Anti-Loneliness Cafes in Japan: The Solution for Solo Travelers?

May 19, 2014
Cafes in Japan

One of the biggest concerns that solo travelers seem to face before setting out on their travels is eating alone. People are worried that they will feel awkward sitting at a restaurant by themselves, that others will look at them strangely, and that they will feel lonely.

Well, it turns out that the cafes in Japan have come up with one solution: anti-loneliness cafes. In Moomin House Cafe (which now has three locations), large stuffed animals called, Moomins are seated in a chair opposite the solo customer.

At first glance, this seems hilarious and sort of cute. Sitting at a table with a doll? It’s like being back in kindergarten! But on second thought, it’s sort of pathetic. Wouldn’t sitting with a stuffed animal make a person feel more awkward than just sitting by herself?

During my first solo travels, I remember feeling sort of empowered when I realized that I’d be eating alone. After the hyper social nature of college, it felt relaxing to be able to eat whatever, wherever and whenever I wanted, with a book or a journal by my side.

How do you feel about eating alone?

About Rachel Sales

Rachel Sales is a co-founder of Pink Pangea.

3 thoughts on “Anti-Loneliness Cafes in Japan: The Solution for Solo Travelers?

  1. Rachel Sales
    July 23, 2014

    I agree with you, Sonja.

  2. Sonja
    July 23, 2014

    I often even eat alone here in the city where I live. I usually bring a magazine or book (an e-reader is more practical in this case), but sometimes I just use the occasion for some thinking and people-watching. If you’re concerned about eating alone abroad, I suggest you start training at home, so it won’t feel that awkward. 🙂

  3. Hmmm … this is kind of strange haha. I usually pick places that seem more casual so it’s not awkward to be alone, or if it’s safe & culturally appropriate grab food to go and eat it in a park or something.

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