Akihabara DearStage one of the most popular nightspots in Akihabara, where you will meet girls working towards their dreams of becoming an idol or singer. Here you can enjoy mini lives put up by the girls, while enjoying a nice meal or drink with an opportunity to converse with them.
Usually opened only in the evenings, it is a great place to relax and enjoy after a tiring day. Taking a look at the exterior of DearStage will give you an idea of what to expect. Both Dempagumi.inc and Moso Calibration originated from DearStage. You can read my introduction to Moso Calibration here and the one for Dempagumi.inc here.
Are you ready to begin your journey into Akihabara DearStage?
Take a look at the left door panel of the above image. You can see some three pictures lined on it with empty pockets on their side. Those pockets when filled, will let customers know which DearGirls/Boys working on that day, and which floor they’re located at. So you will have an idea of who to expect on each floor. The term DearGirls/Boys are what the girls are called, DearBoys are for those who cross dress.
You have to pay 1,000 yen as entrance fee, which includes a drink coupon. When you enter DearStage you’ll see a mini stage on the first floor, this is where you will get to enjoy mini lives performed by the girls. One thing to note is that not all DearGirls/Boys working on that day will take part in the mini lives. You can view the performances live on their Ustream channel, Dear Stream. On a normal working day there are three scheduled mini-lives daily on the first floor at 1830 GMT+9, 2000 GMT+9 and lastly at 2120 GMT+9. There’s also a food and goods counter located on the first floor. During certain performances, especially during the first mini-live slot, the audience will perform wotagei, do not be afraid to be the odd one out not knowing what to do. You can take this chance to learn some wotagei moves for yourself by mimicking the others.
There are normal days and event/themed days. For example, Easter-themed days, birthday events, release events and many more.
Some general things to note:
- Entry fee 500 yen + Drink coupon 500 yen
- ピンショ (Pinsho) Cheki 500 yen (Polaroid of a DearGirl/Boy)
- 2ショ (Two shot) 1000 yen (Polaroid of you and a DearGirl/Boy)
- No forms of Audio/Visual recording allowed inside
- Free Wifi available
- Every 1000 yen of expenditure gets you a point on your point card
- Point card available on request
- Event-only Point cards for certain events
Let’s take a break and take a look at some of the DearGirls/Boys performing the DearStage original song.
Did you spot any familiar faces? (Hint: some members of Dempagumi.inc, STAR☆ANIS, Moso Calibration)
The song is available in the Tsukiichi (ツキイチ) compilation album available at the counter on the first floor.
Tsukiichi is a monthly project where a handful of DearGirls/Boys will take part in an audition where they compete with each other for the chance to have a solo song created for them. They may take part as a group, or as individuals. The audiences’ vote will determine the winner. It is quite a grand affair as getting a solo song means one step forward for their dream. The winner will have their solo song released, this is sold at the counter on the first floor.
Let’s move on to the second floor…
The cafe part of DearStage. Here you will be able to sit down at either the table or counter area and enjoy a meal and a drink. There are alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available, if you are weak against alcohol, I would advice you not to get alcoholic drinks. You don’t want to talk gibberish to your favourite idols do you?
This is also where you will be able to talk with the DearGirls/Boys. I had the opportunity to talk with Yumeko Mizuki and Usa Sakurano on my first visit to the second floor. You can use the drink coupon given to you on entry on this floor (or the first or third floor). Besides food and drinks, on the menu there is also Pinsho and Two-shot available. Pinsho costs 500 yen, this is a polaroid of a DearGirl/Boy of your choice working at the cafe on that day. Two-shot costs 1000 yen, this is a polaroid shot of you and a DearGirl/Boy of your choice.
Take note that on some days or timings, there is a waiting list to enter the upper floors (cafe and bar floors).
The charges for the second floor is as follows:
- Table seating – 500 yen for the first hour, 200 yen thereafter for 30 mins blocks
- Counter seating – 500 yen for the first hour, 300 yen thereafter for 30 mins blocks
Finally the third floor…
The Bar portion of DearStage. Similar to the second floor, you can to choose from two types of seating arrangements, counter and table. The benefit of the counter over the table is that you will have more chances and will be able to talk longer to the DearGirl/Boy preparing your drinks behind the counter. On special occasions the third floor has no seating charges, an example is the Moso Calibration event on 26 Dec 2014. If you have yet to use your drink coupon, you can use it on this floor too.
The charges for the third floor is as follows:
- Table seating – 500 yen for the first hour, 200 yen thereafter for 30 mins blocks
- Counter seating – 700 yen for the first hour, 300 yen thereafter for 30 mins blocks
You are free to go down to the first floor for the mini lives and come back up again before your one hour is up.
There is a whole list of upcoming events on the DearStage website. So how different are events from normal working days you might wonder.
Events can be categorised like this
- Holiday/season-themed events
- Release events
- Anniversary events
- Birthday events
- Graduation events
- Themed events (Maid, cooking, food)
Examples of Holiday/season-themed events include, Easter, Christmas, New Years. An example of an anniversary event is Mahiru Kurumizawa’s 3rd Anniversary event. Risagohan by Risa Aizawa is an example of a food or cooking event. Moso Calibration has a release event at DearStage for the release of their seventh single. When a DearGirl/Boy graduates from DearStage, they might have a graduation event. Yumeko Mizuki (Moso Calibration) and Gumi Nanase (Band Ja Naimon!) will have their birthday events held at DearStage in the month of April.
Below is a rough list of goods you might expect at an event, though not all events might have them.
- A5 Lamica
- Chekikuji (random)
- and more…
The list if non-exhaustive. Who knows what ideas the girls might come up with.
Certain events have separate ticketing charge (an example would be Risagohan), so do take note and check the DearStage website for more information. There are event specific point cards for some events, you will get a stamp for every 1000 yen spent on event goods or food. Accumulating a certain amount of points will entitle you to a special item or opportunity. It could be an A5 Lamica or a two-shot with a DearGirl/Boy.
Notable DearGirls/Boys Past and Present
STAR☆ANIS is the unit born from Akihabara DearStage for singing the insert and theme songs of the TV Anime, Aikatsu!
The eight members of STAR☆ANIS includes
- Waka – Waka Kirishima as Ichigo Hoshimiya
- Fuuri – Fuuri Uebana as Aoi Kiriya and Seira Otoshiro
- Risuko – Risuko Sasakama as Mizuki Kanzaki and Kanon
- Remi – Remi Mitani as Otome Arisugawa, Yurika Todo, and Miyabi Fujiwara
- Eri – Eri Aino as Sakura Kitaoji, Maria Himesato, and Sora Kazesawa
- Yuna – Yuna Ichikura as Kaede Ichinose, Kii Saegusa, and Ran Shibuki
- Mona – Mona Tomoyama as Mikuru Natsuki
- Ruka – Ruka Endo as Akari Oozora
Out of the eight members of STAR☆ANIS, only Mona and Ruka are not affiliated with DearStage.
All members of Dempagumi.inc are from DearStage. They do not work at DearStage on a regular basis any more but Nemu Yumemi and Risa Aizawa still do hold monthly events at DearStage. Find out more about Dempagumi.inc here.
The members of Moso Calibration were still actively working at DearStage up till recent months. They still hold events individually or as Moso Calibration quite often at DearStage though. Coming up in the month of April, their seventh single release event, Mahiru Kurumizawa third anniversary event, and Easter event though not physically participating on the day itself but through goods sales. Find out more about Moso Calibration here.
Out of the six members in the idol group Band Ja Naimon!, two members are affiliated with DearStage. They are Gumi Nanase and Koishio Ringo.
Top row of the above image from left to right, Mirin Furukawa (Dempagumi.inc), Sakurataro Shiramizu (Senkou Planetgate), Ayane Fujisaki (Dempagumi.inc).
Bottom row from left to right, Maon Kurosaki (formerly from DearStage), Waka Kirishima (STAR☆ANIS).
Check out the blog post by Maon Kurosaki about meeting her old DearStage friends at the recent fripSide Yokohama Arena live.
Now check out a video from 2008 featuring Maon Kurosaki when she was still with DearStage and Mirin Furukawa.
Just look how far some members both past and present have gone, maybe you will meet them at DearStage?
If you are in Tokyo and have an evening or two to spare, why not head down to Akihabara DearStage and see what you will discover.
Here’s a quick summary of the important things.
- Entry fee of 1000 yen (includes a drink coupon)
- Opening times
- Monday to Friday 1800 ~ 2250
- Weekends and Public Holidays 1700 ~ 2250
- Check out the DearStage website for more details
- Three floors in total
- First floor for mini lives
- Cafe on the second floor
- Bar on the third floor
Use your drink coupon on the upper levels if you intend to go up. You are required to get a drink on the upper levels if you go up, so if you have already used your drink coupon on the first floor before going up you would have to buy another drink.
It is good to check out the DearStage website for any events before you head down, you do not want to bump into a special ticketed event and not be able to enter would you?
It is OK do go down to the first floor to watch the lives and go back up again before your one hour is up.
It is also OK to not go up to the upper levels at all and just stay at the first floor the whole day to enjoy all three lives. That is 1000 yen for three mini lives and a drink!
If you want a certain DearGirl/Boy’s Pinsho Cheki, feel free to call out to them.
Monday to Friday
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
〒101-0021 東京都千代田区外神田3-10-9 DEMPAビル
Tokyo-to Chiyoda-ku Soto-Kanda 3-10-9 DEMPA Biru
DearStage Ustream Channel – Dear Stream
Moso Calibration Official Site
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