Have you ever been to one of Japan’s famous maid cafés? Now you might be thinking something like, “It seems interesting but I haven’t had the chance to go yet”, or “I’m worried because I don’t know how much it’ll cost”, or “I don’t know what there is to do there”. So we’re here to clear up these questions and more with an in-depth explanation of Japan’s maid cafés! We’ll explain the system, price range, and how to make the most of your experience there. Once you get a feel for what is what you’ll no doubt feel like going and experiencing a maid café for yourself!
What is a maid café?
A maid café is a thematic café where the waitresses dress up as maids and serve their customers as if they were their master. In other words, this is a place where you can experience moe*. There are currently many other similar kinds of thematic cafés such as butler cafés and male cross-dressing cafés. Maid cafés first originated out of the Tokyo neighborhood of Akihabara, known as the mecca of electronics and Japanese pop culture such as anime and manga. In addition to just anime and manga, it is now well-known as the home of Japanese pop culture in general.
*Moe: A slang term used to convey feelings of affection and longing toward a person or thing.
Three Types of Maid Café
Did you know that there are several different kinds of maid cafés? Well there are, so we have divided them up into three categories, each with their own price ranges and unique features.
*All prices displayed are estimates only.
①① Classic Style – Estimated Price Range: 1,000 to 1,500 yen
Classic maid cafés have a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a meal or even just a beverage. This kind of maid café is recommended for those who are looking for a relaxed maid café experience rather than a bustling, lively one.
②Entertainment Style – Estimated Price Range: 1,500 to 2,500 yen
For a cute meal and those looking to enjoy chatting with the maids, taking souvenir pictures or playing games, entertainment style maid cafés are a good choice. Here you can enjoy experiences that can only be had at a maid café, such as having the maids write cute little messages in ketchup on your omu-rice (omelette rice) or say a prayer to make your food delicious!
③Bar/Izakaya Style – Estimated Price Range: 2,500 to 4,000 yen
Here you can enjoy the typical food and alcoholic drinks that you would at any izakaya (Japanese-style pub) or bar. However, unlike your average izakaya or bar, the staff will serve you dressed up as maids! These kinds of establishments are recommended for those who want to go to a bar or izakaya but are looking for something a little different!
Make sure to check that the maid café you plan to go to fits what you are looking for, so that you don’t get disappointed when it is different from what you were expecting!
How to Make the Most of your Maid Café Experience
Maid cafés have their own unique rules and system, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with said rules and etiquette to keep in mind before you visit.
①① System (Cost/Time Slot)
Many maid cafés have a cover (table) charge per person. To prevent overcrowding, there is sometimes a time limit on how long you can spend at the table. Each café has its own pricing and seating system, so it is a good idea to check out the café’s website before you visit.
②③ Photographs prohibited inside the café (except for food)
This might be one of the maid cafés’ more confusing rules. As a general rule, taking photographs of anything other than the food and drinks is typically prohibited, so you cannot take photographs of the maids without prior permission. There are many cafés which will take Polaroid photographs for you, so if you would like to take photos of your experience home with you, you should go to a café that offers this service. They will write cute little messages on the photos for you, too!
Touching the maids or any other disruptive behavior is likewise prohibited.
(*Rules vary by café so please check out the café’s website before you go.)
Although you may be feeling a little confused about all these special rules that most cafés don’t typically have, if you follow the rules you will no doubt find it to be a fun, unique experience you can’t have anywhere else!
Finally, the best way to make the most of your experience at a maid café is by talking to the maids themselves! Of course, since it is a café the maids will not be able to stay at your table with you the whole time, but you should definitely try striking up a conversation with them as they pass by your table. You will surely have a great time chatting with them. The maids will also come over to visit your table from time to time, so even if you are too shy to call them over yourself you will still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy chatting with them!
And if you are worried about the language barrier, don’t be! The maids will find a way to communicate with you using gestures and simple English.
Experiencing Moe at Maid Café “Maidreamin”!
Kin and Sui from China visited the maid café “Maidreamin”, which of the three types of maid cafés described above would fall under the second category, entertainment style. They offer unique performances that can only be experienced at a maid café, so even if you don’t understand Japanese simply being there will be an exciting experience in and of itself!
Check out the following article to find out more!
Experiencing Moe at Japanese Maid Café “Maidreamin”!