Akihabara is one of my favorite places in Tokyo, home to some of Tokyo’s coolest places like Mandarake, Super Potato, Radio Kaikan, Kotobukiya, and of course, M’s lifestyle store, where you can find the legendary used panty vending machine (it’s in the basement floor, in case you’re having trouble sniffing it out).
Another thing Akihabara is famous for is the maid cafes – and would you believe it, I’ve never actually been to one. So I was really excited when Chris, Charles, Jun and the nice people at Yummy Japan invited me to join them for a boys night out at Akihabara’s most popular maid cafe, Maidreamin.
Best of all, we were allowed to take pictures and videos, so if you’ve been wondering what it’s like to visit a maid cafe, well, let’s take a look inside!
We went to the branch just outside the JR Akihabara station, next to M’s lifestyle store. At the entrance we got a preview of what awaits up on the 6th floor – lots of cutely decorated food, apparently.
We had zero maid cafe experience between us, so we walked in having no idea what to expect.
A maid greeted us at the reception and ushered us into the main dining area, a bright, colorful open space that feels like a scene right out of a Mario game. There’s a even small stage in the middle for mini-performances throughout the day.
At the table, she takes us through how it works – to call for service, we had to shout, “Nyan nyan!”
Imagine a bunch of guys sitting at a table, putting their closed fists against their cheeks making really bad cat noises to get your attention.
This can be fun if you’ve slugged a few beers before you came here like we did.
The crowd was mostly male, with a few foreign tourists who were enjoying themselves. There were a couple of Japanese girls seated near us, but they seemed more interested in each other than the entertainment.
About every hour throughout the night a maid would get on the stage to speak to the audience and segue into a little lip-sync and dance performance. Whenever that happened, there was this one Japanese guy would stand up and do this comically energetic, perfectly awkward dance alongside.
Maybe he just really likes dancing.
The food. No one really comes here expecting Michelin star fare, but it was actually… decent. Not gourmet stuff for sure, but good enough. If your order an omurice, the maid will draw a cute character on it at the table and encourage you to make more cutesy noises.
If you’d like a memento from your visit, you have a few options, all of which will cost you money, natch. The most popular one is to have a polaroid picture taken with the maids.
But if you’re more adventurous, like Chris, you hire a maid costume for 1,500 Yen and go nuts. BONUS: Hole in your panties.
We didn’t expect to have so much fun here, but we did. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a uniquely Akihabara experience. There may be other maid cafes popping up around the world, but I doubt any of them will ever beat the real thing.
The guys are all making videos of our trip there, and I’ll be posting them here as they come.
Here’s Charles’ 2min Japan video:
Aaaand here’s Chris’: