Secret Nintendo Cafe in Tokyo now open to the public
Former Nintendo employee Toru Hashimoto has been running a secret restaurant for years in Tokyo which, in addition to housing rare items from Nintendo’s past, has also served as a meeting place for some of the biggest names in Japanese video game development.
As this wonderful feature on Bloomberg reveals, Hashimoto, 59, opened 84— ”a combination of the creator’s last name, the year he joined the Kyoto-based game maker and the final stage of Super Mario Bros “- in 2015, and filled what was then a restaurant with all kinds of things he saved from destruction:
Never expecting video games to become the cultural phenomenon they’ve become in, the company hasn’t been very careful about preserving its history, said industry consultant Hisakazu Hirabayashi. But Hashimoto, sentimental about the products created by his colleagues, has got into the habit of keeping small items for the incinerator and bringing them home …“I moved a fraction of them to display them at the restaurant, hoping my friends would feel nostalgic when they saw them,” Hashimoto said in an interview in his cafe. “It at least made my wife happy, because our house is more organized now.”
On all the walls, meanwhile, are “Impromptu doodles from the makers of legendary franchises like Pokémon, Dragon Quest and Mega Man.
84 operated for years as a restaurant, serving beers and home style kitchen to Japanese game industry types, like Pokemon Shigeki Morimoto—who would meet and hang out, play games and talk about business. But the pandemic has forced changes, withh 84 first closing for months, before reopening in coffee.
More importantly for a location that was previously a secret, known only to industry insiders, it is now open to the public, although its address remains hidden and is only provided at time of booking.
Visitors are greeted by a Zelda ring the bell when they open the front door, and “Many of the items on display at 84 are unique and unlikely to be found anywhere else in the world, perhaps not even in the official museum Nintendo is building in Kyoto.