Take a seat at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, meet Chef Pikachu, or snack like a ninja — you can do it all at these Tokyo themed restaurants. Sometimes food can be fun, and in Tokyo, it can also be terrifying, magical, beautiful, or disgusting, too. Experience some unusual meals at Tokyo’s best themed cafés and restaurants.

First, some tips: As expected, at a theme restaurant, you’re not only paying for the food, you’re also paying for the experience. As a result, prices are more expensive than a regular restaurant. And there’s almost always a seating charge (of about ¥500, but rarely more). The food is usually pretty average, izakaya-style fare. It’s often best to go for snacks and drinks rather than a full meal. Desserts can also be some of the most fun and more affordable options.

Be aware that some of these spots are quite tight on photography, so remember to ask permission first. If you’re looking for the cute and cuddly animal cafés — check our alternatives here.

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Character-themed cafés and restaurants

Pokémon Café Tokyo

Okay trainers, this first one is for you: the world’s first Pokémon Café. (It’s no longer the only one, since another opened in Osaka).

Décor wise, it looks more like an ordinary café – save for the Pokemon centerpieces at the long, communal table (there are also tables and chairs that seat two to four). It’s with the food and presentation that the Pokemon Café excels. Well, the food is not amazing but it is not bad either, and the presentation is very adorable. (An omelet shaped like Pikachu? Extremely cute). There are also special mugs and plates that you can purchase, plus limited edition goods like a Chef Pikachu plushy.

This is important: reservations are absolutely essential, and not always easy to come by. Each booking is for a 90-minute seating, during which — if you’re lucky — there will be a surprise visitor.

Moomin Bakery and Cafe

Update: The Moomin cafes at Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Skytree closed at the end of 2022. A new Moomin Cafe will open in Shibuya in 2023. In the meantime, there’s the Moomin theme park in Saitama.

Moomin Cafe
Photo by istock.com/kerkpun

If you’re a lone diner and want some company, head to the Moomin Cafe for cute desserts and some white, fluffy company. What was once seen as an anti-loneliness measure for customers who felt self-conscious enjoying their meal alone, is now a main attraction. The cafe has huge Moomin characters to sit opposite you while you dine. With the classics like Moomin Papa and unlikely favorites like Little Mi, you know you’ll have a friend for half an hour at least.

The food is quite typical, featuring salad plates and traditional Scandinavian breads. But the theme comes more into play in the desserts, with cute limited-edition cups coming as part of some sets, and additions like themed biscuits, jellies, and chocolates.

Pom Pom Purin, Harajuku

Whether you know Pom Pom Purin or not, this café is a very cute spot. It is up on the second floor of Harajuku’s Takeshita Street and filled with adorable desserts and drinks. Sanrio’s Pom Pom Purin is a golden retriever who wears a brown beret and the end of his name means pudding, meaning he lends himself well to a delicious dessert.

The interior is filled with large merry-looking characters, his theme colors of yellow and brown along with stylized chairs and decorations.

The menu is all familiar dishes but with a Purin-twist, be it a sleeping rice Pom Pom beneath a souffle omelette blanket in your curry or a smiling face atop your parfait. Mains start from ¥1,300, while desserts range from ¥700 for a custard pudding (his favorite) to ¥1,500 for waffles and seasonal specials.

There are souvenir mugs and puddings available to take home if you need a slice of Pom Pom Purin in your daily life.

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Alice in Wonderland, Shinjuku  & Ikebukuro

Alice Cafe
Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

Tokyo has a couple of different Alice-themed cafés, owned by the same company and adhering to slightly different themes. While the Shibuya and Ginza sites have closed, they still have restaurants in Shinjuku (Alice in Fantasy Book) and Ikebukuro (Alice in the Old Castle) — both with elaborate decorations and centerpieces like hanging heart chandeliers and wall murals. There’s also a restaurant in Osaka called Alice in Fantasy Land, in case you’re in that part of the country.

The food is quite elaborate and it suits an afternoon tea more than a substantial meal (desserts are always more fun anyway). Cheshire Cat parfaits, cute puddings, and a layered Mad Hatter cake — you’ll have plenty to choose from. The afternoon tea set is ¥2,500 and includes unlimited tea and coffee until closing, so you can relax and catch up.

This is one of the priciest of the themed cafés though. We often judge by the price of fries, and here they are ¥760 which is up there, but fish and chips is only ¥110 more so who knows. This is definitely a cute catch-up spot, but don’t go too hungry as you might end up spending more than you planned.

Other themed cafés and restaurants

The Vampire Cafe, Ginza

Photo by istock.com/mattjeacock

Perfect for those who love a meal with bite, the Vampire Cafe is a sinister spot for lunch in the glitzy shopping area of Ginza. Decked out in red velvet and chandeliers, the classic Dracula look is here in full swing, with a few different areas to choose from, inclding curtained-off “couples tables” and larger options for groups.

Menus are filled with haunting options and since presentation is key, there are pictures too, so you can order something suitably-themed. There are flaming plates, glowing cocktails, and symbols of the occult — all completed with hefty dashes of fake blood and swathes of cobwebs. As usual, portions are a tad small but let’s not pretend we’re here for a healthy and filling meal. There are set courses available starting from ¥3,850 per person, which is a good option if you’re in a group and want a deathly banquet served up by vampiric staff. The restaurant has a seating charge of ¥500 per person, so keep that in mind if you’re on a budget.

Rokunen Yonkumi, Shinjuku

If you want to relive your old school days or want to take a step back into the daily life of one of your favorite manga character’s, this school-themed izakaya is for you. It’s designed to look like the average elementary school classroom, and comes pretty close.

The staff are dressed as teachers and the main room is a large classroom, complete with tiny tables, blackboards toys, and drawings. One of the highlights is getting to fill your basket with unlimited sweets — whether they fill you with nostalgia or are a chance to experiment, it’s fun to try a good few before your food arrives.

The menu options are classics, like kyū-shoku, the Japanese school dinners of youth: think curry rice, “after-club-activities rice croquette” and “athletic club onigiri.” There is normal izakaya fare too though. The drinks are pretty fun, with popping-candy colas and science-set flavoring kits to play with.

There is a menu rule that each customer must order a drink and two food plates, but prices are low as far as themed places go so it isn’t bad. There is a ¥500 seating charge, which makes sense given the unlimited sweets part. And remember to study for your pop quiz!

Read the full article here

Ninja Akasaka

Ninja Restaurant
Photo by istock.com/DiamondDogs

Ninja by name, ninja by nature — this restaurant is hard to spot unless you know where to look, with a low-key black front and small sign. Once you’re in, you’ll be guided through secret passages and trap doors to reach the secret village within.

The inside of the restaurant is indeed like a small village, with stone huts and hanging moss, waterfalls and five small ponds. If you throw any change into the waterfall, it will be donated to Hiseda Shrine and should bring you good luck. For customers who spend over a certain amount, a magic performance is included.

The food here is a little more up-market, with between between six and eleven courses, ranging from ¥8,000 to ¥18,000, with seasonal dishes and ninja touches like shuriken (throwing star) grissini and stone-boiled soup. The à la carte menu is no longer available and there is no weekday lunch option, so it’s a special-occasion type deal.

The Ninja restaurant abolished its service fee which makes for a nice change, but this is because it is a proper restaurant rather than an izakaya, so you can’t really just pop in for a drink. Interestingly, they do a vegetarian course menu for ¥8,000 and a pork-and-alcohol-free course upon request.

8-bit Cafe, Shinjuku

tokyo themed restaurants
Photo by Adrienne Mah

If you like things retro, then step inside this game lover’s paradise for an afternoon of drinks, Tetris, Mario, and more. The café/bar is small and tucked away beneath a sex shop, but at least the sign makes for a good conversation starter. Inside you’ll find all the consoles you remember from childhood and plenty you don’t. And best of all they will be in perfect working order.

Take a seat on the gaming thrones, have a go on a Game Boy Color while you wait for your drinks and admire the incredible collection of relics and models from times gone by. There are two-player games and all the favorites like Mario Kart, so it’s great for a date or friends, especially if you have a competitive relationship. It’s not a cave if that’s what you’re imagining, it’s actually a bright and colorful room with enough space to relax.

The café hosts are super friendly and they have delicious homemade lemonade. The food and drinks are not themed, but the room will be plenty enough to keep you happy.

Little TGV, Akihabara

A railroad theme crossed with a maid café, this cute/mildy-creepy restaurant has even created its own fictional train company called the New Akihabara Electric Railway. The café is small but has original train seats and decorations, with old-fashioned signs, clocks, train-line signs, and even tickets which are stamped when you are served.

Drinks are themed around the colors of Tokyo’s trains, so there’s Cassis orange for the Ginza Line for example. The food is creatively shaped, with Shinkansen rice balls and train-like egg sushi.

They have a minimum spend per customer of ¥450, and the menu also features plenty of regular izakaya food ranging from ¥400 to ¥850. This is a smaller and independent theme café, meaning you’ll be mingling with regulars and locals too.

Hananomai Ryōgoku, Ryōgoku

Located in Ryōgoku, the heart of sumo in Tokyo, this restaurant seats you alongside a sumo ring and serves up the protein-heavy dishes traditionally served to wrestlers. The dohyo is perfect for performances of traditional sumo songs, drummers, a sumo stand-up and, of course, the occasional sumo match.

As well as being sumo-themed, the restaurant focuses on the Edo period, which was the height of the Sumo age. You’ll be seated among sliding screens and Edo-style storefronts with woodblock prints, while sumo wrestlers make the rounds and greet guests.

There are all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink options, but these do need to be reserved ahead of time (aside from one “on the day” option). The most appropriate dish to try is the chanko nabe — a protein-filled hotpot served to wrestlers to maintain their energy and weight. Chanko pots range from ¥900 per person to around ¥2,800. There is also a regular izakaya menu to choose from too, with grilled meat, sushi, and sides. The courses are actually pretty decent, with an all-you-can drink and course combinations costing just ¥3,500 and coming with seven courses. Also, as always, keep in mind that lunch prices are cheaper but menu options are limited.

Lastly, be sure to check the calendar for the days with performances scheduled, with bonus options of drumming and shamisen (traditional stringed instrument) performances on certain days.

Pop-up cafés and restaurants

The Oh My Cafe has many Disney-themed limited-time events. | Photo by Alex Ziminski

Anime, movie, and TV trends tend to die out fast, so certain cafés in Tokyo have come up with a brilliant business model — hosting limited-edition restaurants that won’t outstay their welcome. They have themed menus and dishes and sell plenty of merchandise. Some past examples include the Chainsaw Man and Stranger Things.

These collaborations can sometimes happen with already established café chains (see the Stranger Things pop-up collab with Pronto). But some venues are known for hosting them. If you are looking at catching the latest pop-up cafés while in Tokyo, make sure to check out our events page or take a gander at these venues:

  • Animate Cafe holds month-long anime collaborations and has several locations in Ikebukuro, from takeaway to eat-in.
  • Oh My Cafe in Tokyu Plaza Omotesandō has a love for Disney collaborations and have had Peter Pan, Star Wars, and Toy Story events in the past.
  • Box cafe&space in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and many other places in Tokyo host anime, idol, and other themed events.

While we do out best to make sure all details are correct, they are subject to change, so please check before visiting. Ths article was originally written in 2018 and was most recently updated in May 2022.

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