I was on a hunt for the cutest cafes in Japan and came across Pompompurin Cafe in Harajuku. Japan is well-known for creating kawaii (cute) dishes and this cafe did not disappoint. The entire yellow cafe explodes with cuteness from their decor to tabletop settings to dishes.
We were staying at Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku and took the Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station, which was only a couple of stops. When you exit the station, look for the huge sign that says "Takeshita Street". It's pretty hard to miss, but if you get lost, look for the huge DAISO store and you'll know you're on the correct street. Continue straight down Takeshita Street for about 5 minutes and you'll see a building that says CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU. Take the stairs to the third floor and you have arrived at Pompompurin Cafe!
I was so excited when I walked into the cafe because everything about it was super duper cute. Every corner of the cafe was decorated with Pompompurin and the brand's colors (yellow, white and brown), even down to the light fixtures.
There is plenty of seating and we had no problem getting a seat, but have read reviews that there can be about an hour wait at peak times and on weekends. We visited on a weeknight around 6PM and there were only a handful of people in the cafe.
The menu was adorable, of course, and practically every dish is designed with the character. We were given a Japanese and English menu. They had dishes like curry, roast beef, beef stroganoff and desserts. Prices are a bit on the expensive side, but you're paying extra for the atmosphere. I wanted to get the cutest looking dish (which was practically all of them) and went with the roast beef entree and a caffè latte. If you're a huge fan of Pompompurin, you can get a souvenir mug and a 2-piece souvenir pudding set.
When we got our dishes, I practically squealed with excitement because it was so darn cute. The detail of the food presentation was just perfect. The caffè latte came in a charming mug topped with marshmallow characters and a red heart above them. The roast beef dish was presented with Pompompurin as the centerpiece made out of yellow rice and it's hat shaped from an egg. I'm pretty sure I took a hundred photos before I started eating or drinking.
We read some reviews that the service was terrible and the food was average, but I thought they were just exaggerating. Sadly, they weren't. The food was just average, like the reviews stated, and the service was so bad that it became a joke to us. We just had to laugh at the miserable server that clearly did not want to be there and did not enjoy her job. I understand that being a server isn't the best job in the world (I used to be a server myself), but when you're in a cute cafe like this, you expect to be served by happy staff members, not gloomy ones. Whoever owns this place obviously doesn't care about who they hire, which is odd in Japan since the country is known for excellent customer service practically everywhere you go.
After you eat, you can browse around their little gift shop with plush toys, keychains, bags, notebooks and more. I'm not even a fan of Pompompurin, but their merchandise was so cute that I actually considered getting something.
There are several Pompompurin cafes throughout Japan and the largest one is in Yokohama, which has better reviews than the one in Harajuku. They also offer more dishes on their menu.
Although the service wasn't the best and the food was just average, I'm still happy we visited the cafe. Next time I'm in Japan, I'd love to try out another character themed cafe. Have you ever been to a character themed cafe? If so, we'd love to hear about it!
POM POM PURIN CAFE
ADDRESS: 1-701 JINGUMAE, SHIBUYAKU, TOKYO, CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU 3F
HOURS: 11AM - 9PM (LAST CALL FOR FOOD 8PM)