Pokemon: a true global phenomenon that is adored by both young and old. Nowhere is this more evident than in Pikachu’s birthplace of Japan. If you have visited Japan or are planning to, you have no doubt heard of the Pokemon Cafes. There is one located in Osaka and one in Tokyo and getting reservations is nearly impossible these days. But is it even worth the hype? We managed to snag a table at the Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo recently and are here to give you our honest Pokemon Cafe Review.

Is a visit to the Pokemon Cafe worth the hype? Absolutely. It’s a unique Pokemon experience that you can only have in Japan. Do you have to be a Pokemon fan? No, but it certainly helps. There are some pros and cons with the experience and a lot of effort to get reservations. We’ll outline everything you need to know about the Pokemon Cafe if you visit Japan in 2024.

What is the Pokemon Cafe?

As you probably already know, the Pokemon Cafe is the official restaurant of the Pokemon brand. There are two locations: one in Shinaibashi in Osaka and the other in Nihombashi in Tokyo. The Osaka location is located on the 9th floor of the Daimaru Department Store, while the Tokyo location is on the 5th floor of the Takashimaya Department Store.

The Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo opened in March 2018 alongside the Pokemon Center Tokyo DX it shares the floor with. This is the location we managed to get reservations at although we did try for both.

Themed cafes are common in Japan and nearly every popular pop culture brand has its own locations. Given how popular Pokemon is, it’s no surprise that the Pokemon Cafe is the one with the highest demand around Japan.

At the Pokemon Cafe, you can enjoy a nice meal with your friends or family, or by yourself if you so choose. This comes with the ability to purchase exclusive Pokemon items and there’s even the chance of a little entertainment as well!

How to Get to the Pokemon Cafe?

Finding things in Japan can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren’t familiar with travelling around Tokyo or Osaka. Luckily, both of these Pokemon Cafe locations are inside major department stores which are relatively easy to find.

To get to the Tokyo location, you will need to take any train that takes you to either the JR Tokyo Station or the Nihombashi Subway station. Some popular lines that you can take to get to the JR Tokyo Station include the JR Yamanote Line (Green), the JR Chuo Line (Orange), and the JR Sobu Line (Yellow). Take the Yaesu Exit from Tokyo Station for the fastest access to the Pokemon Cafe Tokyo.

You can also take most Shinkansen bullet trains to Tokyo Station if you have a Japan Rail Pass.

What is the Japan Rail Pass? Read our article on it here: Japan Rail Pass 2024

The popular subway lines that stop at Nihombashi Subway station include the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, and the Tokyo Metro Asakusa Line.

Note that once you get out to the street, there are two Takashimaya department store buildings. The Pokemon Cafe Tokyo is located in the Takashimaya S.C. building.

For the Osaka Pokemon Cafe location, it is easiest to take the Midosuji Osaka Subway line and get off at Shinsaibashi station. Take Exit 4 and head towards the Shinsaibashi Daimaru department store.

Both locations are within about a 5-minute walk from their respective stations. Of course, you can always take a taxi to the department stores as well!

How To Get a Reservation at the Pokemon Cafe?

Here is the trickiest part of this whole thing: getting a reservation at the Pokemon Cafe.

To reserve a table, you’ll need to do so online at the Pokemon Cafe website. If you think you can just click on the website and get a table, you’ve got another thing coming. It took us about six days of staying awake until 1:00 AM to get a reservation. This is because tables are released at 6:00 PM local time in Japan 31 days in advance.

This means that if you live in the Pacific Standard timezone, you’ll need to hop online at 1:00 AM and if you live in the Eastern Standard timezone, you’ll need to hop on at 4:00 AM.

If you scan Reddit forums on Japan Travel, you’ll see that most people are not successful in getting reservations. Tables book out immediately and there are only 50 possible time slots of 90 minutes each throughout the day. Once those are all booked, the Pokemon Cafe is considered full for the day.

The frustration with trying to get a table is very real. As soon as you hit search you’ll see that most time slots are already full. Many people believe that the site provides faster access to local Japanese IP addresses although this hasn’t been confirmed anywhere. Apparently, it is easier to get a reservation for a smaller group of people. Our reservation was for four and we managed to grab a great time at 10:45 AM.

Successful Reservation at Pokemon Cafe

If you do manage to get a reservation, the Pokemon Cafe recommends you attend 10-15 minutes before your reservation time. We were able to get in immediately and they only needed to confirm our name and reservation number.

Once you make a reservation, you can also purchase exclusive products that you can’t even buy at the Pokemon Cafe itself. These include coasters and Pokemon stuffed toys. If you want these items, make sure you buy them at the time of the reservation! They will be waiting for you in a Pokemon bag at your table when you sit down.

What if I Can’t Get a Reservation at the Pokemon Cafe?

For those unable to get a reservation online when they are released, there is a second wave of available tables that comes about 20 minutes after the original release. Why? Some say that these are from people who are unable to complete their reservation in time. Either way, it worked for us! We refreshed the screen at around 1:20 AM and managed to get our prime reservation.

Finally, if you are unable to get a reservation at all you can line up at the Pokemon Center in person. You won’t get in unless someone does not show up or if a reservation is cancelled at the last minute. There is a board outside that shows the time slots for cancelled reservations. Be prepared to stand in line for a while though. Some people have waited for three hours or even more for a table.

How is the Food at the Pokemon Cafe?

After travelling all over Japan, we can confidently say that it is hard to find a bad meal anywhere in the country. Whether it is a cheap izakaya, a hole-in-the-wall ramen shop, or a family diner chain, most places are tasty.

The food at the Pokemon Cafe is good! There is a variety of dishes and it’s tasty enough. Now, you have to realize that the food isn’t what makes the Pokemon Cafe a good experience. The dishes are cute and nicely presented but we wouldn’t say it is the same as eating at a Michelin star restaurant.

The Pokemon Cafe menu is also seasonal so depending on what time of year you go, they will have different options. When we went, they had the Last Resort Japanese Mixed Rice Plate Meal with Eeevee as their featured dish. They also had the Gengar’s Tricky Beef Stew Set and the Pikachu and Bulbasaur’s Best Friends Forever Curry Plate.

For kids, they offer the Pokemon Cafe Kids Plate, which is a hamburger with some fried rice and french fries.

As for drinks, they have the normal beverages in Pokemon cups like hot coffee or the Eevee Royal Milk Tea. They also have some fun flavoured ice cream floats with your favourite characters like Pikachu, Fuecoco, or Sprigatito.

You order your food from an iPad at your table which comes in a variety of different languages.

Pokemon Cafe Review: Our Honest Opinion

So, we should preface this by saying that our kids are Pokemon fans and we grew up with the show and games. Our kids love the Pokemon Centers and playing Pokemon Go! around Japan. They also enjoyed the new Pokemon Cafe ReMix game which is loosely based on these cafes.

We thought the experience was fun and unique and everyone enjoyed it. The food was fine and the exclusive products you can buy inside are must-haves for any Pokemon fan.

The portions were on the small side which isn’t unusual for Japan. Our kids were able to finish their meals fairly easily and still had room for dessert. The total cost of our bill was about 13,000 Yen or about $120.00 CAD or $90.00 USD. It’s not terrible, but it is definitely on the expensive side.

The whole reservation system is also a stressful process, especially if you are doing it overseas before your trip. Since the reservations open up 31 days before you go to the Pokemon Cafe, you will likely be doing this before you get to Japan. If you are unable to get a reservation, you might be waiting a while outside.

The service was great as it is everywhere in Japan. The serving staff are polite and have instructions in plenty of other languages like English, Chinese, and Korean.

Of course, one of the main attractions is the table-side entertainment. Each time slot will get an appearance from a Pokemon character. Ours was Gengar, which was a hit with the kids. Gengar came out and walked by all of the tables. You will get ample warning before they come out and if you are finished, the staff will advise you that the character will be coming out soon.

Our Pokemon Cafe Review Score

Overall, the Pokemon Cafe is definitely worth visiting if you’re in Japan. Whether you are a casual fan, a hardcore fan, or just a fan of quirky Japanese experiences, the Pokemon Cafe needs to be on your to-do list.

Overall Experience4.5
Pokemon Cafe Food4.0
Pokemon Cafe Accessibility 4.5
Pokemon Cafe Reservation System3.0
Pokemon Cafe Service5.0
Pokemon Cafe Products/Memoribilia4.5

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it Worth Going to the Pokemon Cafe?

Yes! Although it is difficult to secure a reservation, having a meal at the Pokemon Cafe is a unique experience for anyone visiting Japan. The food is tasty and the serving staff are top-notch. Enjoy the food and entertainment as well as the rare memorabilia that you can only buy at the Pokemon Cafe in Japan.

Is the Pokemon Cafe Better in Tokyo or Osaka?

The experience and the food are the same at both Pokemon Cafe locations. It is easier to get a reservation at the Osaka location but there are more tables and seating at the Tokyo location. Both Pokemon Cafe locations are easy to access and find.

How Far in Advance to Book Pokemon Cafe Tokyo?

Reservations are released 31 days ahead at 18:00 PM local time in Japan and only on the Pokemon Cafe website. It is difficult to find reservations after they are initially released so be ready to hop online 31 days before you wish to attend.

How Much Does the Pokemon Cafe Cost?

A family of four will cost about 10,000 to 13,000 Yen for a meal. This does not include any toys or products you wish to buy or the special memorabilia that you can only order at the time you make your online reservation.