Café-hopping in Tokyo

Categories Café Hop, City Guides

This is the fourth in a series of city-specific café-hopping guides around the world, based on our articles in Sunday Mail’s Crave magazine.

The Japanese love their coffee. From traditional kissatens (coffee shops), dimly lit and smoke-filled, to giant American coffee chains, there’s a café around every corner. These days young Tokyoites frequent indie coffee shops that roast and brew their own beans — with a menu of espressos, cappuccinos, single origin brews and iced coffees.


The coffee scene in Tokyo is electrifying: How about a tavern that serves coffee in fine china teacups; or an artisanal café that only serves black coffee brewed using a flannel from aged beans; or some of the best latte art in the world?

Tokyo has everything a café hopper could ask for. Take a sip, enjoy your brew, taste the difference.


Café de l’Ambre
Have you ever visited a ‘pure’ café? One which did not serve any food, not even a morsel of cake – only coffee, and pure black coffee at that? Enter this café, dimly lit like a pub, and discover a long bar where Japanese baristas from an age that had not heard of the term ‘hipster’ take their time with their brewing.

[ Read more here ]


Omotesando Koffee
Behind flagship stores hawking big-name luxury brands and hidden in the back streets of Tokyo’s shopping district of Omotesando is a café that almost isn’t there — unless you are looking for it. A pop-up café residing in a 60-year old traditional Japanese house, Omotesando Koffee is all wood, bamboo and thatch.

[ Read more here ]


Blue Bottle Coffee Tokyo
Besides knowledgeable baristas, Mahlefitz stands out for their coffee degustation menus, such as the Varietäten menu (offering two types of filter coffee such as a floral Ethiopia Kochere and a sugarcane-like Kenya Kiwanmururu) and the Aufbereitungsart menu (experience the difference between washed and natural processing).

[ Read more about Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi and Blue Bottle Coffee Shinjuku ]


Nozy Coffee
Just a block away from the verdant Setagaya Park, this café has its coffee bar in the basement with a roaster in the adjacent room. A few tables and chairs, the sound and aroma of coffee being brewed and beans being roasted: a simple décor and atmosphere for an extraordinary café.

[ Read more here ]


Unlimited Coffee Bar
Founded by World Barista Championship judge Daichi Matsubara and roaster Rena Hirai in July, this nearly five-month-old café in Sumida, Tokyo (not too far from the famous Sensoji Temple of Asakusa and the Tokyo Skytree tower) is perhaps the freshest face on the scene where Japanese specialty coffee is concerned.

[ Read more here ]


Streamer Coffee Company
Shibuya’s Streamer Coffee Company is a Seattle-style café run by champion latte artist Hiroshi Sawada. His signature triple rosetta latte art is the main draw here.

[ Read more here ]


Café Obscura
Besides being a showcase for beans roasted by Obscura Coffee Roasters, this café is one of the few in Tokyo to serve nothing but siphon-brewed coffee. Observe the alchemic process of crafting a sublime slow brew.

[ Read more here ]


COBI Coffee
Cobi Coffee is a café located within Bloom & Branch, a boutique that sells a range of artisanal housewares and hand-crafted attire. No surprise then that the coffee served here mirrors this philosophy: every cup is hand-brewed and served with courteous ceremony.

[ Read more here ]


Paddlers Coffee
In the quiet Tokyo neighbourhood of Nishihara, a warm and cosy little café called Paddlers Coffee serves Stumptown Coffee. Founded by Daisuke Matsushima, it’s the only place, in fact, where you can get Stumptown Coffee in Japan.

[ Read more here ]


Coffee Tei
Coffee Tei looks less like a café and more like an English pub. There is a beautiful long bar where the baristas make the coffee, and behind them shelves upon shelves of ornate, limited edition teacups that the owner had collected over the years.

[ Read more here ]


Little Nap Coffee Stand
Hidden in a residential neighbourhood, beside the Odakyu Line tracks and across the road from Yoyogi Park, is Little Nap Coffee Stand run by music lover Daisuke Hamada. Small enough that it calls itself a mere “coffee stand” though there are a few benches outside lovers of the outdoors would appreciate.

[ Read more here ]


Fuglen Tokyo
Looking for a blast of Nordic cool in Tokyo? Hailing from Oslo, Fuglen (which means “the bird” in Norwegian) is a stylish blend of coffee bar by day and a cocktail bar by night. Located in a small alley near Yoyogi Park, Fuglen Tokyo is decorated with vintage furniture – every piece is for sale!

[ Read more here ]


For more cafés around the world, arranged by countries and cities, please browse our Café Map.

Kenny is a writer. CK is a photographer. Together they café-hop around the world and have contributed to The Malay Mail Online, Time Out, and other cool publications. Read more of Kenny’s stories at Life for Beginners and check out CK’s photography at Devil's Tales 胡思亂想.

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