The recently opened Monster Cafe in Harajuku is everything you would expect in a Harajuku-themed cafe - heaps of pastel, quirky and sometimes scary-cute looking characters, sugary repetitive pop music and lots of miss-matched colorful fashion.
The cafe is designed by the world-renowned Sebastian Matsuda - father of the psychedelic Harajuku fashion brand 6% Doki Doki and made famous by being the cinematographer and artist influence of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's music video "Pon Pon Pon". If you are familiar with Kyary you know what to expect and you can see traces of Kyarys kawaii aesthetic floating around the cafe;for example one of the staff members "Candy" sports hair that looks strikingly familiar to Kyarys hair style in her MV for "Fashion Monster."
When you arrive at the Cafe you need to select which area you will be in - There are 4 areas and a secret room set aside for reservations. Milk stand is a room based around...Milk? Various animal heads hang in the air, drinking milk from fluorescent milk bottles and lit-up straws.Mushroom disco is exactly as the name states, there are lots of colorful mushrooms in varying sizes. The Macaron room is a little more mature and easier on the eyes, decorated with sweet pastel macaron sweets and finally the "jellyfish bar" is a bar with a jellyfish theme!
When you first enter the cafe you are greeted by a sugary carousel, with strange animals with glowy red eyes that appear to be melting and various iced fruits. Unfortunately you cannot ride the carousel but it adds a very circus-like feeling to the cafe.
The mushroom stand is very prismatic and hypnotizing with its array of bold colors and...Tentacles?!
The mushrooms act as parasols over the various booths, which is a nice touch, however I think this is the least popular area.
My personal favorite is the "Jellyfish bar"! The bar itself is made of frosted plastic with little glowing lights inside that gradually change color. The bar is where you can purchase specific alcoholic drinks that you cannot get in the other areas in a bar atmosphere. My favorite charm point of this area is the luminous jellyfish lamps that are hanging from the ceiling, they also change color, however with a different hue to the background which makes a very ethereal under-the-sea atmosphere.
The sad part about this cafe is that it is quite expensive - you need to pay a 500yen table charge each, plus everyone has to order at least one drink and one food each, plus tax. This is more than you would expect to pay in a normal restaurant, but you are of course paying for the kawaii atmosphere and themed food.
The food is...Unusual to say the least,but it was all delicious; their unique feature is that they have brightly colored sauces; green, blue, yellow and red sauces make each plate look like an artists pallet but they all had delicious and delicate flavors. There were unusual looking items on the menu such as "rainbow pasta" but also unusual tasting dishes such as "chocolate chicken". The food was a mix of Japanese and western - most of the food was fried however sushi was on the menu.
There were also a selection of beautifully crafted fruit milkshakes and pancakes too, you could get a combined set with pasta, and a drink or pancakes and a drink for cheaper too!
Another problem is that the cafe is quite dimly lit so it is hard to get good quality pictures, so I am sorry for the lack of eye-candy in this article, but at the end of your meal you can take pictures with the Kawaii monster staff!
"Candy" is the staff member with the blue Kyary-esque hair whilst "Dolly" (my personal favorite) is the boy (yes, boy!) with the white wig and heart-themed coordinate. There are a lot of awesome staff members but they are working on different days, it is announced on their Instagram which days they are going if you want your picture with a specific "monster". Their Instagram name is "kawaiimonstercafe" if you want to see more pictures!
The location is opposite the famous "LaForet" shopping center in Harajuku, look up and it should be on the fourth floor of another building. Surprisingly it is usually pretty empty so you shouldn't have to make a reservation unless you want to visit the secret "cat room".
Make sure to add it to your Tokyo bucket list and don't forget to dress up!