Theme cafes in Japan aren’t always limited to just specific characters though, sometimes they are immersive experiences. Maid and butler cafes are pretty well known, but did you know there is also a Vampire Cafe and a Ninja Cafe?
The beautiful yet sad thing about a lot of these character cafes though, is that they are often temporary.
Just like the cherry blossoms which bloom for about a week and a half, theme cafes pop up in event spaces and existing cafes, only to be gone in a blink of an eye. What makes it even harder to get into these limited time cafes is that they usually require an online reservation in advance. And since these are popular destinations open for a very limited time, the spots fill up fast. So do be quick!
The 2021 to 2022 Cardcaptor Sakura Cafe ‘Colorful à la mode’, was no exception. The theme cafe opened in November 2021 and was set to close January 10th, 2022. However, by popular demand, they extended the closing date to February 6th to allow more fans to experience the overwhelmingly cute cafe.
The Cardcaptor Sakura cafe set up shop in an existing event space called Tokyo Parade, which has hosted many limited time theme cafes in the past. Tokyo Parade is located inside of the Shibuya Parco, a newly built shopping center about a 5 minutes walk from Shibuya Station. On the same floor as Tokyo Parade there is a Nintendo store, a Pokemon Center, a Shonen Jump Shop, and a Capcom store for all of your fandom needs.
Want to know more about Cardcaptor Sakura either the anime or the manga series? Check out this intro to Cardcaptor Sakura article for more information.
The cafe was reservation only, and cost about $7 to make. That reservation comes with 1 of 3 special invitation cards with Sakura Kinomoto on them, in various costumes. Once you arrive for your reserved time, you are given one hour to eat your food and take pictures of the expertly designed interior.
As for the actual food at the cafe, it was pleasantly delicious. Those who are familiar with theme cafes in Japan will know that you are not going to these cafes to eat, you are going for the experience. The food, while good quality, can often come in portions that can be finished in a few bites. Considering you are paying anywhere from $15 to $30 dollars a plate it can be a little disappointing. The food here was actually delicious and full of more substance than most theme cafes. Though the price still stayed at the top of the theme cafe bracket.
The Sakura and Syaoran set came with thick cut cubes of Chinese braised pork, no doubt inspired by his and Clow Reed’s Chinese heritage, a thick fluffy omelet from Sakura, a strawberry parfait, and a cute card featuring both Sakura and Syaoran.
The meat was deliciously tender and paired well with the Japanese style rolled omelet. The strawberry parfait had ice cream, corn flakes, jelly, and strawberries for a sweet end to a wonderful meal.
One of the most adorable meals available at the cafe is the Kero-chan Takoyaki inspired seafood gnocchi. A very round ball of mashed potatoes with pickled ginger and octopus, tako, inside dons the face of our lovable mentor Kero-chan. Aside from the tako mashed potatoes, this meal also comes with seafood gnocchi in a cream sauce.
Overall this plate was delicious! The cream sauce was lovely and the fried gnocchi very flavorful. Also serving takoyaki filling inside of mashed potatoes was clever and tasty. 10/10 would definitely recommend!
One of the many adorable drinks on the menu was the Hot Tea with Character Sugar. We got a small crystalized Kero-chan as our character sugar cube. The character was at random, so we felt pretty lucky with what we were given.
As cute as the sugar was, it took about 10 seconds before it was nothing but a pair of wings floating in the hot tea. Another 10 seconds before it was nothing at all.
As far as cafe interiors go, this shop was modern and a bit fancy. The shop was of course expertly decorated with Cardcaptor Sakura fans in mind. The walls alternated between digital panels that showed rotating images of the menu, and cute Cardcaptor Sakura themed wallpaper. The wallpaper had still shots from the anime depicting important scenes and featured the whole cast. Sections of the wallpaper also had the many Sakura Cards and Clow Cards that are present in the series.
On one wall of the cafe a large screen played the opening animation to the first Cardcaptor Sakura anime series, as well as key scenes from the Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card anime. Another wall showcased the life-sized cast of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.
After exiting the cafe, customers were able to shop at a specialty gift shop. Many limited edition items were available for purchase only at this location. Due to how the cafe was themed, many items in the store revolved around cooking and food. A special edition apron with the main design from the cafe wallpaper was one of the more expensive items available. More affordable items like plastic containers, food shaped hair accessories, and branded keychains were also there.
So the next time you are in Japan and thinking about where you might want to grab a quick bite to eat, consider a theme cafe, you will be able to find cute character food from your favorite anime and manga. Curious about past cafes? Check here for a look at when TokyoTreat visited the 2018 Cardcaptor Sakura Cafe.
Kawaii culture lover since birth, I am beyond excited to share my passion for cute with the world!
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