Maid cafés or as they are called in Japanese “Meido kissa” or “Meido cafe”, are defiantly one of the most entertaining spots you can enjoy when visiting Tokyo. The basic concept was created back in the year 2000 when the “Cure Maid Cafe” in Akihabara introduce the concept in Japan. The idea was that cosplay waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants, and treat customers as masters or mistresses in a stylish 19th century victorian home environment, rather than as classic café style. Although the maid custom has a kinky image around the world, the maid cafe in Japan has nothing to do with that and it is simply a “cosplay” style which is very popular and fits to the whole concept of serving customers in the 21st century in old style fashion.
Since the first maid cafe was opened in Akihabara, hundreds of new one have popped up in the area and it is until today the main district where you can find this style of entertainment. Although it is an “Akiba Style” concept (Akiba is a shortcut for Akihabara), there are maid cafe also in Shibuya, Harajuku and Ikebukuro and the concept have spread all around Japan and in the past few years it even went international with maid cafe been opened in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Mexico, Canada and the United States.
The regulars of maid cafe are people who are categorized in Japan as “Otaku”, who are people with obsessive interests around Japanese anime and manga fandom. Although the regulars are the ones who keep the maid cafe busy most of the time, the concept has become very popular among tourists and foreigners living in Japan and today you can always find foreigners enjoying themselves in maid cafes all around the country.
But as a foreigner who visit the cafe, it is at upmost importance that you will know how to behave and “play the game” of maid cafe so you will not disturb the special atmosphere at the place as well as not offend any of the cafe guests or staff. To make sure you know whats to do or not to do, check out the maid cafe general rules below and make sure you are aware of them before getting into any of those places.
Maid Cafe Golden Rules:
1. Don’t ever touch the maids.
Even though many maid cafes play up their maid style cuteness, these aren’t places for flirting with or picking up maids. The maids are working very hard on this role playing job and usually excel in it, but it has nothing to do with you personally, it is a role playing game and as you get into the cafe, you are part of the game, but nothing more!
2. Don’t take photos of the maids.
Since the maid work very hard on their customs and make up, it is part of their work to take photos for a pay. The cost is generally ¥500 yen for a printed photo with them. It is the same as you wouldn’t grab a coffee without pay, taking photos is part of the business environment and it is not free of charge. If it sounds strange to pay for a photo with someone, always remember, no one’s forcing you to get a photo if you don’t feel like spending the money for it. The same goes for all the maids you see in the streets who give out flyers to their cafe. Although the rule with street maid is a bit less uptight, make sure to ask before you take a photo is the best way to go.
3. Don’t ask for the maids’ contact information.
This rule is a very strict one and you should remember it at all time. This is a role playing place and there is nothing personal in how cute or submissive the maid are to you as a customer. It is at upmost importance you will never ask for their private information, wait for them outside the cafe or stalk them in any way. Simply enjoy your meal, cafe or cake, and be cool, keeping the place atmosphere upbeat and happy without taking anything to seriously or personal.
4. Don’t take photos of the cafe itself.
It is considered a bit rude and offending to take photos of the place itself. The reason for that is maybe because the designers of the place have worked very hard to create this beautiful environment and each cafe has spent millions of yen to create this special and unique environment. It is also a matter of privacy to the other customers in the place who might not want their photo to be taken. Taking photos of the place is considered rude and might cause a serious stir in the place if you do so. On the other hand, you may take photos of your food at any time, as long as it is obvious it is a food or desert picture and not an attempt to take photos of the place itself or its customers.
1. Maidreamin – Akihabara
Maidreamin is Akihabara based maid cafe network of 7 shops situated all around Tokyo. Their head cafe is in Akihabara Sotokanda area, just outside Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Subway Line. This is a very colorful and cute cafe known for its very hyper and kawaii maids who will do their best to make your day a happy one. The maids love to chat with the customers and each maid will try to offer her special dining experience of her own dream world. Try it, its fun! There is also a small stage where maids are singing or dancing to entertain the guests. The menu includes very light meals in “sets” to fit different tastes and the sets are designed by the maids themselves. You can take photos with the maid if you want to leave with a beautiful memory, just remember, photos are not free! If you are looking for classic Akihabara cute maid cafe, this one is the right one for you. It is cute, lively and so much fun to hang out in.
2. @Home Cafe – Akihabara
@Home cafe is located just around the corner from Akihabara Station on the JR Yamanote, Tsukuba Express, and Keihin Tohoku Lines. This is one of the most cute maid cafe in Akihabara and offers a really fun experience. The place itself is designed to look like Alice in Wonderland candy house with everything painted in pastel pink and blue. The maid are all dressed up in white and brown uniforms and they will teach you as you come in how to do the MOE magic song where you form a hear with your fingers and you repeat the maid cute magic words! The menu is mainly light meals and cute deserts and while you eat, maids will offer you to play all sort of mini games and if you win, you will get a chance to win cute prizes! All maids offer polaroid picture service, and if you want to have a picture with any of them, just ask for it! @Home maid cafe also have a special arrangement for birthdays. If you have a birthday, and want to get that special birthday set, the maid will bring a special birthday cake, sing you a song and will make your birthday unforgettable!
- Name: @Home Cafe
- Address: 1-11-4, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
- Tel: 03-5207-9779
- Opening hour:
Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 10pm
Weekend & Holidays: 10:30am – 10pm
- Website: http://www.cafe-athome.com.e.pi.hp.transer.com
3. Maidcafe Pinafore – Akihabara
Maidcafe Pinafore is located just outside the south side of the JR Akihabara train station and next to Yodobashi Camera electronics shop. This cafe is very popular by tourists and the staff is very foreigner friendly, although they speak no English at all. The maids can pick up their cosplay customs and you can expect to see maids in school girl uniforms, flight attendants, or classic maid outfits. The maid will greet you at the door and take you to the available table to go over the whole menu with you in their cute style. The menu offers omelet rice, curry rice, hamburger steak, pastas and deserts. There is no cover charge per table but since it is a very small place with up to 15 customers at a time, it is common that you can stay up to one hour and not longer, so remember that, or one of the maid will remind you gently a little bit before your one hour slot will pass.
4. Cure Maid Cafe – Akihabara
Cure Maid Cafe is the very original of all maid cafe in Akihabara, and from this place, the whole industry of maid cafe has been evolved from. Make sure not to miss this place as it is a classic and if you like maid cafes, this is a must go spot! The cafe is located just outside the Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Subway Line and around the corner from Chuo-dori main street. Cure Maid Cafe designed to look like a victorian house where you drink tea and have a cake in but the menu also offers rice omlets and light meals. The maids are dressed as well in a very victorian style maid customs and are extremely polite, bowing deeply when they arrive to your table, and again when they leave. They’re willing to answer questions, and they can speak a little English! Since it is such a famous maid cafe, there are many anime and game companies which create promotional events at the cafe, and if you are lucky to arrive at one of those dates, you will find the cafe turn to a theme of that particular promotion game or movie. Every Saturday evening there is a live concert at the place of classical music, so if you if want to see the cafe at its most famous act, visit between 7-9pm on Saturdays!
5. Schatz Kiste – Akihabara
Schatzkiste maid cafe is located in between Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Subway Line and Yushima Station on the Chiyoda Subway line, right on the main street of Kuramae-hashi Dori. This cafe is has a theme of antique German tea house with a library combined with an American board game meeting room! The interior design includes hundreds of books on the shelves and many board games which customer can play, such as Magic: The Gathering and other role playing board games. Feel free to ask other customers if they want to join a game, everyone there come to socialize and enjoy this special atmosphere! The maids are all wearing elegant black dresses with white aprons and white lace hairpieces, looking very serious and playing this roles very nice. Don’t expect this extra cuteness as in other maid cafes, this place is a bit more into the quiet cool atmosphere and maid do not take photos with customers. This place is quite small and there is a table charge of ¥500 for every 30 minutes, so remember that when you calculate your budget for the cafe. Starting this year, the cafe also host a small gallery space with special anime painting and artworks.
6. Wonder Parlour Cafe – Ikebukuro
Wonder Parlour Cafe is located in Ikebukuro area between Ikebukuro Station and Otsuka Station on the JR Yamanote Line. The cafe is designed in a very victorian fashion and according, all the maids are wearing authentic English maid outfits from the 19th century. The cafe is playing constant classical music and has a very comfortable warm feeling to it. Although you can drink tea and eat cakes or sweet deserts, there is also quite a rich menu of pastas and Japanese curry rice dishes. The place also offers a butler service where men, wearing victorian butler cosplay outfits are serving female customers so if you look for a place where women are served in a very special way, try the Wonder Parlour Cafe!
7. Honey Honey – Akihabara
Honey Honey maid cafe is located very close to Akihabara Station and around the corner from Tokyo Anime Center. This maid cafe is meant to be very comfortable in terms of pricing and they don’t charge any table fee or try hard to get you to spend money. I like this place because its really feel like a comfortable place for women. Honey Honey menu has a “special” called “Ojousama no Sui-tsu setto”, translated to English as “Ladies sweets set”, which is a service for women only, and it allows female customers to change into maid costumes and take pictures of themselves! If you ever wanted to get a feeling of how a maid life is, this is one of the best place to go and experience the full maid custom wear and overall feeling in their daily environment!
8. The Granvania – Akihabara
The Granvania is located just off the Akihabara Station Electric Town exit and next to the Gundam Cafe building above the radio and electronics shops complex in Akihabara. This cafe is quite large and offers space to 100 customers sitting in both wooden tables or wall counters. The cafe offers two styles every week in which the maids change outfit according to. The first style is called “Princess Night” and all the maid wears princess cosplay outfits, and the other style is “freestyle” where maid can wear any type of cosplay customs! The Granvania menu has a full meal options and all the prices are marked with “G” instead of “Japanese Yen” — very cute!
The Granvania is considered very “conservative” maid cafe in which you will be greeted with “Welcome home Master or Mistress” and other greetings allowing you to feel very special just as if you will get back home 100 years ago in England. There are no photo service in the menu but the place instead offers a special member card in which you can earn points (and loose points!!) playing different games and complete different missions. Points on your card can be used as discount or as points to get photos with the maids!
9. Shangrila – Akihabara
The Shangrila maid cafe is located deep within the electronic stores and pachinko parlors area of Akihabara between Akihabara Station and Kuramae-dori street. The Shangrila maid cafe has a very special theme to it, it is staffed by well-rounded young women! It is not a place where you will see skinny little cosplay girls running in maid costumes but instead it is a cafe the promote the concept of “bositive” – or “Body Positive” in order to help lower the stigma of being chubby or slightly overweight as well as the promote the concept that you don’t have to be skinny to be cute, and that happiness and beauty can be found in many different shapes and sizes. Shangrila is also one of the best place to have healthy food in! You will not find in the place any plastic-tasting junk food, Shangrila uses only fresh, organic ingredients, and the Italian chef who cooks the food is using a real brick oven and many say it is the best tasting healthy ingredient pizza in all of Tokyo!
10. JAM – Akihabara
JAM maid cafe is located right behind Shangrila maid cafe in the basement of the Yamaguchi building just west of the Mandarake used manga building on the west side of Chuo-dori, north of Kanda Myojin Dori. The cafe is made to look like an Irish pub and have inside it tables for 2 or 4 people. Very similar to real Irish bar, the place is quite noisy and customers seem to find it comfortable to chat loudly and be very social with people who just stepped through the door. The place is covered with posters and pictures of cosplay events that it held in the past and the pictures and posters are constantly changing allowing customers to enjoy a sort of gallery of events on the walls. The maids are not called “maids” here but instead they are called “Fairies” and dressed in blue dress with white apron, white lace trim and blue knee high stockings. This place is also very traditional in the way customers are greeted as “welcome home Master or mistress” and is not feel like the extra cute maid style but instead it is more of a “Cure” classic maid, so if you enjoy this kind of special atmosphere, don’t miss the JAM!
Have a good trip and travel!