Recently a friend told me about a cool type of cafe she went to in Akihabara. ‘Oh, a maid cafe?’ I thought. Those and net cafes were the only “interesting” cafes I knew to exist in that area. At least until now. Behold, the Hammock Cafe.
Although there are variations of this cafe experience in Akiba and elsewhere, we chose to go to Mahika Mano in Kichijoji. We headed east of the station and waited in line to go in. After about a few minutes, a woman wearing a big winter hat, slippers, and lounge-around-the-house clothes invited us in. A long row of sneakers, shoes, and boots were placed neatly in the foyer before us. Japanese culture senses tingling: shoes off!
We were led to a table that was no more than a foot off the ground. All of the tables were a similar size, which made my American self feel even more giant than usual. The waiter showed us the specials and told us the house rules. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed in the establishment. (We later on tried to gaijin smash our way through this rule, but got caught mid-photo.)
I got my bearings and took my seat wondering, ‘Will this thing hold me up?’
I’m not a particularly large guy, but the idea of hanging from a hook in the ceiling did not bring about thoughts of relaxation. That all changed as the hammock caught me from behind. It brought me back to lazy summer days, swinging on the playground as a kid.
The food and drink selection was quite large, ranging from cafe staples (coffee, espressos, and sweets), to things you might find at a full-scale restaurant. Everything is all in Japanese except for the headings of different sections on the menu. So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, ask for “Today’s Special” or drop that 「オススメください」(recommendation please).
There was an entire book of just sweets and desserts. We settled on coffee and one of their cheesecakes topped with fruit bits and raisins. The cheesecake combined with the coffee was the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. My friends and I chilled out to the sounds of Nujabes and R&B playing softly throughout the cafe.
When you got a hammock and a good book, time flies! A few hours had passed and it was already dark outside. The hardest thing I had to do that day was to get out of that hammock. It was just too comfortable. As we headed to pay, our shoes were already waiting for us at the cashier. I’m not sure how they knew which ones were ours considering how busy it was. I’ll just chalk this one up to superb Japanese customer service.
Mahika Mano is a great place to chill alone, or with friends. Catch up on that book you’ve been putting off, grab a midday nap, and enjoy the relaxing music. Food is reasonably priced. Yet drinks are a few hundred yen more than the average latte. But hey, you are in a hammock.
From Kichijoji Station: Take the Park Exit, make a left and cross at the major intersection. Continue walking straight and at the third street make a left. Cafe on the right. About 3-5 minutes.
Monday to Saturday: 12:00-22:00