Like many of you, I’ve been avidly following the character cafe trend which has taken over Asia with adorable cafes themed for our favourite kawaii characters popping up across Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and more. When I visited Japan in May, I was hoping it would coincide with an amazing popup cafe, but sadly missed both the Miffy and Rilakkuma cafes by mere days.
Luckily there are lots of permanent character cafes and I visited the Pom Pom Purin Cafe while in Osaka. It’s situated in the Umeda Hankyu mall, which also has a Gudetama cafe and a huge branch of Kiddyland. I managed to find it in the basement with all the other restaurants and it was completely empty on a Tuesday lunchtime.
The staff are quite happy for you to take photos of everything and wander about to see all the details. All the decor is so cute, with artwork on the walls, pudding chairs, a big figurine to pose with and lots of cute things on your table.
Here’s a look at part of the menu – you can view it in full here – it was so hard to choose what to have! Each cafe has a couple of exclusive regional dishes – in Osaka there’s okonomiyaki (a kind of cabbage pancake) and takoyaki (octopus dumplings) that are actually chocolate. In the end I went for the coconut chicken curry and chose a mango ice cream drink over dessert (it was a really hot day!).
The food looked just as cute as the menu pictures with lots of fun details and I took tons of photos. The curry was really good as well – sometimes kawaii food is very much style over substance but I would eat this again. The drink came with a free coaster that you can see there, but I forgot to take it home with me in all the excitement. So sad!
Here’s a close look at my drink. I didn’t want to eat the ice cream! There were real mango chunks at the bottom and lots of ice with mango soda and ice cream on top. It was very refreshing but it was almost impossible to eat the mango as it was trapped under so much ice. I would have been better getting a proper dessert.
This was one of the times when I wished I had traveling companions so we could order more and try everything. I would definitely go back sometime to try some more dishes. Look how cute it all is!
Even though I was on my own, I wasn’t offered the Pom Pom Purin plush as a dining companion. Probably they didn’t know if I would understand. You can just see the shop there too which sells lots of plushies, stationery and more including some exclusive cafe items. I spent a long time deciding and eventually got a plush keyring. I bought most of the others below in Kiddyland.
If you’re heading to Japan, there are permanent Pom Pom Purin Cafes in Harajuku, Yokohama and Osaka. You’ll also find permanent cafes themed around Hello Kitty, Ghibli, Gudetama, Moomins and more, plus random popups throughout the year. You can find out more about all those in my Planning For Japan guide book. I also just blogged about my visit to the Usagito bunny cafe over at Asking For Trouble.
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.