Otaku USA Magazine
We Check Out the Mario Cafe and Store at Universal Studios Japan

We check out the Mario Cafe and Store at Universal Studios JapanThe Mario Cafe and Store opened at Universal Studios Japan on 16 October 2020, serving Mario-themed food and selling some really cool merch! It’s the world’s first official Mario Cafe.

The store’s exterior is on point, with exacting attention to detail with regard to the fonts and stylings, including some neon Mario and Luigi logos and a neon mushroom.

Things get even better inside – the interior walls are decorated with images of Koopa shells, warp pipes and question mark blocks.

The menu is located on three blocks above the counter. Only two food items are currently on offer: Mario’s Cap Strawberry Shortcake Pancake Sandwich and Luigi’s Cap Grape No-bake Cheesecake Pancake Sandwich – ¥700 each.

The food is pretty good, considering the novelty aspect of it. The sandwiches are full of whipped cream and at the bottom contains some jam and custard. It’s impressive that fresh fruit has been used given the cost of fruit in Japan. Each contains a piece of white chocolate piece that says “Okey-dokey” or “Whose Cap?”. In fact, this “Whose cap” motif is milked somewhat throughout the cafe and shop.

Watch the video (below) for the full taste test, but let’s just say those of you with a sweet tooth are in for a treat.

You can also enjoy three drinks – ‘Fruity Italian Cream Sodas’ – at the cafe: Princess Peach’s Peach Soda, Mario’s Strawberry Soda and Luigi’s Green Apple Soda – all ¥600. The three sodas’ branding the ‘Whose Cap’ merchandise line on sale next door at the Mario Store. There’s even a little moustache or crown for instagrammable goodness. Of the three, your best bet is the Luigi drink.

You can also purchase a Super Mushroom drink bottle (¥1800 with purchase of a soft drink).

To be precise, when I say “enjoy… at the cafe” I mean outside the cafe. The area where the above photos were taken, on tables inspired by the iconic Mario mushrooms, is precisely that, a photo area. To actually eat your food, head outside.

The shop’s merchandise currently focuses exclusively on Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach, and a mishmash of the three. It riffs heavily on the slogan “Whose Cap?” – “Whose Crown” in the case of Princess Peach.

There are plenty of opportunities to spend your coins – cushions, keyrings, hoodies, fleeces, T-shirts, caps, tote bags, purses and more.

I know what you’re thinking: “Where’s the Wario merch?” Very disappointing indeed!

The cafe looks great at night. The staff are dressed for the occasion and, as you can see by the fist-pumping team member through the doors, ready to pose for you at the drop of a hat!

Watch this video as we check out the Mario Cafe, perform a taste test on the Mario and Luigi Pancakes, and explore the shop and enjoy some of the antics of the staff.

The launch of the cafe coincides with the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary, and foreshadows the opening of Super Nintendo World on 4 February 2021 at Universal Studios Japan – the first Universal theme park to feature Super Nintendo World. It was originally supposed to open this past summer but the pandemic caused Universal to delay the opening. When it finally does open, it will feature trailblazing Super Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Adventure rides, shops and a restaurant.

Mac Salman hails from England and has travelled to over 100 countries. A Tokyo resident for almost 15 years, Mac has been a respected analyst and commentator on Japan, its culture, art and economy, tackling subjects as diverse as the Tokyo Yakult Swallows baseball team to the impact of negative interest rates. He has been frequently quoted in the media, and has been featured in Reuters, The New York Times, The Japan Times, The (London) Times, Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes, The Financial Times and SNL, amongst others. Mac is the Founder of Maction Planet, which specialises in Bespoke Japan Travel and Apparel. Amongst their many private tour offerings they run renowned specialised Tokyo Otaku Tours, and their T-shirt lines often involve collaboration with domestic and overseas artists.