Otome Road, or “Maiden Road,” is the nickname of a street in Ikebukuro. The 200-meter-long street is filled with shops carrying merchandise targeted towards women, hence the word “otome.” The name was first used in the May 2004 edition of “Puff” magazine. Otome Road has also been called “Fujoshi Street” because most of the anime and doujinshi merchandise in the area cater to the boys’ love genre. Here are five must-visit places in Otome Road for otakus!
There are two animate branches in Ikebukuro: a small one where special pop-up cafe events are held and the main store, which is seven-storey tall. The definite must-visit while in Otome Road is the flagship store. Each floor in animate is filled with lots of otaku merchandise.
The animate cafe and the animate cafe SHOP can also be found in this building. The cafe hosts themed events and reservations are usually required.
— コセット池袋本店 (@cosset_jp) December 11, 2017
HACOSTADIUM cosset is a cosplay photo studio in Ikebukuro. Like other cosplay photo studios in Japan, HACOSTADIUM cosset offers costume rentals and photography services. They have several themed rooms and props which cosplayers can use for their photoshoots.
This particular branch of HACOSTADIUM is located in the same building as the animate Flagship Store, so if you feel like cosplaying after shopping or vice versa, you can drop by!
MANDARAKE is a chain of used goods stores that can be found all over Japan. The store in Ikebukuro caters mostly to the boys’ love genre, with various comics, doujinshi, and other merchandise. MANDARAKE also sells new copies of manga, but most otakus visit to search for specific items at discounted prices.
— K-BOOKSコスプレ館 (@kbooks_cospre) January 26, 2018
K-BOOKS is another chain of used goods stores. Although called K-BOOKS, they also sell other merchandise such as button pins, dolls, games, etc. K-BOOKS Ikebukuro Cosplay-kan is the only branch that focuses solely on cosplay goods; they have a huge selection of costumes, wigs, and props available.
There are several other K-BOOKS branches in Ikebukuro that specializes in other things, such as doujinshi and voice actor goods.
— 執事喫茶Swallowtail (@swallowtail_bc) December 31, 2017
Your otome experience in Otome Road will not be complete if you do not visit a butler cafe. A butler cafe is similar to a maid cafe, the only striking difference is the type of servers. In a butler cafe, you can experience the joy of being waited on by handsome butlers.
The most popular butler cafe in the area is SWALLOWTAIL Butlers Cafe. Before visiting it, however, a reservation is required as their slots get filled up fast. But if you are lucky, you might spot a sign outside the cafe that informs visitors of any open slots.
Otome Road is definitely an otaku-focused area. Nevertheless, otaku or not, anyone can visit this place as there are other places to visit and things to do in Ikebukuro. So why not start your trip in Otome Road then explore the rest of Ikebukuro?