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This 98-year-old cafe has a strict no mobile phone rule in exchange for an interesting experience

Naoya Yamadera's Lion Cafe in Tokyo offers one of the most serene and unique experiences but their only rule is: No mobile phones.

This 98-year-old cafe has a strict no mobile phone rule in exchange for an interesting experience
Cover Image Source: YouTube | PLAY TOKYO

The world's dependency on electronic devices is so grave that people can barely carry on simple activities without checking them constantly. The simple pleasure of in-person interactions and fully immersive experiences is increasingly rare. In a departure from this trend, Tokyo's Lion Cafe enforces a unique no-phone rule, as reported by CNN. The century-old cafe has one stern and crucial requirement: no using social media and mobile phones. To maintain the ambiance, customers are discouraged from using devices. Instead, there is an unusual seating arrangement that defines the cafe's entire concept.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Fauxels
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Fauxels

All seats face forward, directed towards two large speakers at the front. The concept encourages guests to relax and enjoy the tranquility, amplified by classical music enhancing the serene atmosphere. Naoya Yamadera, the manager of the cafe, has his reasons for enforcing this mandate in the cafe. "It was designed to immerse you in the image of listening to an orchestral performance," he explained. Though unconventional compared to today's bustling and stylish cafes, Yamadera preserves the legacy his father established in the early 20th century. The speakers built in 1950 are used to play from a vivid collection of 5000 vinyl records and CDs.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Valleria Miller
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Valeriia Miller

Customers can engage in the music and request from the collection, but any form of social media is shunned and using mobile phones or speaking on the same are strictly forbidden. Sharing more about his peculiar ambiance, Yamadera said that the idea of listening to calming music came years ago. However, the devices and records at the time were too expensive to execute the idea. Yamadera, who spent most of his childhood at the cafe, was determined to bring back the trend. The cafe runs mainly on old customers who had started visiting when they were students.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Scott Webb
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Scott Webb

Yamadera also mentioned a 70-year-old customer who had been visiting when he was a student. "For old customers who were in Tokyo as students and then went to the countryside, they come back for the first time in 30, 40 or 50 years. The store is still unchanged after such a long time. The customers leave with a good feeling and that is what's good about this cafe," the manager recalled. Yamadera pointed out. Some newcomers come to enjoy the secluded bliss the cafe offers, thanks to its unusual rules. A few shots of the cafe and its interiors, including the speakers and records, were shared by PLAY TOKYO. "I never imagined the coffee shop would be so lively with pedestrians," said Keiko Ishihara, Yamadera's wife.

"There are quite a lot of newcomers. Many people are not familiar with classical music, so I'd like them to get used to it in places like here," Yamadera mentioned. He also pointed out that the unique ambiance is what drives locals and people from all over the world to get a breather. While welcoming each of them, the manager said, "Some of our customers come from as far away as America and Europe. Some also come from all over Japan. They look at guidebooks and see this place as a destination, so I would like to introduce the café to these people." Though distinct, the Lion Cafe sure has a thrilling and refreshing experience to offer! 


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