If you were hoping to visit Japan’s Gundam Cafés, you better do it soon, because early next year it looks like they’re all going to close.
In an official announcement, the café’s management announced that the Gundam Square location in Osaka will shutter on January 1. The Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core location in Akihabara, as well as the Gundam Café in Tokyo’s Odaiba and in Fukuoka, will close on January 30.
Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core opened on July 31, 2020, making that an exceptionally short run.
There is a café at Gundam Factory Yokohama, but that attraction is only temporary and will end on March 31, 2022. Once that ends, it appears that all the official Gundam Cafés will be closed.
The first Gundam Cafe opened in 2010, and locations spread across the country.
The establishments have served up Gundam-themed drinks, as well as food, including curry, burgers, and sweets. The restaurants also have shops selling merchandise and Gundam models, making them a one-stop shop for fans of the series.
The official announcement thanked fans for their patronage over the years, but did not offer an explanation as to why the cafés were closing. Currently, Japan has a ban on tourists entering the country, but will ease restrictions for business travel and students. No doubt, the lack of tourists, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, have not been good for Gundam Café’s bottom line. It’s a shame really, because tourists do seem to enjoy visiting these locations—and they won’t be here when they return.
However, the Gundam Café announcement does hint at a “new project” that will “suit the times,” and offer a place for fans to communicate. Whether that will be a digital or physical space, we will have to wait and see.