By Daniel Vesey
The perfect place for a video game cafe had to be none other than the center of Akihabara. Located on the first floor of Yodobashi Akiba, it's just a few steps away from Akihabara station. Drop off your duty free shopping bags and recover your Health Points with original-themed drinks and food from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest saga.
As a showroom for its newest releases, Square Enix Cafe serves as the perfect location to gather fans. Half restaurant and half shop, the cafe has an extensive menu. To get a spot, it is necessary to make a reservation ahead through their official site. The inconvenience is that the site is all in Japanese, making it difficult for foreign tourists to access. A possible solution is to go early when they open, and ask at reception about the day’s shifts, and if they have a spot. That way you can make a reservation on the same day, and wander around Akihabara before your scheduled time. The last shift at 9PM usually has a no reservation policy and free time inside, but it works as first come, first served. Wait in line outside, but make sure to arrive with enough time to get a table. What makes Square Enix Cafe have a shift and reservation system so complicated? Customers have a limited time of 90 minutes in the restaurant, hence the shift system. At the start of every shift, the manager or assistant staff explains the rules, the menu ordering process and the concept of Square Enix Cafe.
Once the customers have ordered from the menu, they are free to wander in the shop area. Check the latest goods and merchandising from their main franchises and video games. On my visit, I ordered from a special limited edition menu, with a drink named after a character from Final Fantasy XV, and the Joshu avocado burger. In my opinion, the quality of the food is pleasantly above average compared to other restaurants or themed cafes. It's enough to justify the price of ¥2100 for a burger and a drink. This place is certainly a heaven for fans of Square Enix.
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Freelance travel journalist and travel consultant. After stepping first time in Japan more than five years ago, I visited the country several times and even became a Tokyoite for two years. My experience in tourism communication and travel fields has led me to numerous adventures around the World and Japan. Creator of hypeintokyo