[Anime Culture Monday] Honey's Anime Hot Spot – Square Enix Café @ Akihabara

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Square Enix is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Japanese video games, most notably for Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts. While two Square Enix cafes already exist in Tokyo (the tiny Artnia Cafe near the company's headquarters in Shinjuku and Eorzea, the Final Fantasy XIV cafe in Akihabara), a brand new one just opened this fall a short walk from Akihabara Station. While the theme is going to be rotating to cater to various Square Enix games, of course, the first theme is the long-awaited Final Fantasy XV. We couldn't wait to go and check it out! Keep reading to learn what you can expect to experience, what you can take home with you, and how to get a table.

From die-hard fans to even just the casually curious, Square Enix Café is a really fun place to get some food. Whether you have had a chance to play the games or not, the food is all really fun and based on cool concepts, and the café itself is very clean and modern. If you already have fallen in love with Final Fantasy XV, are a fan of the older games, or just want to check out somewhere new and fun to eat, this new café is exactly what you’re looking for! And what can beat Akihabara for a location?

Square Enix Café Akihabara Info

Location
  • Access
    • 1-1 Yodobashi Akiba, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Train Lines
    • Yamanote Line, Chuo-Sobu Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Sazanami Line, Nikko-Kinugawa Line JR "Akihabara” Station 1-min. from Showa-dori Exit
    • Subway Hibiya Line "Akihabara” Station 1 min. from Showa-dori Exit
    • Tsukuba Express "Akihabara” Station 1-min. from Showa-dori Exit
Cost of Admission
Hours of Operation

The Experience

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At the time of publishing this article, the cafe is almost strictly reservation only, and reservations can be hard to get especially for weekends. Be sure to plan in advance when you want to go and make your reservations online. After you book your time slot, you will be given a code to take to Lawson's convenience store to use on the Loppi machine, and once you pay your seating charge you will have reserved your spot! And the seating charge does come with your first drink free, including alcoholic and soft drink choices, so don't be upset too much by the 500 yen charge. Once you have your reservation, all that remains is heading off to the cafe! Luckily it's easy to find, just look for the giant Yodobashi Akiba building and it's right on the first floor!

This is first and foremost a cafe, so onto the food and drinks of course! There is one menu that is available all the time at the Square Enix Cafe regardless of the featured theme, including several massive hamburgers held together by mini iconic swords, dipping pancakes, and a large selection of cocktails. In addition to this standard menu, there is another menu that features the cafe's current theme. For us, it was full of food that the Ignis, one of the main FFXV characters, makes in the game. There were also four drinks inspired by each of the four leading males in the game, each available with or without alcohol - and a special character tumbler if you wanted, too!

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Ordering from the special menu meant free gifts as well! Each of the limited items came with a small poster of a featured character also eating that same food. A few of the bigger meal choices even came with a larger poster! And after your first drink that is included with the seating fee, any additional drink came with a free coaster of a random FFXV character. Not wanting to miss out on all the exclusive merchandise, we ordered almost everything from the FFXV special menu. Two of our favourites the "memory lane" pastries Ignis makes for Noctis from his childhood which is delicious, and Shiva's Crystal Crème dessert, which really looks like it's made of snow! When we paid our bill at the end, we were rewarded with quite a lot of cool gifts!

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Additional info

Because the cafe is so new, and especially with the long-awaited release of Final Fantasy XV, it is almost exclusively reservation only right now. While you can try to just walk in during one of the time slots, the chances of a spot being available are slim, so definitely reserve your spot if you want to go! The first reservation slots are from 9am, and the last is 9pm, with a slot every two hours. As a party of just two, we also had to share our table with two more strangers, but it’s a great way to make friends with other fans of course! You are limited to 90 minutes per session, and last order is one hour into your time. If you really want to visit, plan accordingly! But anyone can go to the store, even without going to the actual cafe.

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Ordering was done entirely through an iPad placed on each table, where you could simply click on the pictures to place your order. Be aware that the iPad was entirely in Japanese, however. If you are happy enough with just a picture of your food and guessing through a few buttons to order it, you should be okay. If you're pickier though consider taking a friend that is proficient at reading! Don't let it deter you from going though because there isn't very much Japanese you need to deal with, and you don't have to speak at all if you don't want to. Overall the ordering system was fast and efficient. Other than a speech at the beginning telling you about the café and encouraging you to take a lot of pictures (to make Prompto proud, of course!), there is very little interaction with the servers unless you call them over to the table.

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The cafe itself is sleek and stylish, with a polished concrete and metal interior that gives it a very modern feel. There are three huge TVs, simultaneously playing gameplay footage, and segments from the Kingsglaive film and the Brotherhood anime. There is a Square Enix goods shop with plenty of merchandise that you can visit even without cafe reservations, too. It offers everything from t-shirts and plushies to posters, soundtracks, and even more Japanese souvenirs like fans and handkerchiefs. While a lot of the merchandise was FFXV, there were plenty of products from the other Final Fantasy games, as well as Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts too. Watch out especially for anything that is tagged as being exclusive to the Square Enix shop! The prices are average for anime or video game merchandise at other retailers in Japan. Whether you spend a little or a lot is entirely your choice.


Final Thoughts

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After waiting ten years for Final Fantasy XV to finally release, being at the cafe and seeing gameplay from it, eating food based on the game, and seeing so much merchandise for it was incredibly emotional. If you're a fan of any Square Enix title, but especially if you're one of those who also waited for years for FFXV, be sure to make a pilgrimage to the cafe. And soon, before the theme changes, if you want to see it while it's still FFXV! But even if it has changed, we're sure that you'll still love going if you're a Square Enix fan. The food is decent and well-priced, and it's a fun experience full of exclusive gifts, merchandise, and memories.

And you can’t beat the location! If you’re already around Akihabara picking up your usual gaming and anime goods or hitting the game centres, why not also plan a stop at the Square Enix Café? You can get plenty of good food to fuel yourself for the rest of your day in Akiba, have a few drinks, get some sweet merchandise, and head back out. If you’re really looking for a Final Fantasy-themed day, plan for lunch at Eorzea Café and then dinner here – they’re only about a ten-minute walk away from one another! It’s the kind of day that any Final Fantasy fan would love to experience, and you’re sure to have a great time.

We’re really excited to see what the next featured theme will be! Fingers crossed someday it will be for Kingdom Hearts III!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Square Enix Café? Are you enjoying finally getting to play Final Fantasy XV? What is the next theme you’d like to see the café have? Do you have any questions about getting a reservation or what to do at the café? We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have as best we can in the comments below!

Jet Nebula

Writer

Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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