One thing that you must experience during your time in Japan is a visit to at least one of the many maid cafés that exist all around the country, especially, because the concept of kawaii (cute) that Japanese people have can be very different from the one you have at home, and more importantly, because you won’t be able to see this type restaurants anywhere outside Japan.
The @Home Maid Café is considered one of the best venues in Akihabara, and the favorite for tourists, as it is the only one that proudly advertises that it has English speaking staff. This is very important because when you enter a Maid Café, you are paying for the experience and for the interaction you’ll have with the “maids” (waitresses), so, unless you speak fluent Japanese, it is better to go to a place where you know you’ll be understood. The @Home Maide Café has two locations, the Main branch, located at the Mitsuwa building and the Donki store, located at the 5th floor of the Don Quijote building.
For our visit, we decided to go to the Main branch, to see what options they have, and we must say we weren’t disappointed. It has 4 different floors for you to choose from, each one of them with it’s own characteristics, although we must say that there is no big difference between the 4th, 6th, and 7th floors; the food is the same and the waitresses are all dress in their French maid costume. However, the 5th floor is the location of the Hana Café, which has been designed in a traditional Japanese style, with its own special menu and of course, the staff wear a different kind of costume resembling a kimono, allowing the customer to have a completely new experience compared to the other floors. This floor is most popular among foreign visitors.
For our visit, we decided to stop at the fourth floor, to see the normal maid café environment. From the moment you arrive at the door you will be received by a lovely girl in a French maid costume that will happily greet you as “goshujin sama” (master or mistress), and will take you to your seat. There, she will happily explain to you the system and the different options you have for your meal. Each item of the menu has a special way to be served, so that you have at least one small kind of interaction with the maid, for example, if you order a café latte, the maid will draw very cute cat or bear on top of it with chocolate in front of you; if you order a “shake” drink, the maid will prepare it in front of you and will ask you to help her in the process. One of the most popular items on the menu is the omelet rice, on which your maid will make a drawing using ketchup.
As I have mentioned before, one thing you need to bear in mind is that you are paying for the interaction with the maid and for the unique experience of going to a maid café, rather than for gourmet food. As such, you will generally be charged a 600 yen service fee, separate from your consumption. So although the food may be rather average for the price you are paying, where else but in Tokyo will you be able to experience this kind of unusual, fun service. It’s definitely worth the money for the experience!
Our recommendation to take full advantage of the experience is to choose one of the options of the special menu that costs around 1,600 yen. It includes a drink and/or something to eat; the option to choose between amusement (playing a game with the maid) or taking a picture; and a souvenir, usually, a box of cookies. You can also go at lunch time and have one of their sets for 1,200 yen. In case you just want to have a drink and later on you change your mind, you can ask for a picture or to play a game (board game or rock paper scissors) for 600 yen.
On the downside, the @Home Maid Café is so popular, that maybe you’ll have to wait a long time in line before being seated, especially on weekends. Nevertheless, is still our first choice for a maid café in Akihabara. It is very easy to get there, as it is close to both, the JR Akihabara Station and the Suehirocho station. Walk to Chuo Dori and take Kanda-Myojin Street, very close to Mandarake. In case you want to visit the Donki location, just walk your way to the Don Quijote building over the main street, when you arrive at the black building with AKB 48 signs and a blue penguin wearing a Christmas hat (which is Donki’s mascot/logo), you’ll know you’re in the right place!
Address: Main Branch: 4th-7th floors. Mitsuwa building; 1-11-4 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Don Quijote Branch: 5th floor Don Quijote Akihabara; 4-3-3 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku Tokyo.
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