Shelf of games at Cafe Subbox

Cafe Subbox

Storefront with white calls and blue highlights.
I almost walked by the store at night, but the meeples told me I was at the right place.

I was in Nagano a while back and stopped by a small board game store and cafe called Cafe Subbox. It’s about a 12 minute walk from the station and 20 minute from the gates of Zenkoji. Easy to miss from the outside, the inside is has a warm, welcoming vibe. There was a family playing a board game at the table near the door, and the owner was behind the counter. They had a sale going on, and a nice selection of games for sale as well as play in the store.

View of the shop from the entry. A narrow entry leads to space that widens with more tables and shelves of games.
View from the entry way. A family was playing a board game to the right of the photo.

Notices next to the entrance.A notices board advertising events on the left, the message board on the right is for player recruitment. A lot of places use Line or similar online apps to create community, so it was nice to see the old school style of posting messages.

Shelves of games that can be played.
These games are for play at the cafe, and outnumber those for sale.

Another wall of games for cafe play.
More games for play at the cafe.

Games lined up on shelves and counters surround the staff area.
The staff area is tucked away behind games for sale. Shop details, such as rates, are posted above.

There was a box with a couple of used games as well, including a My Little Scythe with miniatures the owner painted. I also spotted some Vallejo paints tucked away on a shelf near the door. While mostly board and card games, there was also a Sword World starter box behind the counter.

The owner was knowledgable and was very nice to talk with. Seeing a poster for Goita (ごいた), we were inspired to pick it up. It’s a game played with two teams of two that I finally got a chance to play. We’ll take a look at that next time.

Gota card game box and four of its cards next to it.


Hours: Weekdays 15:00 to 23:00. Weekends 13:00 to 23:00. Closed Wednesday and Tuesday.


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