13 Japanese Themed Cafes That Seem Too Awesome to Be Real

Whether you're looking to dine with a reptile, an owl, or a stuffed animal, Japan's mind-boggling themed cafes have you covered.

Photos: Stuff.co.nz, Flickr/Guilhem Vellut

Photos: Kotaku, Stuff.co.nz, Flickr/Guilhem Vellut

Nearly every day, we’re reminded of how incredible Japan’s food culture is—from the quality of the high-end gastronomy, to the mind-blowing insanity of the fast food, it’s just non-stop hits in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Here’s another category where the Japanese have us beat: cafés. In this country, we walk around trying to decide if a caffeine jolt is really worth the soul-sucking awfulness of Caribou Coffee or Così. If only we were in Japan, we could be curing our eternal loneliness with trips to the Moomin Cafe, or sharing spaghetti with a slobbering Mastiff at a dog cafe.

Amazingly, those two very real examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a look at some of Japan’s most incredible themed cafes: 


Good for: Anyone who wants to be waited on hand and foot by cute girls in frilly French maid uniforms. Some offer services like family-friendly massages, but this is all in the name of fun—don’t go in with any tawdry ideas.
Still open?: This is probably one of the most well-known and long-standing themed cafe trends in Japan. Several still exist, including Cure Maid Cafe, which holds the distinction of being the first maid cafe.


Good for: Anyone who wants to be waited on hand and foot by pretty boys dressed as old-school butlers.
Still open?: Yes. There aren’t as many of these as there are maid cafes, but you can still hit up Butlers Cafe if you’re visiting Shibuya in Tokyo. Word to Geoffrey.


Good for: Goths who think they’re a Child of the Night. (Or anyone who just really likes black and red.)
Still open?: Yes. Yes it is.



Good for: Fans of Lewis Carroll and hallucinogens.
Still open?: It is. It’s brought to you by the same company as the vampire cafe, in fact.


Good for: Huge fans of Moomins, and solo diners who prefer the company of giant stuffed animals for meals.
Still open?: We were so excited when we found out about this place, we wrote it up immediately. Here’s the official website.


Good for: Folks who have always dreamed of breaking bread inside a church. Also, people who think an Instagram of Christianity-themed latte art will help them set their personal record for likes.
Still open?: Yes, it’s yet another cafe brought to you by the company behind the vampire cafe and the Alice in Wonderland cafe. Apparently, this company really needs to bring its game to Vegas.


Good for: #ForeverAlone types. Note that this isn’t a sex cafe; it’s for spooning and cuddling only.
Still open?: Hit up Soineya to get your snuggle on.


Good for: Cat people, or people who can’t have cats at home and need to live vicariously through the cat-hoarding of others.
Still open?: These are so popular, they’re everywhere now—not just Japan. But if you’re going to Japan anyway, RocketNews24 has put together a guide to the best cat cafes in Tokyo.


Good for: Carnivores who would prefer a rabbit to eat all their raw veggies for them.
Still open?: Yes—RAAGF, or Rabbit and Grow Fat, is the cafe featured in this video. We’re pretty sure it’s the rabbits who are getting fat, but don’t quote us on that.


Good for: Hanging out with dogs, and sometimes eating a meal with your dog.
Still open?: There are many canine canteens around the country, including Deco Dog Cafe.


Good for: Birdwatching. You might want to keep yourself and your food under umbrellas, unless you think a bird pooping in your coffee is good luck.
Still open?: Yep.


Good for: People who prefer their non-human meal companions to be cold-blooded.
Still open?: Indeed. As far as we know, the Yokohama Subtropical Teahouse is the only reptile cafe game in the land.


Good for: Diners who have always dreamed of eating and drinking with birds of prey.
Still open?: Yes. Owl Family in Osaka keeps an up-to-date blog with photos.


  • Chiying Li

    WOW, so interesting. I want to visit these restaurants when I go to Japan next time. In addition, I think themed restaurant is a good competitive strategy which can differentiate from other restaurants.

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