Think Japanese café and a few crazy images might spring to mind. The Far Eastern nation has, after all, become famous for its range of bizarre establishments, and the following places take the cake for all things weird and wonderful.
20. Kawaii Monster Café, Tokyo
First up, the Kawaii Monster Café. In this multi-colored den of mayhem you’re greeted by a psychedelic roundabout that resembles a cake. Need we say more?
19. Cure Maid Café, Tokyo
The Cure Maid Café opened its doors in Tokyo in 2001, but since then hundreds more have launched across Japan. The themed establishment allows patrons to indulge in a Victorian fantasy thanks to maids in traditional outfits, each of whom obediently follows orders.
18. Ninja Akasaka, Tokyo
This is what you get when you combine a weird café with another Japanese export – the ninja. It’s all cloak and dagger at Tokyo’s Ninja Akasaka, where shinobi-themed waiters lead diners to their seats through a mock castle, while others use their best sneaking skills to surprise customers with their orders.
17. Thunderbirds Café, Tokyo
Thunderbirds are go! The retro puppet TV show has – or rather had, for it’s since closed, unfortunately – been given a new lease of life in Japan. At this Thunderbirds-themed café in Tokyo you could watch episodes of the show on repeat and enjoy drinks and snacks in replicas of its iconic vehicles.
16. Reptile Café, Yokohama
Cuddling cats, yes. Stroking snakes, not so sure. But Yokohama’s Reptile Café allows you to do just that, with 20 or so reptiles on show there. Enjoy a snack surrounded by lizards, snakes and tortoises. With all that cold blood around, you might want to go for a hot tea, too.
15. Fukuro no Mise, Tokyo
They’re creepy and appear to stare into your soul, yet some people just can’t resist owls. So much so, in fact, that in Tokyo there’s a café by the name of Fukuro no Mise dedicated to the birds. Owls of all shapes and sizes sit on perches, with patrons able to mix among them. Visitors are even allowed to hold the larger specimens.
14. Eorzea Café, Tokyo
One for all the video-game geeks out there. This homage to Final Fantasy XIV is so on point that it serves themed food like a cured ham platter of Eorzea monsters. Patrons at Tokyo’s Eorzea Café sit in a replica of the Carline Canopy, a location in the game where characters could rest and relax.
13. Ra.a.g.f, Tokyo
Even the name of this Tokyo café, which stands for “rabbit and grow fat,” is totally bizarre. As well as selling tea – and presumably cake, if the establishment’s name is anything to go by – Ra.a.g.f offers some serious petting opportunities. There are, in fact, over 20 bunnies to snuggle up to.
12. Cat Café Nekorobi, Tokyo
Kind of a pay-per-view for cat lovers, Nekorobi is one of many cat-themed cafés in Japan. The rules at the Tokyo establishment are simple: you pay by the hour to relax in a room full of cats, with everything else – like drinks, TV, internet, games and laptops – included in the price.
11. Falconer’s Café, Mitaka
If owls don’t quite do it for you then Japan has another weird offering that might: Falconer’s Café in Mitaka. Bird-of-prey owners are welcome to bring along their feathered friends so that they can compare notes and swap tips and tricks.
10. Moomin House Café, Tokyo
It’s pretty lonely eating on your own. But in Japan they’ve found a solution: share your table with a stuffed toy. Single diners at Tokyo’s Moomin House Café are offered a huge Moomin – remember the strange TV show from the ’90s? – to join them at the table. Genius.
9. Gundam Café, Tokyo
Step into a real-life anime world at Tokyo’s Gundam Café. Based on the hugely popular anime TV series Mobile Suit Gundam, this strange eatery features waitresses dressed as the show’s female characters, a suitably themed menu and Gundam-inspired interior design.
8. Nap Café Corne, Tokyo
Sometimes city life is just too hectic. The cure? A nap, of course. This is exactly what the hard-working ladies of Tokyo can do at Nap Café Corne. For a modest fee, women choose their perfect pillows before catching 40 winks. As for men – well, unfortunately they’re not welcome.
7. Nuigurumi Café, Tokyo
Is it possible to love a stuffed animal too much? Yes. Yes it is. At this unbelievable café stuffed animals are the customers. That’s right. People pay for their cuddly toys to spend the night at Tokyo’s Nuigurumi Café, where they’re treated to delicious treats and fun activities. No joke.
6. Butlers Café, Tokyo
Where the men have maid cafés, the ladies have Tokyo’s Butlers Café. Located in the city’s trendy Shibuya district, the establishment has, since 2008, employed foreign waiters only. Perhaps this adds to the fantasy for the cosplay café’s discerning clientele.
5. Little TVG, Tokyo
Love trains but suffer from motion sickness? Fear not. In this crazy café you can pretend to be on a train, watch videos of trains and be served by waitresses dressed as train conductors. The drinks are named after railway lines, while the menu contains railway-themed specials. All aboard!
4. Vampire Café, Tokyo
A bite to eat takes on a completely different meaning at Tokyo’s ever-so-slightly terrifying Vampire Café. With creepy music, red velvet walls and aperitifs that look like cups of blood, this is a spooky – and slightly kinky, if the French maid-themed waitresses are anything to go by – place to stop for a snack.
3. Christon Café, Tokyo
You wouldn’t think a Christian-themed café would be an appropriate venue for night-long fetish parties, but this is exactly what happens at Tokyo’s Christon Café. In the day, meanwhile, patrons can sample the establishment’s Asian-European menu and be stared at by religious paraphernalia.
2. 8bit Café, Tokyo
A shrine to a bygone era of gaming, Tokyo’s 8bit Café is the place for all things retro. Whether you were a Sega, Nintendo or Atari fan, this establishment has it covered. The café is plastered in memorabilia, and naturally there are classic consoles on site for diners to enjoy.
1. Tokyo Snake Center, Tokyo
Not one for the faint hearted, the Tokyo Snake Center. For just $8 customers can enjoy a cup of coffee with a caged snake on their table. Pay a little extra and you can hold serpent while supping. Fortunately all 35 of the establishment’s snakes are non-venomous.