HERE IS THE LIST OF AKIHABARA MAID CAFES, IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Because there are so many maid cafes these days, I have had to split the list in half -- this is for maid cafes from A-K. If the maid cafe you want information about starts with a letter which comes after "L", click here. To return to the main maid cafe index, click here.
@home Café Main Home: 外神田１−１１−４ミツワビル7F.
(7th floor Mishiwa Building, Chuo Dori, 1-11-4 Soto Kanda, across the road from Akihabara Station.)
Phone: 03/5298 3823. Web: http://www.cafe-athome.com. Map: http://www.cafe-athome.com/athome/map.html.
"Okaerinasaimase!" and welcome home to @home Cafe! The purpose of any maid cafe is to make their customers (basically otaku) feel at home, which explains why @home Cafe has the name that it does. This cafe is right in the heart of the Akihabara shopping and entertainment region. There, for about $4.75, at 105 yen to the dollar, a visitor can play cards for three minutes with a French maid -- typically, a local anime artist who likes to dress up, according the cafe's manager, Miha.
Open 11.30am to 10pm. Birthday party functions can be booked.
@home Don Kihote Home: 外神田４−３−３ドンキホーテ秋葉原店5F
(5th floor Don Kihoute Akihabara Building, 4-3-3 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/3254-7878. Web: http://www.cafe-athome.com/athome_donki/index.html. Map: http://www.cafe-athome.com/athome_donki/map.html.
There seems to be two aspects to the Don Kihoute branch of @home Cafe (by the way, Don Kihoute is Japanese for Don Quixote, that romantic Spanish adventurer. A lot of stores in Japan are named after him. Go figure...) Anyway, there are two aspects to this cafe -- the counter staff (where I heard it is easier for single men to get into conversations with maids), and the @living annex. Inside this living-room style area, for the reasonable cost of US$9.50, a waitress will wear one of several costumes hanging on the rack: Snow White, princess, high school girl, office lady, or Santa's elf. Oh yes, they also serve lunch to clients, largely men, who lounge on sofas: soup, salad and rice or burger, rice and egg are all on the menu.
A-Boy Maid Cafe: 神田佐久間町１−２０三新ビル2-4F.
(2nd to 4th floors, San-Shin Building, 1-20 Kanda Sakumacho.)
Phone: 03/5294 3677.
This is right next store to the popular Pinafore Maid Cafe, which always seems to have a queue lined up in front of it. There are not usually queues at A-Boy, so if you can't get into Pinafore, you can always try A-Boy instead. Its location one minute's stroll from Akihabara Station is a definite plus.
The last time I passed by here, two Japanese guys stopped to check out the interior. "A-Boy?" one of them said quizically, looking at the colorful sign at the door. "Shouldn't that be B-Boy -- heh heh heh!" It got me thinking -- what does A-Boy actually mean as a name? Later the same evening I was over near Minami Senju, dining on crab and rare roast beef, when one dining companion admitted he was an old school Akihabara fan. "Yeah, that's right," he drawled, "I used to be a regular A-Boy..."
That's when it clicked -- A-Boy, Akihabara Boy. That's what it means.
Amusement Cafe: 外神田１−７−６Laox ザ・コンピュータ館B1F.
(Basement floor, Laox Computer Store, Soto Kanda 1-7-6. Off Chuo Dori.)
Web: http://maidin.jp. Map: http://maidin.jp/shop.html.
The モット (motto) of this cafe is: めいど in じゃぱん -- "Maid in Japan". This place is Japanese maid technology at its most refined. It is also popular -- I have seen queues on the stairwell outside this cafe even on Monday afternoons. I hate to imagine how busy it is on a Sunday.
Like some other places, they have games here you can play with the maids. If you win, you get a present.
There is another attraction here promisingly called "Maid on Stage". Yes that's right -- you get to see maids singing and dancing on stage. Not only that, but it seems you can command individual maids to mount the stage and dictate their performance! The website promises:
Open 11am to 9pm every day except Fridays and Saturday, when it stays open an extra hour.
Cafe and Dimension: 台東区上野５−１−６ﾔﾏﾄﾋﾞﾙB1F.
(Basement floor Yamato Building, 5-1-6 Ueno, Taito Ward, on the Showa Highway near the intersection of Kuramaebashi St.)
I used to pass by this cafe, set at the bottom of a flight of stairs on the side of Showa Highway, in a part of town which is all concrete and blown cardboard and homeless men sleeping in corners -- I often used to walk past this cafe and think it was just a regular cafe, the kind that serves coffee and sandwiches, and nothing else. Yesterday at nearby Akihabara I saw some girls in maid costumes handing out flyers for Cafe and Dimension, and on the flyer they describe themselves as a "maid cafe". It looks a pretty tame maid cafe by what I can see though -- and I was right in thinking that coffee and sandwiches are probably the most exciting items you will run into at Cafe and Dimension. Among the sandwiches they have Half Chicken and Cheese Sandwiches, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches, and Raw Ham. On the drinks side, expect Cranberry and Guave Juice alongside the stockstandard assortment of caffeine creations.
Open from 11.30am to 10pm.
Cafe & Kitchen Cos-Cha: 外神田３−７−１２.
(Off Chuo Dori, near Sue Hirochou Station, 3-7-12 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/3253-4560. Web: http://www.cos-cha.com.
One of the popular "cosplay" cafes at Akihabara. Said manager Masahide Kamei: "The waitresses are all in the early 20s. There are always three or four, whom we call angels, serving customers at all times. Depending on which animation or video game is popular, we change the costumes of the angels to stimulate the interests of customers."
This place is big on angels -- hit the website for validation of this. For example, on the menu are dishes such as エンジェルオムライス ("Angel Omulette on rice, for a hefty 1200 Yen), and エンジェルステーキセット (Angel steak set meal, coming in at a whopping 1500 Yen.) If you are curious why these dishes cost so much, here's a hint -- there is an extra human service included in the fee! There is also a range of cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. The place is open 11.50am to 11pm from Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 10pm on Sundays.
Cure Maid Cafe: 外神田３−１５−５ジーストアアキバ６F.
(Off Chou Dori, 6th Floor Jiisutoa Akiba Buikding, near Akihabara Station, 3-15-5 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/3258-3161. Web: http://www.curemaid.jp.
This is the cafe where waitresses are called names like Pudding or Chocolate. As with other cafes, the establishment runs a website where customers and waitresses can chat. According to the manager: "We get nearly 1,000 page visitors a day, which is unbelievable for a restaurant."
Unlike some other cafes, the maids here are elegant rather than sexy. Some of the items on the menu include pasta for 800 Yen, sandwiches for 500 Yen, and beer at 500 Yen per glass. You can also buy sets of cards featuring what else but lots of manga style portraits of maids, and there are some pretty expensive but highly detailed maid dolls on sale for like 8000 Yen. I forgot to mention earlier that otaku are doll freaks. In fact, I want to devote a page on my website on way to the Japanese obsession for dolls because I think it is a Shinto thing.
Cute M: 外神田１−８−４銭谷ビル4-5F.
(4th-5th floors Senya Building, 1-8-4 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/3251 2828. Web: http://www.cute-m.com/. Map: http://www.cute-m.com/Top.html.
Cute M presumably means "Cute Maid", although as I haven't been inside, I can't vouch for the cuteness of the maids. Some people have been inside and taken photos there, however, and you can see some of the photos here.
At the time of writing (April 2006) some of the maids here are called Kokoro, Arisu, Ayuna and Saeka. The menu consists of various tea concoctions including herbal tea, pasta, rice dishes, and that great Anglo-Saxon contribution to world cuisine, potato chips.
Doll Cafe Tokyo: 外神田３−１６−７フェニックスビル1F.
(1st floor Fenikkusu Building, 3-16-7 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/5294 8811. Web: http://www.cafedoll.com/tokyo. Map: http://www.cafedoll.com/tokyo/tokyo_map.htm.
This cafe promises cute maids, tasty food and an experience which will leave you dying to return.
But in case you don't like this place, don't worry -- on the same street I counted at least four or five other maid cafes on a recent visit. Perhaps they are all pretty much the same, for a maid cafe afficionado such as myself, they all need to be sampled and appraised, and every cafe probably has its own legion of fans. The Doll Cafe fans gather at the website listed above, and if you can read Japanese, you will find it an amusing place. There is even a corner called "Diary of a Maid", which I am sure is written by a geeky guy in a baseball cap.
One of my Japanese male friends used to work writing sexy email spam pretending to be a hot young women called Miyuki or Madoka -- it seems to be a big business in Japan (that is sex-based computer spam.)
If you are travelling to Osaka and you have a particular weakness for maids, you can drop in at the Doll Cafe Osaka. It is the sister cafe of the Doll Cafe Tokyo.
Open daily from 11am to 10pm.
Gunparade Orchestra Maid Cafe: 外神田３−６−２FH協和スクイア2F.
(2nd floor FH Kyowa Building, 3-6-2 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/5289 7310. Web: http://www.mailish.jp.
Says one reviewer: "Sony has a new PR push is going for Gunparade Orchestra (ガンパレード・オーケストラ) targeting the otaku martket with a “maid cafe” tie-up in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. As I reported about before in “Maids” for anime-addled otaku and in Mo’ maids”, the trend for prevy (sic) maid cafes is one of Japan’s only growth industries. ((Damn. I really not obsessed with “maids.” The only “maid cafe” I’ve been to is a chain of Japanese pie shops with excessively cute waitresses in maid-like uniforms.))
Visit the Gunparade Orchestra cafe’s website and blog for more information. See the map below if you want to visit—It’s not expensive and has standard Tokyo prices for coffee and drinks in the range of 550 yen ($4.75 USD). View an album of the maids here and take your pick.
Actually, this cafe also goes by the name of Cafe Mai:Lish. It's open from 11am to 10pm daily.
Heidi Cafe and Club: 神田練塀町
(Off Chuo Dori, near Sue Hirochou Station, 3-7-12 Soto Kanda.)
Phone: 03/5297 5812. Web: www.heidi.ne.jp/.
This place is out in the boondocks a little... down near the paper/aluminium can recycling quarter， and surrounded by construction sites. This seems to be a cafe of some kind... I am not sure it is officially a maid cafe， but there is something interesting above it, on the fourth floor: a so called community center where guys can meet girls (open from noon to 11pm). I should go up there sometime... but being a boy it is going to cost me four thousand yen an hour! (Naturally it is free for girls.) The phone number for the community center is 03/3254 0578.
(1st floor Takao Building, 1-27-2 Taito Ward, across the Showa Highway from Akihabara Station.)
Phone: 03/5812 5909. Web: http://www.hiyokoya.net.
This name means "Chick's Bar" in English, hiyoko being of course a baby chicken, rather than a cool girl. As with the other selections on this page, the maids greet customers with a loud "Okaeri nasai!" ("Welcome home!"), instead of the usual "Irashaimase!" ("Welcome to the shop!") I figure this adds a homely touch and makes the guest feel that the maid is her personal servant, her heart devoted solely to making him happy.
On the issue of the maids at Hiyokoya, Pam, a Japanese reviewer whose somewhat dated but still interesting site can be found here, said: "メイドさんは「黒のロング」でコミケ前の影響なのか１人で頑張っていました。あと、お願いすれば、メイドさんと一緒に写真が撮れますよ。"
(Note to readers confused or irritated by all the patches of Japanese script on this page -- if you want to be a real otaku you are going to have to learn Japanese! But anyway, Pam was saying something about the maids at Hiyokoya being "long blacks". And we are not talking about coffees here...)
Another Japanese anime nut wrote this on his/her (probably his) site: "秋葉原(台東区側)にある、ランチがメチャクチャ安くておいしい、メイドカフェです。もちろん、店員さんもかわいくて、お願いすれば写真を自由に撮らせてもらえます。 "
Which in English means: "On the Taito Ward side of Akihabara there is a maid cafe which serves a cheap and delicious lunch. Naturally, the staff are cute, and if you ask nicely, you are free to get photos taken with them."
It must be noted that this place is located a little bit off the beaten track, and away from the main cluster of maid cafes at Akihabara, in Taito Ward. To get to Hiroyokoya you have to cross Showa Dori, the big highway which connects Tokyo with northern Japan. Head north up the highway towards Saitama and Ueno, and turn left after you pass the Daily Yamazaki supermarket. The cafe is open mornings 11am to 3pm and evenings from 5pm to 10pm.
A final recommendation, this time from an American newspaper -- the influential New York Times, no less: "'Welcome home, Master!' cry out the waitresses at Hiyokoya, throwing off a seductive cocktail of submissiveness and fertility that Japanese otakus, or computer game fanatics, find irresistible.
"At Hiyokoya, (81-3) 5812-5909, literally "chick house," the cult of kawaii, or cute, reigns supreme. For the equivalent of about $8.40 the restaurant offers a worldly assortment of lunch dishes: curry rice, pasta carbonara, anchovy pizza or rice bowl with egg. But the real attractions are the French maid waitresses, their black bangs complementing their white lace coifs and black puff sleeves.
"The walls are hung with French maid sketches. On shelves, bottles of plum wine carry labels with wide-eyed French maids imploring: 'Would you mind if I become your partner?'"
Yes indeed, this is the place to go in Tokyo to satisfy all those master/servant fantasies...