid Cafe experience is one unique to Japan. Prepare for your visit with our full rundown of Tokyo Maid Cafes.
What draws many tourists to Japan is its culture; a culture that is seen as weird, wacky and fun. There is another word often used to describe it, a word that has even seeped into the English vocabulary: kawaii. Kawaii equals cute, and from the moment you step off the plane you’ll start to realise that cute is the name of the game in Japan. From food and drink, advertising and fashion to government posters – it’s all kawaii.
The apex of this kawaii culture is the Japanese Maid Cafe. Read on for a full guide to these Maid Cafes, including all the basic information and even some top Tokyo Maid Cafe recommendations.
The Maid Cafe Concept
The basic concept of the Maid Cafe is that you, the customer, are the ‘master’ or ‘mistress’ and the staff are your maids. These maids do food and drink serving like in a regular cafe, but in a very different way. Originally intended for otaku, they are now generally popular, especially with tourists after a uniquely Japanese experience.
Foreigners can often find their initial experience at a Maid Cafe highly embarassing. Welcomed by a chorus of maids exclaiming “Okaerinasaimase goshujinsama!” (lit. “welcome home master!”) in full view of the whole cafe, which inevitably leads everyone to turn their head to see the new arrivals.
Once seated, a maid will talk you through the menu in very polite Japanese. Order your food and anticipate its arrival, but prepare yourself for the song and dance that accompanies it. The singing is designed to infuse the food with the power of love and make it even more tasty! If you need to get the attention of a maid, be warned, instead of the usual “sumimasen“, you’re going to have to use the typically kawaii expression “nyu nyu“.
Once full up and suitably entertained you’ll be invited to take some snaps with the maids. Of course, there will be a dressing up box for you to rummage around in and beautify yourself. Your polaroid will even be personalised with a message from your favourite maid. Note that during busy periods your time inside the cafe can be restricted to around two hours, so if you don’t want to upset the maids, keep an eye on the time.
Maid Cafe Food and Drink
Drinks: Like any other cafe, a wide range of drinks are available. A Maid Cafe speciality, however, is a mixed fruit juice cocktail. To prepare these drinks a maid will appear with a shaker and say the magic words “furi-furi-shaka-shaka” to infuse the drink with love.
Food: Dishes from a salad to a steak are available. What makes the food stand out is its kawaii-ification: Expect cute faces and plenty of love.
Dessert: Desserts are a popular choice in Japan, especially in Maid Cafes. If the environment wasn’t sweet enough, the desserts really tip it over the edge.
Maid Cafe Games and Shows
Also take the chance to play some games with the maids. Usually something basic like rock-paper-scissors or a board game, but an interesting experience all the same. Shows are also put on within the cafes, usually taking place on a stage of some sort. Maids will sing and dance, and will even dedicate a song to you if you ask them nicely.
Maid Cafe Prices
Entry Fees: Vary depending on the time and the day. During off-peak hours on a weekday, for example, a cafe may charge around 500 yen, whilst on a weekend at a busy hour charges may rise to around 1,000 yen for a limited amount of time inside the cafe.
Menu Sets: Sets, including food, drink and dessert start at around 2,000 yen but can rise to much more than this. Ultimate sets, including unlimited food, drink and time with the maids may set you back around 7,000 yen.
Maid Cafe Rules
To combat disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour, Maid Cafes ask guests to abide by some basic rules:
– Never touch a maid.
– Never ask for maid’s phone number or email address.
– Never hang around a cafe to wait for a maid.
– Never ask a maid what time she finishes work.
– Unauthorised pictures of maids are forbidden.
– No smoking.
Top 5 Maid Cafes in Tokyo
We’ve picked out the five best Maid Cafes in Tokyo to help you on your way. You may notice that all our choices can be found in the Akihabara district, the home of otaku culture and where the first Maid Cafe was born 15 years ago.
1. @home cafe (Don Quijote)
3. Cure Maid Café
Opened in 2001, Cure Maid Cafe is reckoned to be the oldest Maid Cafe in the country. The atmosphere is very different in here to many of the other cafes, the maids are much calmer and you won’t be getting called master. The menu changes with the season and there are weekly specials. A more subdued but still very special affair.
Hours : Monday-Thursday – 11:00-20:00, Friday-Saturday – 11:00-22:00, Sunday – 11:00-19:00
Now in its 10th year, Pinafore is now one of the top Maid Cafés in Akihabara. Wearing pink and black outfits, the Maids will welcome you with lots of smiles and energy. Special live events are held twice monthly and should not be missed.
Hours: Monday-Thursday – 11:00-23:00, Friday-Saturday – 11:00-05:00, Sunday – 11:00-22:00
5. JAM Akihabara
Probably the most relaxing Maid Cafe in Akihabara. There is no entrance fee, no obligation to order a drink every hour and good vibes. More of a regular cafe with added kawaii-ness for good measure than a full on Maid Cafe.
Hours: Monday-Sunday – 11:00-23:00, except Fridays – 11:00-05:00
Website: JAM Akihabara
More Maid Cafes
For all you ninja fans out there. You will be welcomed by maids dressed as ninjas and the whole place is decked out like the Japan of the past.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday – 15:00-22:00
Opened this year, the unique selling point here is, bizarrely, the staff all being plus sized. The food is great, all fresh and organic.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday – 12:00-22:30
Address: 外神田3-1-15 Chiyoda-ku
Danso Café Queen Dolce
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