Visiting a maid café in Akihabara

This post is the eighth in a series on our honeymoon trip in Japan. The previous post recounted our adventures in and around Harajuku. You can find all our honeymoon-related posts on my blog at #thecookeshoneymoon. ☺️

A pedestrian-friendly street between medium-rise buildings. The buildings have colourful signage printed with Japanese katakana and the occasional roman letter. The street is busy with people, some of whom are taking photos

Akihabara, Japan, is the place to go if you are really into anime and manga. This area of Tokyo wasn’t really my thing but I didn’t mind walking around, crowd-watching, and looking in stores. Our main reason for stopping by Akihabara was to experience a maid café.

We went to a Maidreamin’ maid café. We’d found some videos about this franchise of maid cafés on YouTube, prior to our trip, and it seemed like it would be a good choice. There seem to be other other companies that have maid cafés but I think this one might also be the most popular.

If you haven’t heard of the premise of a maid café, it’s one of Japan’s famous “themed” cafés – just like cat, dog, and owl cafés. In the animal cafés you can purchase food and drink, play with the animals like pets, and be entertained. In the maid cafés the waitresses are dressed up in maid costumes and there is a general aura of cuteness around the café as well as around the food. ☺ They encourage you to wear bunny ears and to pay a little extra for them to do a performance, which is usually a cute dance, often with singing. In the videos and articles we have watched and read, some people do initially misunderstand and don’t realise this is simply an innocent cute themed restaurant. 🐰

A hamburger steak shaped in an oval with a bear’s face created on it with melted cheese, tomato sauce and tiny pieces of seaweed. Two small semicircles of beef patty with melted cheese on top form ears for the bear’s face. The meal is served on a hot plate with carrot, corn and broccoli.
Not the greatest beef ever, but a meal it was.
Birds-eye view of a parfait dessert in a tall glass with squiggly edges. The contents of the parfait are shaped like a cat, with a scoop of ice cream forming the face, small ball-shaped cookies forming the hands and mouth/nose, cylindrical chocolate pellets forming the eyes, and sugar-coated jellies forming the ears. The dessert is adorned with white whipped cream, colourful sprinkles and a bright red cherry.
I think this is supposed to be a cat.

The cost of the food was a little pricey, but we ordered a hamburger steak and a parfait to share. Parfaits, by the way, are very popular in Japan. They often have a crunch cornflake base, followed by soft serve, and then topped with whipped cream, biscuits, and sprinkles. The food was average tasting, but of course, the café is more about the entertainment and the presentation of the food rather than its taste.

We had ordered the food as part of a package so we the maids sang a song and three of them danced together while we were supplied with light sticks to wave around. We got a photo with one of them. Excuse my bright pantyhose, my fashion was so not on point that day.

Me, a girl dressed up as a maid, and Nick, with our fists near our face, resembling a cat’s paws. Nick and I are wearing headbands with pink and white rabbit ears on top. Hot pink and white wallpaper with hearts and Japanese writing advertise the café.
Please ignore my crappy pantyhose colour

We had the option to get a souvenir and I chose the keyring because I thought it was probably the most practical – I think the other options were chocolate (actually in hindsight, I should have gotten that instead, but it didn’t seem like that much of a souvenir if it was edible haha) or a printed photo with a maid. It was a funny experience, I’m not dying to do it again but if there are other maid cafés out there that are different, I wouldn’t mind visiting one again.

A street open to pedestrians with not a car in sight. The street is wide with several lanes. Green trees of the same height line the sides of the pavement and block the direct view of some of the storefronts.
Walking around Akihabara

On our way out of Akihabara we spotted a shop with cheese tarts. Of course, we had to give them a try! I picked out an apple pie one, while Nick could not resist the strawberry flavoured one.

Two round cheese tarts sitting on paper napkins on a person’s hand. One tart is glazed like an apple pie and golden brown in colour; the other is pale pink.
Mmmm cheese tarts.

That evening we went to Zundoya Ramen in Kabukicho. After having Zundoya in Osaka, we were itching for it again. It makes me want some even just writing about it now. 😧 🍜

Stay tuned for my next post. I’m not sure what it’ll be yet, but there’s quite a bit more to come – including Tokyo Disneyland, Disneysea, and the Robot Restaurant!

Photos in this post were taken by me or Nick on our iPhone 7s.

Although we returned from our honeymoon four months ago, you can see the rest of our honeymoon adventures with the hashtag #thecookeshoneymoon on Twitter (mostly me) or on Instagram (mostly Nick). 💖

Other posts in this series:

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I always hear about the themed Cafes on Twitter. I personally would love to go to one of the Sailor Moon ones. XD

The one you went to seems cute though!

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What an awesome honeymoon! I’ve heard of the themed cafes (one of my students actually did a report on the owl cafes for my class), but what I’m impressed with is the food art! That steak and cat parfait look adorable.

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I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of maid cafes here in Japan and I think that’s just a personal thing? Probably because I still have a lot of problems with the sexualization of young women and I feel like maid cafes are kind of perpetuating that cutesy, young image.

All of that aside, I totally see their allure for tourists! They’re like…everything that’s stereotypical, quintessential Japan. Plus the Instagram-worthy food can be a lot of fun, even if the taste is a bit on the “eh” side.

My favorite thing about Japan and their social media culture is that they literally have what’s called “Instagram cafes” and everyone knows that’s what they are. So people go, wait awhile in line, pay mark ups on food, and take pictures just for Instagram. Totally ridiculous, but kind of fun, too. These kinds of cafes/restaurants probably exist elsewhere, but they’re a big thing in Japan lately. People talk all of the time about going to them, especially tourists because they make for cool “slice of life” Japan photos or something.

Glad you had fun in Akihabara! Nothing for me to see there, either, but I’ve heard there’s a lot of appeal for anime fans.

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Akihabara sounds like an amazing place to visit. I love anime and manga so I’d probably want to spend a lot of time around there if I went to Japan. The photos look fantastic.

I’ve never heard of maid cafes before, but they sound like fun. I love what they’ve done with the food. I imagine it’s such hard work for the people making it. That ice cream looks so cute! It’s a shame the food was average in taste, but at least you got great pictures of it. I suppose people just go for the experience, but it’d be good if they could make it nicer too, especially considering how expensive it is.

Hope you enjoyed it and love the picture of you and Nick!

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