The Ultimate Guide to Manga Cafes in Japan
The Manga Cafe is a uniquely Japanese concept and ever-popular. Discover why with our full guide to Tokyo Manga Cafes.
It is no secret that finding somewhere to stay in Tokyo can be a drag. Hotels can often be expensive and hostels few and far between. Over the years, however, innovative solutions have been dreamt up by savvy Japanese businesspeople. Capsule hotels are one option, but what we want to focus on is the uniquely Japanese concept of the Manga Cafe (or Manga Kissa).
Manga Cafe’s are fun, cheap and could be a life saver. But what exactly are they? How would you go about trying one out? What are the best Manga Cafes in Tokyo? These questions and more answered below.
For more Tokyo accommodation options, see what else Compathy Magazine has to offer.
What is a Manga Cafe?
Manga, as we all know, are Japanese comic books, and Kissa comes from kissaten, which translates as “tea room”. Manga Kissa or a Manga Cafe is therefore by definition a place to read comic books and relax. Reading manga in a cafe has long been a popular Japanese pastime, it has now just been elevated to the next level. Manga Cafes are not much like our standard idea of a cafe, however, most offering guests private individual booths and the option to stay for between 30 minutes and all night long.
When you enter a Manga Cafe you’ll be asked how many hours you’d like to stay for, what kind of room you’d like (explained below) and for ID – you’ll then pay for your stay there and then before being led to your area.
The bargain prices offered at Manga Cafes and the comfort they provide has meant it is increasingly common for people to use them instead of hotels or, in some cases, as somewhere to live, albeit temporarily. If you find yourself stuck for somewhere to stay, a Manga Cafe could be your best bet.
There are generally four types of booth to choose from:
|1. A short stay booth with just a reclining chair.|
|2. A tatami-floored booth, good for overnight stays.|
|3. A booth with its own sofa, again, good for overnight stays.|
|4. A couple’s cabin, with enough room for two people.|
The height of the booths often means that they are not totally private, but discretion and privacy is a top priority in these places so it shouldn’t be an issue. Shoes are also forbidden within the booths but slippers are provided. Tall people could potentially find there isn’t quite enough room to lie down, but trying it diagonally should help.
Manga Cafe Facilities
Competition between Manga Cafes is so fierce that most now provide a brilliant array of facilities and amenities for their guests, including:
1. Thousands of manga in a well-stocked manga library (unfortunately, all in Japanese)
|2. Unlimited soft drinks and coffee (included in the price)|
|3. Instant food, mostly noodles and snacks (not included in the price)|
|4. Unlimited internet access|
|5. Clean toilets|
|1. Hot showers (usually rented per 30 minutes, stocked with shampoo, soap and razors)|
|3. A DVD library|
|4. Games consoles and a video game library|
Manga Cafe Prices
The different Manga Cafes have varying prices, which themselves vary according to the day of the week and the time. Below is a rough guide to the standard rates offered, but keep in mind these are in no way definitive.
|30 mins.||200 yen|
|1 hour.||400 yen|
|3 hours.||1,000 yen|
|5 hours.||1,400 yen|
|6 hours.||1,200 yen|
|8 hours.||1,500 yen|
|12 hours||2,000 yen|
Add 200-300 yen for weekend prices and note that you’ll likely be charged 100-150 yen for every 15 minutes you stay beyond your designated time.
Major Manga Cafes in Tokyo
Manga Cafes can be found throughout Tokyo, but are easiest to find in popular districts such as Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara. Below we’ve got a list of the city’s major Manga Cafe chains and where you can find them.
If you’re not in Tokyo, you still won’t be too far from a Manga Cafe. Look out for the billboards outside, consult Google or simply ask around to find your nearest one.
Gera Gera is a large Manga Cafe chain, with branches all over Japan. The company’s distinctive frog icon is easy to recognise and booths come with everything described above, are clean and the staff abundantly friendly.
Media Café Popeye
With almost 100 locations all over Japan, Media Café Popeye is another big name in the Manga Cafe game.
“Customer first” is the motto at Manboo, so you’re guaranteed some top-class service. This has even led some cafes to include nail salons for guests.
Shibuya: 12-3 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Nagomi Style Cafe AKIBA
The apex of all manga cafes. Designed with traditional Japanese flair, you’d just as easily think you were in a ryokan, were it not for the far from traditional facilities on offer and the reasonable prices. Contemporary pastimes meet traditional style here.
Want more from Tokyo? What to see, what to do, what to eat and all the vital info? Compathy Magazine has everything you need and more: