Establishments that have themes are quite popular around the world but trust the Japanese to go all out when it comes to theme restaurants! Have you ever heard of Cosplay restaurants or maid cafes? These are theme restaurants which feature maids or butlers (the latter is dubbed butler café, obviously) – elegantly dressed.
Cosplay restaurants started in the Akihabara section of Tokyo around the year 2000. The idea behind these theme restaurants is for the maids or butlers to provide personalized service to the patrons – service that one would get from a personal maid or butler at home. Though the Cosplay restaurants started in Tokyo, they have spread out to other Japanese cities and even other countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, and Canada!
A visitor to Japan should not miss the chance to have his or her own personal maid or butler at one of the Cosplay cafes – especially if you cannot afford to have your own at home! Just to clear things up, though, there are definitely NO sexual overtones to the maids and butlers at these cafes. They are there to bring the most relaxing experience to their patrons and to provide them pampering and care while dining and drinking. That’s it.
In certain cases, a customer can actually pay extra to have the maid or butler play cards and similar games with them or to have a picture taken. The time allowed for such activities are limited, though, and one would have to pay more for extra time – marks of the good Japanese business sense!