Japan

Coffee Buzz Takes Hold in Tokyo

Tokyo may be the home of the tea ceremony, but it’s all about coffee in the capital

Tokyo excels at serving coffee of the finest, most carefully crafted – and hipster-attracting – variety. Here are four districts serving seriously cool cups.

Harajuku

The capital’s coffee king is found a short walk from the Harajuku crowds in a discreet wooden, cube-like building, with a small Japanese garden entrance. Meet Eiichi Kunitomo of Koffee Mameya, in the renovated building his now-closed cult Omotesando Koffee once occupied. Here, Kunitomo – dressed in his signature lab-like coat – can be found matching customers with their perfect brew for them to prepare at home, choosing from over a dozen varieties of beans. There are also coffee tastings and regular workshops.

Nakameguro

People stroll past shops in the Nakameguro area of Tokyo, Japan
Credit: Asia File / Alamy Stock Photo / Argusphoto

Sidewalk Stand is another hidden city favourite: a small, minimal, concrete corner hub overlooking the cherry tree-lined Meguro River in the Nakameguro district. The sweet-toothed will love its coffees mixed with a delicious homemade orange syrup.

Kiyosumi-Shirakawa

Allpress Espresso

Meanwhile, the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa neighbourhood has emerged as a craft coffee hub, with countless coffee shops – both Japanese and international – springing up on its quiet backstreets. There is Blue Bottle Kiyosumi, housed in a large white warehouse by Schemata Architects, outside which trails a queue of coffee pilgrims. Just around the corner is the popular Allpress Espresso, in a stylishly converted old timber storage space, complete with distinct wooden facade. Another local favourite is Arise Coffee Roasters, set up by one of the original pioneers of the neighbourhood’s coffee scene.

This story was originally published in July 2017 and updated in September 2020

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