If you've been reading grape Japan recently, you're probably aware that Japan has been flooded with bubble tea shops and sucked into bubble tea mania. Known in Japan as "tapioca (tea)", the drinks offered in Taiwanese, American and native Japanese chains are all the rage, especially in the trendy neighborhood of Harajuku. While many young Japanese people welcome the trend, as we've reported before, there have also been negative effects such as littering.

Moreover, with boba pearls appearing in everything from beer to cheese tea, and bubble tea drinks with additional properties such as low-sugar, organic, vitamin boost or even sun protection now coming on to the market, some may be wondering if the tapioca trend may soon tap out, having exhausted its potential.

Tokyo Tapioca Land: A Bubble Tea Theme Park

This sentiment may now be heightened by the announcement of a new "bubble tea theme park" by STARS Inc. Perhaps taking a page from a certain famous American amusement park, they're calling their limited-time experiment "Tokyo Tapioca Land."

Scheduled to open from August 13th to September 16th, it will be located in the jing multipurpose commercial facility adjacent to the JR Harajuku Station and connected to the Tokyo Metro Meiji-jingumae Station.

According to their press release, Tokyo Tapioca Land will feature:

  • Numerous famous bubble tea shops so you can enjoy drinks and food starring boba pearls.
  • Various photo booths so you can take Instagenic photos with your tapioca drinks
  • Collaborations of all kinds, including appearances by and limited menu items designed with celebrities, and other attractions

To enjoy your stay in Tokyo Tapioca Land, you'll need to buy a ticket (advanced sales 1,000 JPY; same day 1,200 JPY) which comes with one complimentary welcome drink.

Social media weighs in

This surprising announcement was met with a mixed reaction on social media. Some were purely excited about it, others rather cynical, and yet others used the opportunity to reveal what the phrase "Tokyo Tapioca Land" conjured up in their imaginations.


Mirin Furukawa of popular idol group Dempagumi.inc posted a comment representative of the pro-boba camp:

Or, for example, reactions such as these:


For cynics who think that the bubble tea boom's days are numbered, the announcement of Tokyo Tapioca Land conjured up post-apocalyptic images of abandoned amusement parks and other dilapidated places.

Imagining Tokyo Tapioca Land

Whether by intent or by necessity, the artwork representing the interior of Tokyo Tapioca Land posted by STARS Inc. in their press release and on the project's website is rather abstract. Whether due to this initial lack of detail or simply in reaction to the idea of a "Tokyo Tapioca Land" (which reached the third most popular trending hashtag on Twitter for the Tokyo area), the phrase inspired posts such as these:

Event organizer Afromance:

Illustrator "Penpen the Emperor Penguin":

For Twitter user Do, the black spheres of boba pearls inspired a reference to the sci-fi horror and thriller manga GANTZ:

By - Ben K.