Have you ever stayed a night in a Manga Cafe? If you have, what do you think about that experience? If you haven’t and you are game for a new experience, do try it out! So what exactly is a Manga Cafe, you might ask. Firstly, “Manga” actually means comics. In Japanese, they are commonly known as 「漫画喫茶」(Manga Kissa). “Kissa” is the short form for “Kissaten” 「喫茶店」which means “Cafe”. A Manga Cafe in Japan, is not just a cafe where you can have a cup of coffee and enjoy some Mangas off the shelf, but it is also considered a backup place to spend the night for those who have missed the last train or travelers who are on a really tight budget! At a Manga Cafe, you’re required to pay based on your intended hours of stay and on the kind of room or area you pick. Depending on the kind of Manga Cafe or the company of the Manga Cafe, there may even be facilities like showers, saunas, theater rooms and so on. Let’s not delay any further and get into the details shall we?
— Rana公式☆担当らなかさん (@rana_0909) 2016年4月21日
Depending on the area that you’re in, the dominating Manga Cafe may differ. However, the Manga Cafe brand called “Popeye” is one of the most biggest Manga Cafes in the whole nation. “Popeye” have so many stores that sometimes you may have 2 Popeye stores in the same area! They are so developed that every store may have different designs and different facilities of different sizes.
However, if you are not a fan of being surrounded or resting with cigarette smell all around you, please do be careful when selecting the Manga Cafe you go to. Some cafes do not have a non-smoking area while some have a few number of cubicles for non-smoking areas. Be sure to ask at the counter when you are asking for the kind of rooms they have available.
Rooms or hangout space
Your next dilemma might be choosing your area to hangout. Companies like “Popeye” offer you a whole variety of rooms. Your selection can start from just a open cubicle with a desk facing the wall, a computer equipped with headphones to a whole private and enclosed room to yourself which they call “Theater Room” or a private “Karaoke Room”! Of course, depending on the kind of room or area, the pricing would vary. Pricing will be discussed at the next topic. If you prefer to stretch out your legs and be able to completely lie down flat, you might want to consider the “Mat Room” or the “Pair Mat Room” if you are not alone, where the room will come equipped with 1 to 2 computers, 1 TV and headsets as well as blankets to keep you warm. You will be enclosed by the wooden dividers around you but it is still open air so do be careful of your noise levels as everyone will be able to hear.
After you have got your rooms and settled in, you may start to enjoy the facilities. All the enclosed cubicles will come ready with a blanket. If you are particular about cleanliness, do check the blanket once before you use it as it might not be as clean as you think. If you are traveling with a female companion or you are female yourself, some cafes might allow you to have a special thick warm and freshly washed blankets! Apart from that, you will be provided a pair of slippers which you can use to walk around the cafe. If you need to exchange blankets or slippers, you may do so at the blanket and slipper cupboard which they should have near the paying counters or just approach one of the staff if you can speak Japanese. Other items like chargers or game sets can also be rented for a fee. Then you have showers, tanning machines and if the place is big enough, it may even be equipped with darts machines, pachinko machines and others. Of course, you will have a whole wide selection of Mangas to choose from but be warned as they are all in Japanese! Computers are installed with softwares which you need to use to work as well as games and programs where you can watch anime, movies and even AV videos, so please be wary if you are bringing minors along with you.
Food & Drinks
— ちらいむ (@chilime) 2015年10月24日
Do not worry about being hungry in a Manga cafe as they will have vending machines where you can purchase instant noodles or high-tech vending machines where the machine will heat up and cook a whole bento meal for you. Free flow of drinks from the drinks dispensers are also available where you can get all kinds of drinks from soft drinks to hot soups, and of course tea and coffee. They are usually self service, so do help yourself to them throughout your stay in the cafe.
— 自遊空間八王子→アカウント移行しました。 (@jiqoo_hachioji) 2015年6月27日
Pricing would definitely differ based on your time spent and the kind of rooms you have selected. Normally pricing would start from about 400yen for one hour. They will also have packages for those who intend to stay for a longer period of time. They have packages like 3 hour packages, 5 hour packages or even 12 hour packages especially those who wish to stay the night. 12 hour packages would range from about 1500yen to 4000yen or more depending on the area and kind of room.
To sum it all up, if you intend to stay in a Manga Cafe, be sure to think carefully about your budget, the amount of privacy which you desire and whether you need to smoke or not. If you overstay your intended duration, you will be charged additional fees. Manga Cafes, a good back up plan for those who urgently need it but if you can afford it, then do opt for getting a stay in a proper hotel. Another reminder is that a night in a Manga Cafe is not for comfort but for the enjoyment of mangas or internet or TV and just to have a roof over your head if you are suddenly stranded without transportation to get home. Lastly, Manga Cafes are not foreigner friendly so please be sure that you are able to speak Japanese or you are traveling with someone who can speak Japanese.