A waiter serves a cup of tea at the Butlers Cafe in Tokyo [Agencies]
In a nation where many girls grow up on Western fairy tales, Tokyo's Butlers Cafe is tapping into the popular fantasy that they will grow up to meet their Prince Charming.
Just stepping over the threshold, Japanese woman can forget for a few hours that they are in Shibuya, one of the capital's most crowded areas, and enter a world where a handsome man rushes to the tinkle of her bell, goes down one knee and asks: "Yes, my princess?"
The cafe offers a variety of homemade food, sweets and drinks, as well as photo shoots in which a favourite butler holds the woman in the air -- and English lessons.
Since opening in mid-2006, Butlers Cafe has attracted around 2,000 frequent customers.
Yuki Nozaki, a 23-year-old childminder, and kindergarten teacher Aki Nakamura, 24, say they come at least once a month to enjoy a fleeting moment of romance.
"At first I was really shy about the concept of this cafe, but all the butlers are very cute, cheerful and sweet and, above all, the fact that they're foreigners helps us to escape from reality," Nozaki said.