All About Japan

Getting Started with Maid Cafés

| Maid Cafés , Akihabara

Among the neon lights of electronic stores and hole-in-the-wall video game shops of Akihabara lies the wonderful world of maid cafés, where waitresses dress up in pinafores and aprons. Maid cafés have been around since the early 2000s, but if it’s your first time, here are three of our favorite traditional shops to get you started.

3. Schatzkiste

If you are searching for a more low-key maid café, look no further than Schatzkiste and its maids wearing full length black dresses with white aprons. Taking its name from the German word Schatzkiste, meaning treasure chest, this little gem’s interior is designed to look like an old-fashioned German library.

It’s a good place to go between meals because it serves light snacks, such as scones and the soup of the day, and has 18 herbal teas to blend or drink pure. Stop in Monday nights around 8 p.m. to play board games with the maids, but be sure to come early as seating is limited!

Even if you have a hectic schedule, you can still experience Schatzkiste with your favorite maids in the comfort of your own home with their online manga series.

2. @Home Cafe

@Home Cafe is the home-away-from-home café. Maids rush to welcome you in a cheery, energetic “okaeri nasaimase,” even if you're a first-time customer.

When your maid brings the drinks you ordered, don’t take a sip just yet! You have to participate in omajinai, a ritual whereby you chant “Oishikunare!” or “moe, moe, kyuuun” along with the maids. This charming chant is rumored to make the drinks taste better. If you're ordering food as well, you might want to go for the popular omuraisu (a fluffy omelet filled with rice), which is served with a smiling chick outlined in ketchup.

Since taking your own photos inside the store and with the maids is prohibited, why not splurge and order a commemorative photo with you and your favorite maid off the set menu?

1. Cure Maid Café

The café that started the maid café revolution in 2001 is still going strong. Cure Maid Café even offers a reasonably priced menu, like the hefty chicken curry dish for ¥850, and no table charge.

Much of the café’s continued success could be attributed to its weekly Saturday night concerts, which are packed with customers—or it could be the dozens of anime collaborations, such as the one with Full Metal Alchemist that featured a cheesecake soufflé with the series’ trademark cross in cocoa powder.

As long as it keep up with its tradition of serving customers in a Zen-like ambiance with demure maids, Cure Maid Café should have a long future of curing customers of whatever ails them.