Cafe La Boheme is a parkside cafe and dining experience sure to have high nostalgic value to fans of the 2016 film "Kimi no Na wa" (Your Name). A popular cafe before the movie, the cafe setting where Taki conducted his part-time job as a waiter has now become an attraction for fans of the recent animated feature. True to the movie the cafe is filled with young workers in uniformed attire serving appetizing Italian selections.
With massive windows and views of the neighboring Shinjuku-Gyoen park, the location is one of the highlights of this quiet cafe. The cafe is situated perfectly for a tea or coffee break after viewing one of Tokyo's most famous parks.
The lunch menu focuses on Italian recommendations including Prosciutto, Charcuterie, and Caprese. An ample selection of soups, salads, pastas (over ten selections), risotto and pizza fill out the menu. Ingredients are carefully selected and includes US prime beef, buffalo mozzarella cheese, caprese with burrata cheese and a wide range of pasta dishes using ingredients imported from Italy. Prices start around 1,000 yen. For dinner, expect similar foods with a wider range of options and prices closer to 3000 yen per person.
For those interested in recreating the experience of the movie you will want to order the Margherita pizza. There are plenty of young staff employed so don't be surprised if your waiter or waitress resembles one of the staff from the movie.
During the evenings, there is a spacious bar area where you can try selections that include beers, wines, cocktails and fresh fruit concoctions. The interior warms up in the evenings as the natural light is replaced by the bright chandeliers which really draw out the red walls and curtain decor.
We had the chance to sit down with the Manager of La Boheme Cafe, Shinjuku-Gyoen, Kosaku Nozaki, to give us some insight into the cafe and its connection with Kimi no Na wa.
JapanTravel: How has business changed since the release of Kimi no Na Wa?
Kosaku Nozaki: There has been a shift in the demographic of our clientele to a younger audience and an increase in foreigners. We also have many more staff applications for servers who may have been inspired by the movie.
JapanTravel: Was the movie a fairly accurate depiction of the staff and culture of La Boheme Cafe.
Kosaku Nozaki: The movie was not officially based on our cafe, but the artwork and scenes are a very accurate portrayal of the design and interior. They also did a good job of showing the interactions between workers and showing the differences in attitudes servers have in the break room as opposed to being in front of customers.
JapanTravel: Do you have any advice for potential tourists visiting your cafe?
Kosaku Nozaki: Business has increased by as much as 150% compared to a year ago. We regularly see customers start to line up outside before doors open from around 11:30 in the morning. For lunch be prepared to wait as long as 30 minutes to an hour if you come during peak times during the weekend. Weekdays are typically less crowded.
For meal selections, I would recommend the steamed chicken pasta or the scampi with tomato sauce.
JapanTravel: Thank you very much for your time and say hello to Taki for us!
Cafe La Boheme first opened in 1980 and currently has 15 locations around Tokyo. Each location is quite unique in design and decor, but there is a universal theme of old-world Europe and the carefree way of life reminiscent of Bohemian culture. The Shinjuku-Gyoen location seats up to 99 and is regularly open from 11:30 ~ 24:00 with the lunch menu available from 11:30 ~ 14:00.