Real-life Shirokuma Cafe in Takadanobaba

Sometimes you just need a quiet place to relax and unwind with a cup of joe, and we found the perfect place to do just that at the Shirokuma Cafe. Located in college town Takadanobaba, it's the optimal place for students and otaku alike to study or grab a bite to eat.

Upon entering the cafe, we were greeted with large plushies of Panda-kun and Penguin-san sitting at the counter. Panda-kun of course had a large order of bamboo and Penguin-san was ready for another café mocha. Too bad for us, they were already sitting down by the time we got there. Just how Penguin-san gets onto his chair remains a mystery.

The cafe was dimly lit which was easy on the eyes. The walls were adorned with prints resembling windows, the ears of various characters poking up from under the sill. At the back was a large cardboard cutout of Shirokuma-kun as well as a kids room. There was also a goods corner with lots of series merch. Perhaps the coolest part were the scripts signed by the anime voice cast on display. We weren't there for goods though-- Let's get to the food!

Compared to some other collaboration cafes, the items on Shirokuma Cafe's menu may not be as elaborate as you'd expect. Not to sell them short--  you can definitely tell a lot of thought went into each one. We ordered Penguin-san's drink, Panda Mama's Suwanai de~~ coffee jelly dessert, and a Yama Arashi parfait. Customers get 1 of 8 special coasters for each character item they order, decided by the roll of a die. Did I mention our food was served by staff dressed like Sasako-san?

Penguin-san's drink was a tall glass of cider with blue syrup and a lemon in the shape of a beak. The Suwanai de~~ (don't suck me up) dessert consisted of coffee jelly with vanilla ice cream and a Panda-kun cookie on top, and of course a big, fat straw to suck up the jelly. Because we got there after 5, we were able to order from the Yama Arashi Tonight special night menu. (Yama Arashi music was also playing over the speakers.) The parfait was layered with corn flakes and vanilla ice cream with almonds and walnuts mixed in. It was topped off with caramel and several sticks of chocolate Pocky to resemble the spikes on a porcupine. The parfait was pretty tasty but the most surprising part was that the corn flakes were actually Honey Bunches of Oats cereal! Wow, I didn't even know they sold that in Japan! While the menu may be less than 3-star, fans of the series are sure to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.

Shirokuma Cafe is open year round and located a short walk from Takadanobaba Station. Just head out the Waseda Exit, make a right and go straight for about 8 minutes. The cafe will be on the left side of the street between a Matsuya and 7-11 convenience store.

TOHMA Takadanobaba 1F

2-1-2 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Hours:

Weekdays 8:00 - 22:00 (Last order 21:00)

Weekends/holidays 9:00 - 22:00 (Last order 21:00)