Paddlers Coffee, Tokyo

Categories Café Hop

We’ve had friends bring us back bags of Stumptown Coffee from Portland and we’ve always brewed great cups with their beans. So we were quite excited to discover that Stumptown Coffee has landed in Japan… sort of. In the quiet Tokyo neighbourhood of Nishihara, a warm and cosy little café called Paddlers Coffee serves Stumptown Coffee. It’s the only place, in fact, where you can get Stumptown Coffee in Japan.

Owner Daisuke Matsushima grew up studying in Portland but it was only after he returned to Japan to helped as a volunteer in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami that he realised the magic of communal effort and experiences. After a trip back to Portland, Matsushima came upon Stumptown Coffee, enrolled in some classes there and returned to Tokyo once more to share his cache of Stumptown beans with his compatriots.

Of course, it’s not only his compatriots that gets to enjoy the Stumptown beans. As visitors to Japan, Nishihara is a really lovely albeit ageing area with various shops lining the street from the station to Paddlers. Bicycles are parked outside the café, itself looking not unlike a log cabin with plenty of blonde woods creating a warm background for the vinyl records and vintage record player, the bric-à-brac that run the gamut from model sailing vessels to a snow globe of – where else? – Portland, Oregon.

Besides the excellent coffee, there are sweet and savoury treats. Ian, our barista, recommended their kouign-amann, the rich and addictive Breton pastry, and their gourmet hot dog in a made-from-scratch soft bun from Yoyogi-based Tarui Bakery, smothered with sauerkraut.

In case you’re wondering where the name Paddlers Coffee came from, it’s derived from the adage “paddle out” — that is, life, and coffee, should about going with the flow, no? Tokyoites are always in a rush; here’s a chance to slow down and savour the good life and a good cuppa.



Paddlers Coffee
2-26-5 Nishihara Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Open daily (except Wed closed) 7:30am-6pm

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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