Osaka's AKB48 shop is better than even Akiba's26 March, 2013 by Chad
Last year, we stumbled upon the AKB48 Cafe and Shop in Namba, Osaka. The shop occupies an impressive space right across the NMB48 Theater in the recently renovated NGK Building, and thus easily accessible to visiting fans of the 48 groups.
Rather than replace the existing NMB48 Shop, the AKB48 Cafe and Shop Namba carries a separate set of merchandise for the family’s other sister groups. When we last visited, the shop was stocked fully with the latest merchandise from AKB48 and SKE48.
Now that the AKB48 Shop Harajuku has ceased operations, Namba’s shop easily outclasses the other AKB48 startups in Tokyo. The shop section at Namba is much larger and better equipped than even the AKB48 Cafe and Shop Akihabara. The place is also decorated with autographs of various 48 members and some of the AKB48 costumes are displayed in the center of the shop.
The AKB48 Namba Cafe is decorated in the familiar tartan patterns but rather than an over the counter setting like in Akiba, the cafe section in Namba operates as a more humble fast food outlet. You have to place your order yourself at the counter and after a short wait, the food is brought over to your table.
The menu at the cafe is typical fast food affair and hardly anything to rave about. However at this point I doubt anyone actually goes to an AKB48 Cafe for the food. Prices are also grossly inflated because of the AKB48 branding. The money goes towards reaffirming your brand loyalty and the 48 related programs that run on the televisions mounted at all corners.
One plus though is that the cafe is very accessible when compared to Akiba’s, where there is usually a long queue. Even during this crowded evening, we didn’t have to wait for more than 10 minutes to enter. This is probably due to the fact that upon entry patrons are informed that everyone must order and that you have a limited amount of time to spend inside.
It should be worth noting that at least the Namba’s shop and cafe staff seemed friendlier and (if I might add) cuter than their Tokyo counterparts.
If you’re remotely interested in AKB48 and happen to be passing by Namba’s Nankai Dori, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at the AKB48 Cafe and Shop Namba. But unless you happen to be a die hard fan though, I wouldn’t recommend eating there.
AKB48 Cafe and Shop Namba
1F, Namba Grand Kagetsu
Nanba Sennichimae 11-6
Osaka Chuo Ward
For more information, you can check out the shop’s site in Japanese.