“Cool Japan” is the concept of the “JAPAN POP JUNGLE” that debuted in the AEON Mall Makuhari Shin Toshin, which just opened on Dec 20. Nine shops each specializing in hallmark aspects of Japanese pop culture have gathered to form a zone, with possible future prospects of expanding overseas.

The first “GUNDAM Cafe” to open in Chiba is themed on the Zeon Armed Forces. A to-scale Zaku Head is displayed at the entrance, and inside are served a variety of dishes inspired by Gundam characters that are exclusive to the cafe. Adjacent is a new business category from Namco named the “Chara Pop Store”, fusing anime and game-themed “product sales”, “amusement” and “cafe”. Their kick-off theme to last till Feb 28 is “Otomate”, the dating simulation game brand for girls. The world of popular games such as “Hakuouki” and “AMNESIA” can be enjoyed through photo spots and limited original merchandise.

Pioneer of trading card games and game softwares, Bushiroad has opened their first official shop “Bushiroad Store” here. Visitors can purchase merchandise and enjoy game duels in the designated space. Another store named “STEAM LOCOMOTIVE” themed on railroads offers meals to be taken while enjoying views of the railroad georama. The menu lineup consists of original dishes and drinks inspired by famous trains. The three-zone georama offers different views depending on where you are seated.

Other stores include character goods and apparel store “COSPA Asia” (a new business category from “COSPA”), Sanrio’s “adult cute” brand “sanrio vivitix”, and “Gashapon World Premium”, offering the latest info and goods on Bandai Gashapon (capsule toys).