One of the opportunities I am most looking forward to when I travel to Japan is the many themed cafes they have, more importantly the anime themed cafes. I would never get to experience something like this back in Oz so I knew that this was definitely at the top of my list. I had heard about Animate Cafe in my early research of Japan, specifically my favourite Youtube couple Simon & Martina went to the Sailor Moon collab Animate Cafe. I found out that Animate, an anime and manga store, will do a collab with popular animes and create a limited time cafe. I was disappointed that I would be missing out on Sailor Moon but saved the Animate Cafe link to check what collabs they would have in the future.
I was quite lucky because Animate Cafe announced they will be doing an Attack on Titan collab to coincide with the second season beginning in April. Attack on Titan was one of the shows that my boyfriend and I became addicted to and I couldn’t believe that it lined up perfectly with our trip. They announced the collab back in January but reservations weren’t available until March. I had the link to the reservation page saved on my work computer and I would check it every day.
When the reservations finally opened up I realised the whole process was in Japanese and googled to see if anyway had a how to… unfortunately no! That’s why I’m here today to help anyone else trying to navigate the complicated booking system.
Step 1: Download Google Translate extension for your web browser.
Seriously this is a lifesaver for the process.
Step 2: Open up a tab with Google Translate
You will need this for one of the steps in the reservation process
Step 3: Pick your collaboration
When you are on the Animate website turn your google translate chrome extension on to convert everything to English (or your chosen language). Hit the tab – Collab Work. Scroll through the collabs to see what they have on offer and select. For me it was Attack on Titan 🙂
Step 4: Event Overview
This section details what the event is, what food and drink will be on offer and what merchandise you can buy from the cafe. When I entered the reservation lottery this information wasn’t available yet but I’m sure I will check it when it gets closer.
Step 5: Reservation
So technically you are entering a Lottery to win a reservation. Even once you go through the whole process you are not guaranteed a reservation, it’s just entering the chance to.
The Advance Lottery Reservation will list all the locations this Collab will be at, along with the dates. Attack on Titan only had one location which was the Ikebukuro 2nd store. I would recommend looking at all the locations to see if they match up with your trip and also where the store physically is located. For example the Ikebukuro store is kind of out of the way for my trip, so I had to pick a day in my travel schedule where I wouldn’t mind missing out what I planned and was relatively close or accessible to where I would be earlier in the day.
Once you’ve picked your location, you then pick your dates.
The first column is the date period to visit the cafe, the second column is the dates you can enter the lottery for the reservation, third column is when they will let you know if you won a reservation and the final column is the button to go ahead and enter the lottery.
Once you clicked make a reservation it will take you to the registration page.
Step 6: Registration (of your profile, not the lottery)
When I was completing this step I became confused because I thought I was entering the lottery but first you have to make a profile for Animate. The easiest way for me was to use Log in with Facebook. I am not sure what the process is for club animate ID or twitter.
The next page is your basic information.
Now like me your probably going what the hell is Phonetic??? They are asking you to enter your name in Japanese. This is where the Google Translate tab comes in handy! Type your name in and convert into Japanese. Copy and paste it into the Phonetic section.
In the phone number section I listed my Australian number – I assume they won’t contact me via phone unless I don’t show up for my reservation? The main information to give them is your email as you will be sent the confirmation.
Once you’ve entered all your information hit the button that says check.
It will take you to a page asking you to confirm that information, if it is all correct hit Register.
Yay, you’ve done the registration step! Hit to My page.
Step 7: Entering the Advanced Lottery
Once you’ve hit to my page it will take you to a home page of sorts.
Hit the link -> make a reservation
It will then take you to a page which lists all their locations. I knew I wanted to go to the Ikebukuro 2nd store so I selected that one.
After you select that store page it will ask you which collab you would like to reserve for.
Luckily Attack on Titan was the first on the list! I selected it and it takes you to the date and time page, including all the terms and conditions for entering the lottery.
Scroll all the way to the bottom to find the dates.
Select the date you would like and hit next.
After you have selected your date, select the time you would like to attend the cafe. They have very limited time windows so please make sure you will be able to arrive at least 15 minutes before your reservation time. Then next select whether you are making a reservation for 1-2 people or 3-4 people.
What is double opportunity?
I selected this because it allows you to enter the lottery for the other times on that day as well. I really wanted to go to this cafe I didn’t mind if I won a different time to what I preferred. Only select this if you have a flexible schedule.
Then hit next!
Step 8: You are finished!
Congrats you’ve entered the lottery, now all you have to do is wait and find out if you won the reservation. Our lottery is going to be announced on the 12th April, the day we land in Japan.
But Jasmine what if I don’t win the reservation?
From seeing online and Youtubers attending the cafe you can arrive at the store before opening and queue up. You are queueing up to secure a reservation time. For example the youtuber I watched arrived at 10am and secured a reservation time for 3pm that afternoon.
Unfortunately I don’t have that much flexible free time to 1. Line up for an hour and 2. Then wait around the area and come back at the specified time slot.
You can always go with this option if you are having a longer stay in Japan or are currently living there.
Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour!