Japan's Anna Miller's restaurant chain, operated by Imuraya Corporation, opened its first location in the Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo in 1973 and has been offering Pennsylvania Dutch pies and American cuisine, inspired by the original Anna Miller's in the United States, ever since. At one point, there were as many as 25 locations in Tokyo and Yokohama, but after the Yokohama Landmark Tower branch closed in 2012, the only remaining branch has been the one in the Keikyu Wing Takanawa shopping center opposite Shinagawa Station, a major transportation hub in Tokyo.

However, the Takanawa branch, which has been operating since 1983, will close its doors on August 31st, 2022.

Reason for Closing

Located on the second floor of the Keikyu Wing Takanawa shopping center in front of Shinagawa Station, the branch has played a major role in promoting the Anna Miller's brand to the world over the past 40 years, thanks to its excellent location and the patronage of many customers. Numerous English comments on review sites praise the store for the comforting ambiance, American cuisine and pies, and friendly service.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has requested that the branch be relocated in conjunction with the Shinagawa Station West Exit Infrastructure Development Project, and Imaruya Co. has decided to cooperate, along with the other tenants moving out of the shopping center.

Although the company is considering new potential locations for the store, no decision has been made at the present time.

Hours on closing day, August 31st, will be 8:00 to 22:00.

The history of Anna Miller's in Japan

Anna Miller's opened its first store in Tokyo's Minami-Aoyama neighborhood in 1973. Jiro Imura, the first president of Imuraya Confectionery Co., formed a partnership with the San Francisco-based Anna Miller's and launched the business in Japan.

With its delicious pies featuring kneaded pie crusts and thick custard cream, free coffee refills, and uniforms identical to those in the U.S., Anna Miller's suited the lifestyles of Tokyo residents during Japan's period of rapid economic growth.

Starting with the Aoyama branch, the company opened a total of 25 branches in neighborhoods popular among the youth of the time, including Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Kichijoji, and Shimokitazawa. However, along with lifestyle changes, their popularity began to decrease and now only the Takanawa branch remains.

An iconic uniform and its impact on Japanese subculture

Inspired by the original red uniforms, a version of which are still worn in the Hawaii location in the US, Japan's Anna Miller's uniform, consisting of a white blouse, an orange or pink dress, a matching apron and a heart-shaped name tag, became famous for their cute appearance.

Anna Miller's experienced the peak of its popularity in the '80s and '90s, and several manga, anime and video games made in the 1990s have characters working as waitresses at Anna Miller's or cafes inspired by it. Some examples are Urd in the anime Oh My Goddess!, Excel and Hyatt in the anime Excel Saga, Akira Uehara in the manga Your and My Secret, and the Pia Carrot restaurant chain in the visual novel Welcome to Pia Carrot!!, which inspired the first commercial (temporary) maid cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo in 1999. As a result, the Anna Miller's uniform is often cited as having had an impact on maid cafe uniform designs in the early stages of the maid cafe boom in the 2000s.

Special promotions leading up to closing day

Now through August, the Keikyu Wing Takanawa branch of Anna Miller's is bringing back popular pies from earlier in the franchise's history. They are also planning to sell novelty products, with details to be announced on their official website as they become available.

Coconut Custard Pie

A popular pie sold in the 1980s and 1990s, it features a rich custard baked to a golden brown, topped with roasted coconut and served with a bittersweet caramel sauce.

Price: 660 JPY (tax included) *For eat-in customers only

Online store

Although the last branch will close in August, there are many fans of Anna Miller's original pies and cheesecakes throughout Japan, so Imuraya Co. plans to develop various ways of making the chain's products available mainly through e-commerce sales.

If you live in Japan, you can order their apple pie, Dutch apple pie, cherry pie and other oven-baked pies and cheesecakes from their online store here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.