You’ve trudged through the crowd in Takeshita Street and visited all the gamers’ hideouts in Akihabara. You’ve even viewed the Shibuya crossing from a vantage point and seen the minuscule streets of Tokyo from the Tokyo SkyTree. Now, it’s time to rest your weary feet and take in the sights and stylish people in some specialty coffee places in Tokyo.
If you’re into coffee, then you will appreciate the scene. These are scattered all over the city, and they consist of a tightly knit community of passionate people. Quite a number of these cafes even roast their own beans. If you find that you like their brew, you can buy a packet of beans home to try as well.
Most of the specialty coffee places in Tokyo are tiny. There are small, cosy spaces, and then there are literal hole-in-the-walls where the only seating is a small bench outside the cafe. All of these add to the charm of the place, as you will find when you pay them a visit to see for yourself.
The baristas are cool and alternative — if you want a refreshing change of pace and style compared to the masses that you would see in Harajuku and Shibuya, then these cafes are a must-visit. Even its patrons are great for people-watching, if only to take in the different street styles in the city.
So kick back and sip on your drip coffee. Chat with the affable baristas and cafe owners, or even immerse yourself in a book while you’re there. These specialty coffee places in Tokyo will be worth the visit.
(Main image credit: Fuglen)
Pronounced as “all seasons coffee”, this cafe is located in one of the quieter streets of Shinjuku. The interior of the shop is minimal, but not bare. Pick from a number of beans including Alaka, Gakocwe, and Sin Limites and more to satisfy your coffee tastebuds, and watch the baristas at work.
4/4 Seasons Coffee, 1F 2-7-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 160-0022, +81-03-5341-4273.
Around a quiet corner in Shibuya, you’ll find (with varying difficulty) this cute coffee stand: About Life Coffee Brewers. Like most third wave coffee places, they emphasise on the seed to cup ethos and take a lot of pride in the product they sell. You can find beans from several Tokyo roasteries here. Stand around enjoying your cuppa or have it to go.
About Life Coffee Brewers, 1-19-8, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81-03-6809-0751.
Located in the hipster neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa, Bear Pond Espresso is the perfect addition to the street amongst vintage clothing stores and artisanal cupcakes cafes. The owner and barista is fluent in English, having spent some time in the United States. Sip on your coffee and maybe munch on a cupcake from the store across the street (you’re allowed to bring it to his cafe). A fair warning though: the owner does not allow photography inside his cafe.
Bear Pond Espresso, 1-17-1 Shibuya Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0002, Japan, +81 3-5454-2486.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Fuglen Tokyo is an outpost of the original cafe from Oslo, Norway. By day, Fuglen is a bustling cafe. By night, the cafe transforms into a cocktail bar selling Japanese and Norwegian craft beer, attracting stylish locals and knowing foreigners. The interior is swish and vintage, similar to what Haruki Murakami would depict in his novels.
Fuglen, 1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3-3481-0884.
While most of the other cafes attract a hipster and stylish crowd, Glitch Coffee & Roasters have a clientele of mostly salarymen thanks to its location amongst many office towers. However, that doesn’t make this space any less cool. The team behind the bar is a passionate one, as much as owner Suzuki Kiyokazu is passionate about spreading the Japanese coffee culture.
Glitch Coffee & Roasters, 3-16 Kanda-Nishikicho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81-03-5244-5458.
On an intersection of a road just behind the Setagaya train station, you will find Light Up Coffee. This corner coffee stand is extremely snug, fitting both a cafe and a tiny roaster into the space. The interiors seat two people, while there are two benches on the outside for people to chill out with their drinks. Light Up Coffee merchandise is also available in the cafe.
Light Up Coffee, 2 Chome-29-12 Daita, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0033, Japan, +81 3-6450-9044.
After walking through Yoyogi Park and admiring the trees whether in spring or autumn, walk a little further and get a cuppa from Little Nap Coffee Stand. It’s situated in an area where art creatives like to hang out, so your people watching activity will be settled. The customers are also a friendly and affable bunch, so strike up a conversation with them as you both enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.
Little Nap Coffee Stand, 5-65-4 Yoyogi Shibuya-ku Tokyo, 151-0053 Japan, +81 3-3466-0074.
Go for the good coffee, and stay for the kawaii baristas at Onibus Coffee. The location itself is an interesting one, situated directly behind the train tracks. If you stay there long enough, a train will rumble past and you can literally feel the tiny cafe rattle. Nonetheless, the coffee is great and so is the view. To the left of the cafe is a park, which brings about a picturesque scenery especially during spring and autumn. Sipping quality coffee in this setting brings a new meaning to peace and harmony.
Onibus Coffee, 2-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3-6412-8683.