1. Pompompurin Cafe, Harajuku
Sanrio is responsible for some of the world’s most famous cute characters and Pompompurin is one of their most popular creations. He is an adorable Golden Retriever who sports a little beret and spends his days sleeping and eating puddings. Pompompurin was voted most popular Sanrio character in 1997 and 2015, so expect plenty of fans when visiting this wonderfully quaint little dessert house of his. There are two branches, one in Harajuku, and the other in Yokohama – just outside of Tokyo. Choose from Pompompurin-themed food like coconut milk curry and mango parfait. The cafe is decorated with Pompompurin and his friends for plenty of photo opportunities, and there is a gift shop.
Nearest station: Harajuku (for Tokyo)
2. Ice Monster, Harajuku
Kakigori is a famous Japanese dessert of flavoured shaved ice, but Taiwan-import Ice Monster has taken this to another level with whole fruits, sauces to pour and mouth-watering sweet toppings. The fluffy shaved ice mixed with your desired toppings look and taste sensational. We recommend the Bubble Milk Tea-flavoured Ice Monster, which comes with a separate pot of tapioca pearls and milky sauce.
Nearest station: Meiji Jingu-mae
3. Kawaii Monster Cafe, Harajuku
Created by Harajuku fashion designer Sebastian Masuda, Kawaii Monster Cafe oozes cuteness. Step through the doors into a place completely out of this world with staff dressed as unicorns; there are lit-up rainbows and carousels where dancers perform for guests. It really is an experience like no other. The food is well-presented (our favourites are the sundaes) but this place is more renowned for the amazing interior visuals.
Nearest station: Meiji Jingu-mae
4. Fujiya Restaurant, Shibuya
Fujiya restaurant mascot Peko-chan has become as famous as the establishment itself. She is the lip-licking cute young girl with pigtails. In the Shibuya branch, you can try delicious shortcakes, cream cakes and huge sundaes. There is also a chance that a large toy Peko-chan will join you at the table, perfect for photo fun.
Nearest station: Shibuya
5. Cafe Blanket, Roppongi
Snoopy fans will fall in love with Cafe Blanket in Roppongi. It is part of the Snoopy Museum, so a ticket is required for entry, which filters out the crowds and makes for a more relaxing atmosphere. The cafe is named after Peanuts character Linus’ security blanket, symbolised by a large blue table at the centre. Cafe Blanket serves food and beverages with an American West Coast twist, and everything from food to napkins is decorated with images of the famous comic strip gang. There is a pretty outdoor terrace area to enjoy when the weather is mild.
Nearest station: Roppongi
6. Peter Rabbit Garden, Jiyugaoka
The lovely neighbourhood of Jiyugaoka is home to the Peter Rabbit Garden cafe – a tribute to the children’s books by British author Beatrix Potter. The cafe is a gorgeous country-style garden, decorated with blooming flowers and character sculptures. Meals are presented with themed plates and subtle details, and most importantly they taste great, especially the cheese buns. If you’re lucky, you’ll even have a fluffy toy bunny companion join you at the table. Fans will feel like they’ve just stepped into the world of the classic children’s books; even for those who have never read one, it’s still very much a treat.
Nearest station: Jiyugaoka
7. Cafe de Miki with Hello Kitty, Odaiba
Did you know that Hello Kitty is actually a British cat? Cafe de Miki with Hello Kitty is therefore themed after her home city of London, and found in Tokyo’s popular port-side dating spot, Odaiba. The cafe serves classic English treats and beverages including scones, pancakes and of course, a tiered afternoon tea. Lattes are worth ordering as they come topped with Hello Kitty art. Many drinks come with a pretty coaster which you can take home as a souvenir of your experience.
Nearest station: Daiba
8. Milky Way Cafe, Ikebukuro
This is a star-themed cafe with sandwiches, desserts and beverages decorated with stars of the galaxy. Be sure to order some ice cream as the selection is varied and beautiful – expect toppings like cheesecake, waffles and chocolate stars. The large cafe windows allow you to people-watch as you enjoy your drink and dessert. The Ikebukuro area is a lively neighbourhood full of shops, restaurants and karaoke joints, and it’s the place where trendy Japanese youth gather.
Nearest station: Ikebukuro
9. Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery, Tokyo DisneySea
Over at Tokyo DisneySea in the Mediterranean Harbor, you’ll find Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery. They serve light lunch items such as sandwiches and pastries, but what really gets Disney fans excited are the Little Green Dumplings (below). These are the green aliens from the Toy Story franchise, in the form of Japanese mochi, with a variety of flavoured fillings including strawberry and chocolate.
Nearest station: Tokyo DisneySea
10. Cinnamoroll Dream Cafe, Sanrio Puroland
Sanrio Puroland is an indoor theme park dedicated to the famous Sanrio characters, with rides, shows and themed stores and restaurants. The attraction wouldn’t be complete without a themed cafe too, and this comes in the shape of the Cinnamoroll Dream Cafe, situated on the fourth floor of Rainbow Hall. It is themed after Cinnamoroll, the cute white puppy. Delectable dessert options include puddings and cream puffs which you can tuck into while watching Sanrio anime on surrounding television screens.
Nearest station: Tama Center
PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM, ICE MONSTER JAPAN FACEBOOK, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE FACEBOOK, SNOOPY MUSEUM TOKYO FACEBOOK, SANRIO PUROLAND
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.