**Please note that the information in this post is as accurate on June 26 2017. **
Conan Café 2017 in Tokyo has ended.
I FINALLY had a chance to go to a Detective Conan themed Café during my Japan trip in 2017. The last 2 years it was on in Japan I’d either missed the dates (i.e the café had ended) or the café had moved on to another city/prefecture that I wasn’t in during my travels.
However, due to overwhelming demand this year, they decided to extend the café period to early July 2017 and the extension dates fell within my travel dates in June. Yay!
This was also especially awesome for me because I got to meet 青山 剛昌 sensei in November 2016 and had my mangas signed by him and now I have a chance to go to a Detective Conan Café less than a year later .
Unlike Animate Cafes or Anime Plaza, the Detective Conan themed cafe allows walk-ins, although they highly recommend you to do an advanced reservation via their online system. The reservation fee is 500 yen +tax per reservation. Here’s the official website for 2017.
Seeing how I was in Tokyo, the logical choice was to go to the Harajuku’s branch which was also its main outlet if I read it correctly on the website.
Thinking that my plan was to visit the café on a Monday Morning, why not just save the reservation fee and do a walk-in? After all, it’s a weekday morning and an off-peak timing at 11 am, so the café shouldn’t be full right? WRONG!
After getting lost and finally located the café (and subsequently finding a much easier shortcut to the place that would have made it so much easier to find if it was mentioned in the website), I was greeted by a sign that roughly translated to: “Sorry today the café is completely full”, which means that no walk-ins will be entertained for the day.
Well, thank goodness, I was to be in Tokyo for about 2 weeks so I still had time to get online and make a (yay to travel sim data cards!) reservation for another day, paying the reservation fee of course. (You can only make a reservation up to 3 days before the planned date of reservation)
Having secured my reservation for the following week’s Monday, I made my way to the café using the short-cut that I had found during my first visit. The shortcut, if you are interested, was to directly cut across Takeshita Street @ Harajuku, walking to the end of the street until you see a Murasaki Sports Shop across the street. The café was housed in a building just slightly right behind the Sports Shop.
When I arrived about 5 to 10 minutes after my scheduled time (I was late), I saw a huge queue at the door.
I had initially thought these were people queuing for walk-ins or to get walk-ins reservations for later timings in the day. Turns out, they were ALL people who had made reservations (like me) that were queuing to get their verification done (In this aspect, they were similar to Animate Café and Anime Plaza Café that does checks prior to entry to the café). What was different though, was that you needed to show them the print-out or mobile screen-shot of the email confirmation of your reservation (Photo IDs were not required though).
After getting my verification done, I was handed a menu and a tag number (more on that later) while waiting to get into the actual cafe. (You can visit the menu here for a clearer picture.)
As I had already done my homework and checked out their website, I knew what I wanted to order. Kaito Kid’s drink (怪盗キッドのマジックソーダ～It’s a showtime!～)and Heiji & Kazuha’s themed meal (平次と和葉の大阪串揚げ定食) .
Unfortunately, for some reason Kaito Kid’s drink was not available on that day. They told me it would be available tomorrow. Disappointed, I decided to order the “Culprit Smoothie” (犯人スムージー) instead and it was a great decision ^ ^
So after placing my order, I waited… and waited… and started taking random photos in the stairwell I was queuing at. Click on the photos below for a larger version.
After waiting for about maybe 5 to 10 minutes (there were quite a few people ahead of me in the queue) they showed me to a four-seater table which was great for me.
Looking around, the other solo diner was sitting at a two-seater table (see above photo) and my particular session had a lot of couples which probably explained why I eventually got a four-seater table all to myself. (Yay to more space!) Although in hindsight, I think the other table was meant for another solo diner but he/she didn’t turn up? The only downside was that the table was directly in front of a photo-spot and props so a lot of kids were actually hovering behind me trying to take photos. Most of them were pretty mindful of me so they tried not to disturb me so it was still good.
Another plus point of the 4-seater was that I really wanted the non-sd version of the placemat (which we get to bring back) and since there was no other diners seated at the table next to me, I was able to request for a swap which they gave! ^ ^ Yay~
Oh and remember how I said walk-ins were almost impossible? There was a guy (presumably a traveler just like me) who came up to the cafe halfway during my meal and asked in English if he could do walk-ins and how to make reservations if you can’t. Even though the table next to me could have accommodated another couple, they refused because they have allocated and accounted for all vacancies of the day/session. So just do a reservation if you ever go to a Detective Conan Café, it’ll save you a lot of hassle.
Now for the FOOD!
First up came my smoothie! And I got Amuro as my random coaster!! 😊 And Yes I’m going to gush more on how absolutely delicious the smoothie was!! Thick and creamy but not too sweet, the black sesame smoothie really hits the spot on a hot and sweltering day.
Next up, the main course! It’s really quite decent and filling. The food/drinks all came pretty quickly and the meal came piping hot!
As I was eating, I begin waiting for my number to be called so that I could go buy some merchandises. (A tag card with a number is issued to all customers during verification before they enter the dining area)
And taking some photos around the dining area in the meantime. (I hung around till the end of my session so I could take some more photos) Click on the photos below for a larger version.
Perhaps due to the café being in its extension period, a lot of the exclusive merchandises were already sold out by the time I was there. I had really wanted the café plates but it was sold out too. So I just ended up buying a clear file and a Shinichi acrylic stand (Ran’s was sold out too!).
Of all the anime themed cafes I’ve been to in recent years, I personally find the Detective Conan (limited time) themed café to be both the easiest & complicated I’ve been to so far. For starters, you have to pay a reservation fee (540yen after tax) due to the fact that walk-ins are almost impossible. You have to order your food/drinks items @ the door before you enter the actual dining area and you can only order once. (What’s up with that?) As for buying merchandise goods, you would have to wait for your number to be called in sequential order before you can proceed to the merchandise corner to buy anything. As mentioned, a tag card with a number is issued to all customers during verification before they enter the dining area
On the positive side, the quality of the food is really very good. I was honestly surprised at how tasty the food and drinks were. While I was initially disappointed that Kaito Kid’s drink was not available on that day, I was so glad I ordered the Culprit Smoothie (Black Sesame Smoothie) in its stead. OMG! It was so good!!
Despite the hiccups and some uncertainties that I had encountered during the early moments of the café experience (I wasn’t really sure what was happening half the time and was really relying on my observational skills and my half-baked Japanese to get by), I genuinely had a great time and enjoyed the food/drinks and time at the café. A friend suggested that perhaps as this was a functioning café that happened to be collaborating with Detective Conan could account for the good quality of the food and its popularity among the Japanese.
So I do recommend you to visit a Detective Conan Café if the opportunity arises.
Oh and always make a prior reservation, just in case! 🙂