Whether you like maids, muscles, anime, birds, or sleeping on $9,000 beds, there’s a themed cafe ready to accommodate your tastes in Japan. With so many unusual concepts and settings on offer, it can be hard for a new cafe to stand out amongst its competitors, but one new establishment is doing just that, by bucking conventional beauty trends and hiring staff who are happy to work in the cafe without wearing makeup.
Called Naturalia, the cafe originally opened in Hokkaido’s capital city of Sapporo in October 2015, where they billed themselves as the “World’s First No-Makeup Cafe Bar“, dedicated to promoting the concept of natural beauty in a society obsessed with makeup, manicures, and even fake eyelids. Following on from the success of their first opening, the cafe is now hoping to spread the no-makeup trend further afield, with a crowdfunding campaign set up to help them make the move to Tokyo, where they plan to open a second cafe in Shibuya’s Dogenzaka on 3 April.
According to the owners of the cafe, the concept for a makeup-free team of staff came about after they became tired of encountering girls with lots of makeup, blonde-dyed hair, and overly manicured fake nails working at cafes and bars in Sapporo. Unable to find a place where the staff looked like ordinary girls, they thought to create one instead and gathering from the support they’ve received, it looks like they’ve filled a much-needed niche in the market.
Half-Japanese, half-British singer and TV personality Becky showed her support for the cafe recently, helping to promote the team for a TV episode filmed last month.
To maintain their “natural” image, the girls hired to work at the cafe are non-smokers who don’t have previous night-time work experience in places like cabaret bars and who don’t have excessively dyed hair or garish manicures. These natural-looking girls exude beauty without relying on makeup, which is a breath of fresh air in a country where girlish appearances are paramount.
Support for the new Shibuya cafe has been overwhelming, with their online crowdfunding page raising 955,000 yen (US$8,578) in funds with six days left in the campaign, smashing their initial target goal of 500,000 yen by a whopping 191 percent. Patrons will get to enjoy special commemorative party nights, all-you-can drink offers, and branded t-shirts in return for their contributions.
▼ The new Shibuya location will have bar-style seating and a stylish, dimly lit interior.
While the hours and charges for the new cafe bar are yet to be revealed, their Sapporo location is open from 3:00 p.m. to midnight every day with a 500 yen (US$4.50) entry fee, and a system that offers ten minutes of all-you-can drink beverages at a cost of 300 yen for men and 200 yen for women.
Entry charges and hourly fee systems are not uncommon for themed establishments like maid cafes in Japan, but here at the No-Makeup Cafe, the focus is on a much less theatrical interaction with a staff of more natural-looking girls.
Naturalia Shibuya / ナチュラリア 渋谷店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 2-10-12, Shintaiso Building 3, 6F