A latte with art in the foam that reads, "I

Cat Cafes – The Best Thing Out of Japan Since Anime

A sensation only just now gracing our United States shorelines, cat cafes have been widely popular in Japan for many years.  The world’s first cafe actually opened in Taiwan in 1998, but the concept was quickly adopted by the feline-loving, pet-deprived, Japanese culture.  Because of its popularity, the idea is commonly attributed to the latter (After all, they even have entire islands dedicated to the fuzz balls (a must on our return bucket list)!

A cat looking up at a cat cafe in Tokyo, Japan

Thus, upon deciding to go to Japan, first on my list of activities was a visit to a cat cafe or two.

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5 Awesome Things To Do in Akihabara

Akihabara has so much to offer, so it is difficult to narrow it down to 5 top things, but these were some of our favorites while we were there (in no particular order):

  1. Cat Cafe: Visit a cat cafe, and play with cute little bundles of joy.   Neko Jalala has a great selection of furry felines and is located within a 10 minute walk of Akihabara station.  Here you can have a beverage and cuddle up next to a sweet loving cat.  They even have treats you can purchase to make the purrballs even happier.

  1. Shopping:  Akihabara’s electric town is full of shops packed with the latest tech gadgets, gaming consoles, and computers at a discounted price.  They also have manga, anime, and video game shops that span several stories with a different theme on each floor.  It is easy to lose yourself in one of these places on a rainy day (of which we had a few while we were there).

  1. Karaoke:  In Japan, you don’t have to sing in front of 100 people you don’t know. You get your very own private room that seats you and your closest friends.  At Big Echo Karaoke, you can order food and drinks from your room, rent cosplay, and sing songs in Chinese, Japanese, and English.  They have several K-pop, J-pop, anime, and even baseball-team-themed rooms.  Japanese songs come with some entertaining videos on the screen.  Gather up a few of your Japanese friends, and have some fun!

  1. Maid Cafe:  Waitresses dressed as maids are on hand to serve you, their master or mistress.  Their speech is almost sickeningly cutesy, and they’ll let you take a picture with them for a small fee.  Be sure to bring your own digital camera for them to use unless you don’t mind a lower-quality printout from theirs.  The food is almost too adorable to eat, lovingly shaped into teddybears and smiley faces.  Maidreamin is a popular maid cafe, but you will find several of them scattered all around Akihabara.  Just look for the maid costumes and fliers; you can’t miss them.

  1. Gaming:  If you want to play a retro game from the 80s, there’s a video game bar to do it.  In many electronics stores you will find just about any game you could possibly dream about playing or even buying for yourself.  If you have a Japanese console, your options are unlimited.

There are many other fun things listed below that didn’t make this list but could be in your top 5.

  • Watch J-Pop live idol performances like AKB48
  • Visit a weapons store with katana and shuriken blades
  • Explore a department store like Don Quijote for souvenirs
  • Stop by the Gundam Cafe if you are a robot/mecha lover
  • Enjoy the shops on Chuo Dori street on Sundays between 1-5pm, as it becomes a pedestrian-friendly zone that is closed to cars and bicycles
  • Food!!!  Food!!  And more food!  It’s everywhere, and it’s hard to go wrong with any restaurant

Have you visited Akihabara?  What did we miss?  What makes your top 5?

Preparing for International Trips (Japan)

Last week, we went through some planning tips for an international trip like Japan.  Here, we continue with some considerations while traveling internationally.  Our plan for Japan was a great template for future trips as we seemed to pull it off with only a few minor issues.  This was our experience. Continue reading “Preparing for International Trips (Japan)”

How to Plan an International Trip to Japan

Planning an international trip can seem daunting, especially if you have never done it before. There are so many things to think about like currency, language, transportation, activities, passports, flights, hotels, and food.  Japan was the first international vacation we’ve planned, and while it was challenging to put together, we found it was a fun and successful trip. After going through the exercise ourselves, here is how to plan an international trip to Japan.

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