A playlist of The Sound of Kirby Café to listen to while reading.
You may be thinking, ‘A Kirby Café?! What are you doing Japan!?’ Themed cafes are not unusual in Japan and are fairly common. While I have yet to go to a maid cafe, I have been to the Gundam, the Gudetama Cafe and multiple cats cafe. Sometimes these cafes are almost like temporary exhibits — only existing for a short amount of time, or “touring” around the country. This is exactly the case with the Kirby Cafe. Visiting a cafe themed after your favorite show or product is no doubt a guilty pleasure for many people. The themed goods within the cafe range from boring cafe food, to having interestingly designed food.
Previously, a very limited Pokemon Cafe was held in Tokyo. The Kirby Café is also a temporary cafe. It will only exist for a couple months in Osaka, and Tokyo. Nagoya will have a gift shop, but no cafe. The cafe was created by Sparkle&CO,LLC. The Kirby Café is not their first venture into the cafe business either — they previously operated a Detective Conan Cafe (website is in Japanese). What makes the Kirby Café so special is HAL Laboratories and Nintendo’s involvement with it. HAL worked on making the unique soundtrack exclusively for the cafe, and Nintendo has even promoted the location on their official Twitter. The soundtrack is fantastic, and I’d highly recommend everyone give it a listen.
Well, the Kirby Café was only two hours away, so I decided to go check it out. In order to make it, I had to spend the entire night in Osaka. This is because the cafe is incredibly popular. Even though I started waiting around 6:30 AM (about 3.5 hours before tickets would be handed out), there was still 40 people ahead of me. By 7:30 AM, the line grew exponentially. In addition for handing out advance tickets for the cafe, advanced tickets were handed out for the gift store. I streetpassed many eager Kirby fans — many wearing the Kirby hat, or having recently played a Kirby game on their 3DS.
I ended up being the very last person to get in for the first hour “slot”– #40. With 11 “slots”, I guess the cafe can only accept 440 people per day. The cafe is certainly an experience, and limiting the number of people is a requirement. When the time came to line up, they had us line up in order of our number. Overall, the staff were extremely organized and checked everything multiple times in order to ensure everything was fair. Some people tried walking into the cafe right when it opened, and were turned away.They took our orders before we came in, and we were eventually seated.
Inside, the decorations were wonderful and really added to the whole “experience” of it. The soundtrack played as we waited for our food and drinks. The case containing the brightly colored cupcakes begged to be eaten was right in front of me.
Since I was the last person in, I actually didn’t get a Kirby figma at my table. Maybe one broke, and they were short? Also, the tweet about letting you dine opposite of a Waddle Dee if you are alone is not true. There was a stuffed Waddle Dee, and a stuffed chef Kirby. They could be used, but they were shared by the entire store. People often took them for a couple minutes, took pictures with them and put them back. Inside there were about 44 seats total. So not a huge space either.
I ended up ordering the Whispy Woods Green Plate as my main dish, as well as a Fountain of Dreams Sparkling Cocktail and Metaknight’s Parfait. I ended up regretting ordering the cocktail as it came out super late, and I didn’t realize how sweet it would be. The Green Plate was good, but the food quality was pretty standard to family restaurants in Japan. When I was eating the hamburger I thought — “this is the same exact meat quality they use at CoCos”. Not awful…it’s still good. It’s just not great — especially for the price. The parfait was the best part of the meal for me (if only a little too chocolaty).Yet again — it felt like a standard Japanese parfait. In the end, with the Kirby Café you are certainly paying for the experience of it, and not the amazing food quality. For these three items, I spent about 50 USD on a single meal. So it was pretty expensive.
The gift shop was located in a different area of the store. There ended up being some miscommunication between the staff. Let me explain. When I was handed the ticket for gift shop, I pointed out that my reserved time for the cafe was 10:30-11:30. They were handing out tickets for 11 AM, so I asked if I could have a later time. The staff member handing the tickets out reassured me that it’d be okay, and that I could come anytime later (as long as I had the ticket). When I got to the gift store, the staff member there freaked out as it was past the “entry” time for the gift store. They ended up giving me only 10 minutes to look around and buy things. Unfortunately, a lot of the items that I wanted, and other people had requested from me were completely sold out. On some days, they would restock something only to sell out of it the same day. The cafe and store are super popular — perhaps more popular than Sparkle had imagined.
Overall, I’m glad that I went because it was interesting experience to go to a Kirby Cafe. It wasn’t as good as the Gudetama Cafe in terms of food / decoration quality…but I personally love the Kirby series more than Gudetama so the Kirby Cafe wins in my mind (just by a little bit).
The remixes presented on the CD are wonderful, and I’m glad to see Nintendo and HAL so invested in the project. I hope that if they partner up with Sparkle again, they can better prepare for the onslaught of fans and improve the experience for everyone. If you have any questions about my experience, please let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.