Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi

Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi ()

In the anime otaku geek world, the legendary “maid café” is a dream for those visiting Japan for the first time. The maid café is well known in the anime world as a popular dining facility in different genres of anime and manga. Ranging from action and adventure to simple slices of life, they are a popular mention in many series.

During my visit to Akihabara, the center of all things anime and maid café, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity. I assumed there would be numerous maids in cosplay calling out to potential patrons on the sidewalks like I’d seen in articles and YouTube videos, but many cafés don’t open until afternoon.

As Akihabara slowly came to life with crowds of office workers, regular tourists and cosplayers dressed in their favorite anime costumes, so did a few of the live advertisements for the maid cafés. My friend and I decided to go into Maidreamin, a chain maid café with various locations around Japan.

This was my first time in a maid café and as we sat down, I did not expect it to be as awkward as it was. If you’re thinking of visiting, prepare to spend quite a bit of yen just to sit and eat there. And, to those who can do Super Trooper movie meows, you’ll fit right in.

First of all, the café charged a seat fee of 880 yen ($5.85) per adult. This seemed a bit pricey to me. The seating area seemed cramped and small, so you might have to wait a bit on weekends if there’s a crowd.

The staff was also very strict on photos and videos, which is standard at all maid cafes. So, basically you can’t take any, unless you pay for it (keep reading).

Once seated, our maid brought a menu which had “deals” that did not feel like deals. For instance, the Kawaii Food combo including omurice, curry with a bear-shaped rice ball, goes for 3,300 yen. Another option was a whopping 2,970 yen for an animal-themed ice cream parfait. The most expensive combo on the menu was the Perfect Combo for 4,180 yen that included a souvenir picture with a maid, which is taken on your own phone, and a choice of a kawaii meal or dessert. With those prices, we decided to pay the one-hour fee, sip on water and take in the awkward atmosphere.

Everything in here felt forced. My expectations of a fun, light-hearted experience based on anime had turned to being uncomfortable. The nice part about it was that they had English menus. As we sipped our water and flipped through the very small menu, I noticed there were instructions on how to ask to use the restroom, which included customers striking a cute cat pose and exclaiming “Meow, meow, ohana-batake.” Need to get your maid’s attention? Be sure to say “Meow, meow.”

Because we had no plan on ordering an expensive omurice or ice cream parfait, the awkwardness with our maid only worsened. We called it quits after sitting in there for around 15 very slow and long minutes. It felt like an eternity.

My love for anime like Miss Kobayashi Dragon Maid and Blend S (Both are rated TV-14), set the bar high for my expectations on maid cafés. I did not expect it to be as awkward as it was.

There are many styles of cafés available in Japan and not all will give the same experience as I felt. Some cafés may be wild and fun, and others may be calm. Still, it was an experience to have. In the end, I was glad I didn’t go alone. To this day, when I hear “meow” I can only think about the maid café menu and the pose needed to use the toilet.

Would I go back? Not unless I’m with friends or family, and only if they ask. I think I’d do it just to see how they would react to the strangeness one can only witness inside a maid café in Japan.

Meow, meow.



〒101-0021 1-14-1 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Takarada Chuo-dori Building 2F


Monday thru Friday 11:30~23:00

Saturday & Sunday 10:30~23:00


* Online this specific store looks completely different, the photos could be from the opening day. The location also states 3rd Floor but is located on the 2nd Floor.

* Google translate has a photo translate option. It is not the best, but it greatly assists for locations that do not offer English menus.

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