Pokémon Café Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go!

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Sign

A visit to the Pokémon Café Tokyo

So, you’ve heard the news by now. A Pokémon Café opened up in Tokyo in March 2018, alongside the city’s brand new Pokémon Center DX store.

Now the chances are that nearly two years on, you’re still yet to visit. Besides, only someone as crazy as Braysh Gaming would travel all the way to Japan just to chow down on a Pikachu-shaped pancake. Well, whether you’re planning a Pokémon pilgrimage or just interested in some first-hand experience, here’s our “everything you need to know before you (Pokémon) go” guide to the Pokémon Café Tokyo:

Location, location, location.

Tokyo is now boasting its fourth major Pokémon Center in the form of then new Pokémon Center Shibuya, so you might be wondering why they feel a need to add more? Well, Tokyo is bigger than you might think. The Pokémon Café and adjacent Tokyo DX store, sit a 25-minute metr

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Location

You can’t miss an entrance like this!

o ride from Pokémon Center Shibuya and Pokémon Center Skytree Town. Then, it’s an even further 40-minute ride to the flagship Mega Tokyo store. You could say that they now have all four corners of Tokyo covered!

The Pokémon Café isn’t the easiest to find. Hop off at Nihombashi Station and follow the map down. You’ll soon you see an entrance you can’t miss, next to the entrance for the Takashimaya department store:

Step inside and you’ll find a heavily Pokémon-themed elevator, waiting to take you up to the “lobby” area. This area sits directly between the Pokémon Café and the Pokémon Center DX. This incredible introduction features a now-iconic Snorlax statue displaying the time and date! Not to forget the other mascots for the DX store, Pikachu and Mew, are here too. Selfie time.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Lobby

What a welcome this is!

Left, or Right?

The Pokémon Café is on the left and the Pokémon Center on the right. If you weren’t quick enough to book your table months in advance via the difficult-to-navigate Japanese website, then you might think your only choice is to head into the Pokémon Center and browse the merchandise – think again.

Around 5pm and on the hour until around 8pm each day, you can join a queue outside the café and add yourself to a waiting list to dine that evening. The places each day are determined by the number of spare seats and cancellations.  So, it massively varies and there are no guarantees. Unfortunately, the signage for this was all in Japanese, and I really had no idea what I was lining up for exactly, but I had an idea it could be for chance bookings – and I was right.

No booking? No problem.

I joined the queue at around 4:30pm, noticing that something was due to happen at 5pm on the notice board. I was only behind a party of two people at the time, and soon after a group of four people joined behind me. The queue grew before 5pm, and when it did come, one of the cheery staff members came out to take names. The two people in front of me were able to go in immediately, whereas I (on my own by the way), had to settle for a 6pm slot. It’s also worth noting that the group of four behind me also had a 6pm slot.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Pokédex

A Pokédex like no other!

I was under the impression that they booked up as much as the café as they could for the rest of the evening, and came back out at the allotted times only if there were more spaces available. I did notice that the sign began to read “Sold Out” across the later times in the evening. The 5pm slot was the first time they came out to check on availability, so I’d imagine this is the best chance at getting a booking.

I had no complaints with waiting an hour. With no reservation, I was more than happy to wait for something like this – besides, an hour flies by when lost in the Pokémon Center DX or playing around on the interactive Pokédex (a must-see and only at the DX and Shibuya stores).

If Heaven was a Pokémon Café.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Token

The best seat in the house?

The time had come, and I was able to join the queue for people who actually had bookings. I couldn’t help but think that some of these people also entering at this time probably went through a lot of effort to book weeks in advanced, and the there’s me who turned up an hour earlier. At the point of entry, you’re given an area and a table number on a token. I was A12, and I think this was part of the “Pikachu” section.

Upon entering, it was all a little bit mad. There are shelves filled with various Pokémon Café merchandise, a Nintendo Switch set up with Let’s Go Pikachu, your favourite Kanto starters sitting across the tables, Gengar smoothies sat up at the bar and Eevee curries leaving the kitchen. It was everything you’d expect a Pokémon Café to be, and more.

I found my small table on the end of a row designed for two people. It came fully equipped with an iPad and Pokémon place mat, and gave me a great view of the café and all of the incredible Pokémon dishes leaving the kitchen. It was a good start.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Seat View

A view of the whole café!

Despite not really understanding what the waitress was explaining to me in Japanese, the concept was pretty straight forward. Browse through images of all the dishes on the iPad, order what you want, when you want, and pay on the way out. No waiting for service, no waiting for the bill, and as it’s Japan – no tipping. I couldn’t help but think that all restaurants should be as convenient as this.

Pick your Poison-type.

Now it’s decision time – and trust me this is a harder choice than choosing your first Pokémon from Professor Oak. Personally, I wanted to choose something that looked as tasty as it would visually impressive on Instagram. One thing to note here is the price. You might expect this to be mass-exploitation and charge ¥10,000 to those who are desperate for slice of the Pokémon-pie, but you would be pleasantly surprised. Most dishes were around ¥1,500, and drinks were around ¥500. This was more than reasonable and about what you’d expect to pay in any restaurant.

Despite the “Ditto Fruit Tea” or various Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon ice cream floats (each coming with their own character-adorning straw), I opted for the “Gengar ‘Confuse Ray’ Grape Smoothie”. It came with a red light shining out from the glass – of which I imagine was the “Confuse Ray” part. It was simply delicious, and even to this day I think about that grape smoothie.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Gengar Smoothie

The Gengar “Confuse Ray” Grape Smoothie!

The food was a bit trickier. Sure, I could have had the Pikachu-bum omelette, but I made the choice to get the awesome-looking Umbreon chicken burger. When this thing came out, it was like a work of art had taken place in the kitchen. It looked exactly as it did in the iPad image and almost a shame to eat. Make sure to take plenty of pictures before diving in!

After smooshing down Umbreon’s face into the burger and tartar-esque sauce, it was time to eat. It soon made sense why the mascot for the Pokémon Center next door was a Snorlax – the burger was fantastic – as were the accompanying chips and strange vegetable soup that came with the meal. There was certainly more than enough food here to fill your appetite.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Umbreon Burger

A work of art too good to eat?

More than you bargained for.

I had finished my food and was thinking about leaving. Foolishly, I forgot that this was a Pokémon Café, and that I was nowhere near done yet whether I liked it or not.

The waitress was over at the next table of eight people, playing a simple game where everyone had a turn on the iPad to pick a Pikachu card and receive a special Pokémon Café souvenir coaster as a prize based on what was underneath the card. I noticed that everyone received the same coaster, and determined that it was essentially an “everyone’s a winner” type of deal. No fuss was made.

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Coaster

How rare can a coaster be?!

Oh boy did I wish I was right. It was my turn. I carefully selected my Pikachu card and chose the Pikachu with the silliest face. The card turned around on the screen and the waitress starting yelling something very loud and very Japanese to the rest of the restaurant.  She was then kind enough to turn to me and explain “very rare” as what felt like all of the kitchen staff came out to applaud my astonishing feet of picking a random card.

I expected a ¥10,000 voucher for the Pokémon Center next door, or maybe my meal on the house, but I was awarded a very shiny golden Celebi coaster instead. I think the fuss outweighed the reward somewhat. Will you get the “very rare” coaster when you visit?

Got room for dessert?

Pokémon Cafe Tokyo: Everything you need to know before you go! - Pokemon Cafe Chef Pikachu Mascot

Make sure to stay long enough for this sendoff!

I didn’t stop to sample any of the desserts on offer at the café, but again there were plenty to choose

from. These included a “Lapras Parfait”, “Pikachu Mango Pudding” and “Jigglypuff’s Strawberry

Cheesecake”. I was instead treated to final surprise from the Pokémon Café, as a Pikachu dressed as a chef came out to dance for the customers!

It was a great way to end a brilliant meal, and I can’t think of any reason not to visit the Pokémon Café in Tokyo. The bill was paid at the front desk on the way out, and it was more than fulfilled with the experience. A must-visit when in the area.

To see some of this in action, check out our Japan Vlog below which features our time at the Pokémon Café!

For more information feel free to contact me here, on Instagram or over on Twitter (@brayshgaming).

Can’t get enough of Pokémon in Japan? Why not check out our article on the best Pokémon card shops in Osaka!

Mitsuhiro Arita Interview: The Man Behind The Art

Mitsuhiro Arita Interview main image

Mitsuhiro Arita Interview: The Man Behind The Art

Introductions

Introducing our one on one Mitsuhiro Arita interview during his event at Hyper Japan, London on Saturday 13th July. Attending the event as press, we were very lucky to be given the opportunity to be part of a group interview for legendary artist Arita-san. As things transpired, we were luckier than we thought.
We had planned to attend the group interview and film proceedings for Braysh Gaming, but as it turned out, we were the only attendees for the interview! Whilst this caught us off guard by quite a bit, it was a unique experience where we were able to have a one on one chat and discover the man behind the art.
This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the art of Mitsuhiro Arita, as you may remember a recent article on how the new Tag Team GX cards has saved the art of the Sun and Moon era.

From the mind of Mitsuhiro

In this exclusive interview you can expect to hear about things such as Arita-san’s early influences, how he challenges himself every day, and some priceless advice for upcoming artists. A true modern day inspiration, we hope you enjoy the video:

The art of Arita-san

What did you think to the Mitsuhiro Arita interview? We certainly learnt a lot of new things about such a well renowned artist. During the interview, you would noticed that Arita-san was very generous in showing us some images from his personal sketchbook! Please take a closer look at the images below:

Image from Mitsuhiro Arita's sketchbook 1

Image from Mitsuhiro Arita's sketchbook 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image from Mitsuhiro Arita's sketchbook 3

Image from Mitsuhiro Arita's sketchbook 4

 

 

 

 

A special thank you to Adam Turner and Crystal Turner for carrying out such a brilliant interview at the last minute. Adam is a keen collector with an impressive collection of Pokemon cards, and Crystal is a very talented graphic designer with her own Etsy shop! Please look for them both on Twitter here too:

Adam: @_teammagma

Crystal: @Crystal_Designs

 

An incredible experience, I think you will agree! You can also check out Mitsuhiro Arita’s personal website here: http://mitsuhiroarita.com/

I hope you all enjoyed this very special video. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter @BrayshGaming.

Best Pokemon card shops in Osaka

Best pokemon card shops in Osaka | Braysh Gaming

Where to shop for Pokémon cards in Osaka

If you’re heading to Japan soon but can’t make Tokyo, then you may just find a little slice of Akihabara’s TCG shops hidden away in the heart of Osaka. Read on to discover the Best Pokémon card shops in Osaka.

Osaka is well-known for its modern architecture, the lively nightlife and hearty street food – but did you know there’s plenty for the Pokémon card collectors too? A short walk from Namba station is the city’s bustling entertainment district, bursting with arcades, flashing lights and shops full of gaming memorabilia are far as the eye can see.

Delve a little deeper into this bespoke corner of Osaka and you’ll find an area known as Nipponbashi (Den-Den Town) – a trading card haven for Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering and seemingly every other TCG series ever created. If Akihabara is the home of anime, then Den-Den Town is truly the home of TCG – all the better for you PSA 10 fans out there! .

The main area of Den-Den Town is largely confined to what seems to be like a square, surrounding you with every piece of shiny card you could ever need. However, when it comes to specifically Pokémon cards, there are a few shops that stand above the rest. Here are Braysh Gaming’s top three:

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Nipponbashi (Den-Den Town): best Pokémon card shops in Osaka

Torejaras!, Osaka

Torejaras! is set on two floors and filled to the rafters. However, don’t be confused, the sign for this shop is actually in Japanese and despite it’s cluttered layout, it’s no jumble sale.

Amongst the scattered boxes overflowing with the likes of Digimon plushies and Sailor Moon key-rings, stands a single cabinet saved specifically for PokémonTrading Card Game. Whilst Torejaras! didn’t have the largest collection of Pokémon cards, it certainly had some hidden gems.

When it came to new and recent cards, most card shops in Den-Den Town had you covered, but when searching out old, rare and valuable cards, the hunt was a little trickier. It was here in Torejaras! that not only did I find a very reasonably priced Japanese Base Set Charizard, but also an incredible No Rarity (Japanese 1st edition) Base Set Zapdos. Getting them out from behind the glass cabinet was a task all of its own, with the lady behind the register insisting I filled in a form to denote which cards I wanted – again, don’t be confused!

Both cards bought here were in great condition, and having sent them both to be graded at PSA upon my return to England, they both hit a very satisfying PSA 8 when graded. It’s never easy to find cards like this, and for this reason, Torejaras! just makes the list.

Dragon Star, Osaka

We’re stepping things up a bit here. Dragon Star is one of two shops in Den-Den Town to have a vast array of Pokémon cards, new and old. The vintage card hunter in me was very excited – scanning this small shop wall-to-wall.

What Dragon Star lacks in shop size, it more than makes up for in stature. Glass cabinets high upon the wall are filled with Gold Stars, Shining Pokémon and much much more. Whether you’re after a VS series Karen’s Umbreon, itching for a Delta Species Charizard or need to complete your Full Art Supporter collection with the Masked Royal (limited to 100 pieces after a 2017 tournament) – they were all spotted here!

It was here in Dragon Star that I picked up the likes of a Shinng Tyranitar, Shining Mew and the “Nintedo” error Ancient Mew cards, amongst the most elite of all Pokémon Trading Cards. Once again, they were sent to PSA for grading, but this time I’m keeping the grades a secret and pointing you in the direction of my latest PSA Returns video on YouTube! It’s definitely one to grab the popcorn for.

Big Magic, Osaka

Big Magic. Big is correct and Magic is beyond question. Not only is it the best card shop in Den-Den Town, but quite possibly the most well-known worldwide.

Big Magic is famed for its rows of vintage cards, retro boosters and nostalgic accessories filling up the empty spaces (there’s a back wall filled entirely with hanging Pokémon play mats). Most collectors will find themselves coming for the single cards and walking out with pockets full of Big Magic Mystery Packs!

Located right on the corner of one the area’s high streets, you won’t miss the huge “Big Magic” sign staring into your soul and pulling you through its doors. There isn’t really a right or wrong place to begin, but Big Magic seems to be one of few card shops with a “Wanted” list – buying the cards you don’t need for a good price including common or uncommon cards (whatever’s popular at the time is usually “Wanted”). It’s a great way to boost their own stock, whilst giving a little back to the community.

As always, there’s a huge selection of the latest and greatest cards. Even on the release day of a new set you’ll find the display cabinets complete with full play-sets of cards just released and ready to go into your next deck. Of course, there’s more than your standard booster-fresh cards to choose from.

Big Magic has one of most comprehensive offerings of Pokémon Trading Cards in Japan. The first thing I noticed in the vintage cabinets towards the back of the shop were mint condition Gold Stars in the form of Celebi and Suicune, accompanied with sealed Gold Star Jolteon and Vaporeon. You can instantly tell that there’s something special in store here.

Moving a little further along the cabinet and you’ll discover more Gold Stars, More Shining Pokémon and even the odd Masaki Alakazam waiting to be found. Big Magic dedicates two large glass cabinets to Pokémon’s oldest and rarest cards, and doesn’t even stop at Japanese cards, as an English mint condition shadowless Gyarados was seen gazing up at me.

Big Magic is an unrivalled Aladdin’s cave of endless wonder. This sense of wonder in compounded with its illustrious Mystery Packs – exchanging 1,000 yen for anything from a regular holo card  to a Secret Rare Double Colorless Energy! These packs can be somewhat infamous and are certainly for the high-rollers.

And there you have it – three shops that will not disappoint when visiting Den-Den Town, but here are a few more tips:

If you’re searching for something new and recently released, then don’t forget to shop around. All of the card shops should have a solid selection of the newer stuff, and each shop has it’s own price tag, so don’t settle for the first card you see as you could save a few yen elsewhere!

Also, the card shops here are very honest. Quite often, you will see a yellow label on cards that are slightly damaged – and you’re always welcome to perform your own ‘quality inspection’ before committing to buy anything (a respectful gesture that goes a long way in Japan, especially when looking for that mint vintage item). In return, show your own respect and don’t try to haggle any prices and perhaps learn a few polite words. Simple words such as “hai” (yes) and “arigatou” (thank you) come in handy more than you would think. It’s all part of the Japanese shopping experience!

Have you been to Osaka, or perhaps you’re planning a trip soon? I’d love to know what your favourite places were and what you think to my guide. I’m also more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

Happy card hunting!

Braysh Gaming

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Come take a look around the Pokemon Center Kyoto, Japan

Pokemon Center Kyoto Japan | UK Pokemon videos | Braysh Gaming

Pokemon Center Kyoto tour:

We visited the Pokemon Center Kyoto in Japan, towards the end of April 2017 as part of my second ten day holiday to the country.

The entire visit to Kyoto was truly amazing, it is a beautiful city and I would highly recommend taking some time to travel across Japan. On this venture, Kyoto was our first stop, followed by the vibrant cities of Nara, Tokyo and Osaka.

This is a very special video as it was taken and uploaded on the same day. The Pokemon Center Kyoto was also celebrating their one year anniversary, so there was lots of cool merchandise available and lots of happy faces to be seen – there always is to be fair.

You will find the Kyoto Pokemon Center on the fifth floor of the Takashimaya department store. Once inside, prepare to be greeted by an array of plushies, cards, games, figures, stationery, homeware, accessories, as well as a menagerie of capsule toy machines – and everything in between. 

Tour the best Pokemon Center in Japan:

You will also find a selection of arcade machines in store to test your Pokemon battling skills. However, we must warn you, good luck managing to play these infernal things if your Japanese is in any way lacking – slightly ashamed to admit that this is the case with myself.

A cool thing about the Pokemon Center stores is that with each purchase you always seem to receive a gift. I seem to have adopted more Bewear promo cards than I care to imagine, you also get a host of posters and stickers. For those buying their packs in bulk, you tend to also receive further exclusive promo cards – including a host of impressive and exclusive full art cards. 

Come take a video tour with me of the Pokemon Center Kyoto and see what it is like for yourself! This place is truly incredible and I have been desperate to go to a Pokemon Center for pretty much most of my life.

Planning a trip to the Pokemon Center in Kyoto? Please do send any questions you may have to us via our contact page. See what the well-deserved hype is about and what we discovered in store here:

Please follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram for more updates from Braysh Gaming

 

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