The Unique Manga Cafes of Japan

Japan has a knack to create things that have yet to exist in the world we live in today. This fact has been seen in many things like their cuisine or the technologies that they are developing now. Aside from these though, they also come up with the craziest ideas for businesses and among the many businesses in Japan that came to be because of this type of thinking, the birth of the manga cafes is surely one of the best business ideas they have come up within the recent decades.

Things You Should Know about Manga Cafes in Japan Especially If You Only Read English

There was once this ordinary coffee shop in the city of Nagoya which is in the Aichi Prefecture. The owner of this shop wanted more customers to come so he decided to think of a plan or a business strategy that would help him get what he wanted.  The plan he devised made use of how the Japanese culture has embraced their manga art because he used manga to lure customers into his shop.


By Steve Nagata from Tokyo, Japan (Manga Kissa 5 Uploaded by Magnus Manske) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

His scheme worked tremendously because the number of his customers grew exponentially but there was a flaw in his system. Since all that the customers needed to do to get a spot at this coffee shop was to buy one drink, the customers simply bought one drink and stayed until their hearts and minds desired. This was a dream for the customers because they got coffee, unlimited manga, and personal space the price of just one drink but it was obviously the contrary for the owner because he wasn’t able to pull in more income despite the increased number of customers.

Other coffee shops adapted his idea with the additional rule of a time limit. Basically, customers got access to all the manga in one shop for the price of one drink but this access would only be valid for a certain amount time. This modified system helped increase the number of customers in these shops while also increasing the income they had by making customers buy another product to replenish their time to read and enjoy the manga in the stores.

Nowadays these types of businesses are known as mangakissa or manga cafés. It has evolved from simply being a coffee shop where you can read manga series into an establishment that offers various services in addition to the food and drinks you can have here. Internet access is one of these services which is why some people can easily interchange the two. Access to the internet is vital for those who can only read English because hardly any of the manga cafes in Japan have English manga in them. At least with proper internet access, you can read or watch anime via streaming. This type of manga café usually charges its customers by the hour.

There is another type of manga café that offers more services like a having snack and beverage vending machine that goes great with other services like video games and television. Usually, the manga cafes that offer these services are the ones that also other overnight stays. This particular type of manga café is the reason why cafes like this are sometimes seen as a better choice for a place to stay compared to a hostel. It is also a great alternative to booking a hotel room if all you need is a place to stay for a night.

It usually offers options for sleeping packages which are namely the Internet seat, Reclining seat, Flat seat, and Twin seat. The “Internet” seat package comes with a regular chair and a computer. The “Reclining” seat package comes with a luxurious reclining chair in a private area, The flat seat packages comes with a cubicle that has enough space to sprawl in and a floor seat. Lastly, the twin seat package comes with the privacy given by a cubicle along with a very comfy mini sofa. Availing any of these packages permits the customer to use a shower in the establishment. You should ask the staff members at the manga café you are staying in about shower usage because using the showers can sometimes cost you extra, depending on the manga café establishment.

The Japanese can be quite particular about etiquette so if you don’t want to risk leaving a bad impression during your stay at a manga café, here are some tips. Aside from common courtesy, you should respect the rules of the café. Some cafes have specific rules they implement for different reasons. Whatever that reason may be, as customers, you should obey these rules because that shows respect. Also, remember that having private spaces does not mean that they can’t hear you through thin walls. With this being said, don’t be too noisy in your respective spaces and if you are watching something quite loud, maximize the provision of noise-canceling headphones to give respect for those who don’t want any noise during their stay at the café as well. Much like in the other places of Japan, removing your shoes before going inside is also an act of respect. In the case of manga cafes, you need only remove your shoes when you are about to enter your cubicle or booth.

Manga Cafes That Are Considered To Be the Best in Japan

Since manga cafes are quite popular nowadays, you can expect to easily find a few of them without even trying. Having a lot of options can sometimes be a problem so to help you out with this possible dilemma of having to go through multiple cafes to find your best option, here is a guide to some tried and tested manga cafes found in Japan that will surely wow you with their service even if you’re on a budget. The first of a couple would be the Media Café Popeye.

There are a lot of branches of Media Café Popeye. In the Kanto area alone, there are 30 branches scattered. One of the more popularly visited branches though is the one in Shinjuku, Tokyo. There are some manga cafes that require you to register for a membership card for about 100 to 200 yen but for the Media Café Popeye, there is no need for this. Like most manga cafes, this brand is open for 24 hours.

Another notable brand is the GeraGera Manga Café. It has a frog as its mascot and much like Media Café Popeye, it also has establishments scattered all over Tokyo. The branch found in Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku though is one of their more popular branches so if you are near this area, this would be the branch to check out. It is open for 24 hours and it is one of the manga cafes brands that make use of membership cards. For this particular brand, the membership cards would cost 100 yen. These cards can be used for the other branches as well.

If you are looking for a manga café that offers just the basics, like a chair and a PC, the brands mentioned above will definitely satisfy you already. On the other hand, if you are looking for more exotic services in these manga cafes, you can check out the Takarajima24 brand. They are open for 24 hours and have establishments all over Tokyo as well. The thing that sets this brand apart from others is that they offer rooms that have VR games as well as karaoke. Because of these extra services, the prices here are a bit more expensive compared to other manga café brands but considering what you are paying for, it can easily be seen as a worthy price to pay.

The History of the Japan Expo and How the Manga Café Became Part of It

You would think that the people behind something called Japan Expo would be Japanese but this event was actually founded by the Frenchmen named Jean-François Dufour, Sandrine Dufour and Thomas Sirdey who grew up watching anime and reading manga in the 80’s. The Japan Expo can be called a passion project because it was created by these 3 men to just contribute in spreading and promoting the manga and Japanese animation.

Because of their intense activeness in associations that promote this type of Japanese art in the 90’s, they were able to build a fan base of around 1000 to 2000 people prior to conceptualizing the event now known as Japan Expo in the year 2000. The very first expo welcomed 3200 guests on a 2500 sq. meter area. It has grown tremendously since then and the 247473 guests that came during the Japan Expo of 2015 confirmed this growth in popularity even further.

It has evolved a lot throughout its years of existence and they now have a place in the expo called “The Manga Café” which is where artists come to meet and greet fans as well as talk about their dreams and aspirations for manga and anime. For this coming year, the Japan Expo’s theme is “French Touch” and in the spirit of this theme, you can expect to see artists like François Descraques, Guillaume Lapeyre, Maliki, Emmanuel Nhieu and Tony Valente. Each of these artists has contributed to the manga and anime world greatly and if you wish to meet them, you should start planning your trip to the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center during the 5th of July 2018 until the 8th of July 2018.

From all the information mentioned above, it can clearly be understood why manga cafes are becoming more and more popular. This business ties in greatly with the manga culture that continues to grow throughout the years and they have been able to develop their services by accommodating advancements in technology as well as providing small to medium spaces to enjoy these services in. It is a unique experience to have so if you are in Japan and are also interested in trying out the many services they have in these establishments, book your trip in a way that makes it possible for you to see the specific manga cafes you want to visit on your adventure.