All the coffee lovers in the house, read up! If you happen to be in the Japanese capital, these are the five cafes that you definitely cannot miss. O’s soon-to-be brother-in-law who is a total coffee connoisseur was in Tokyo recently and came back with this snappy guide to the city’s coffee scene. Enjoy! 😀
Coffee hopping in Japan
Bear Pond Espresso
Located in Shimokitazawa, Bear Pond Espresso has become the pilgrimage destination for coffee lovers worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. A small establishment, the espresso machine can only be manned by owner and barista Katsuyuki Tanaka. Espresso is only served until 2pm (it is said that a change in electricity messes with the machine), so come early to enjoy Bear Pond’s dense, syrupy espresso and latte. Forget about taking pictures though (you can’t!), it’s all about coffee the Bear Pond way.
Bear Pond Espresso Address: 2 Chome-36-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0031, Japan Phone: +81 3-5454-2486 Opening hours: Mon, Wed - Sun: 10.30 AM - 01.30 PM Closed on Tuesday!
Home to Asia’s first winner of Latte Art World Championship Hiroshi Sawada, the stunning triple rosetta latte art is just as rewarding as the coffee served. If you fancy something cold, their iced latte bottle is exceptional, considering how rare it is to find truly performing espresso-based iced lattes.
Streamer Coffee Shibuya Address: 1F 1-20-28, Shibuya, Tokyo. Phone: +81 3-6427-3705 Opening hours: Monday - Friday (inc. holidays): 08.00AM - 07.00PM Saturday: 12.00PM - 07.00PM Sunday: 12.00PM - 06.00PM
Streamer Coffee Harajuku Address: 3-28-19, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo Phone: +81 3-5772-6633 Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 09.00AM - 06.00PM Saturday - Sunday (inc. holidays): 11.00AM - 06.00PM
Streamer Coffee Gohongi Address: 2-36, Chuuouchou, Meguro, Tokyo Phone: +81 3-6452-3145 Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 07.00AM - 08.00PM Saturday - Sunday (inc. holidays): 12.00PM - 06.00PM
Hailing from Los Angeles, Urth Caffe has a special place in my heart for their coffee, brunch and desserts. Try a hot Spanish Latte, or if you love iced coffee like me, their amazing Spanish Latte Granita. Visit the Omotesando branch so that when you’re done, you’re only a stone’s throw away from the one-of-a-kind Omotesando Koffee.
Urth Cafe Shibuya Address: 8-9, Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan Phone: +81 3-5784-3301 Opening hours: 10.00 AM - 08.00 PM (everyday)
Urth Cafe Omotesando (new branch) Address: 4-9-8 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan Phone: +81 3-6447-4771 Opening hours: 10.00 AM - 08.00 PM (everyday)
This hidden gem, a minimalist cafe shop inside a traditional Japanese house, has such a barely-there signage you might miss it. Once inside, barista-owner Eiichi Kunitomo serves a range of hot and iced coffee. Grab a cup and enjoy it on the tiny bench right at the entrance of the shop.
Omotesando Koffee Address: 4-15-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan Phone: +81 3-5413-9422 Opening hours: 10.00AM - 07.00PM (everyday) Nearest station: Omotesando Exit A2 / Meiji-Jingumae
I visited Japan a few months ahead of Blue Bottle’s opening. Hailed as the Apple of coffee, Blue Bottle is now a rising behemoth of specialty coffee. Known for their slow bar pour overs, Kyoto-style and New Orleans cold brew, as well as all manners of geeky brews, Blue Bottle has just recently opened its roastery branch in Kiyosumi. It may just be a signage or drawing of a blue bottle, but coffee lovers flock to this hybrid shrine of tech startup and specialty coffee.
Blue Bottle Aoyama Address: Minami-Aoyama 3-13-14, Minato, Tokyo 107-0062 Opening hours: 10.00 AM - 09.00 PM (everyday)
Blue Bottle Kiyosumi Address: 1-4-8, Hirano, Koto, Tokyo, Japan Opening hours: 08.00 AM - 07.00 PM (everyday)
Bonus: BAKE by Kinotoya
BAKE by Kinotoya is most definitely not specialty coffee, but I sure don’t mind lining up for a box of their incredible cheese tarts. Their bold yellow and black storefront houses rows upon rows of tender, double baked cheese tarts.
BAKE by Kinotoya Jiyugaoka Address: 1-31-10 BAKE Building 1F 2F, Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan Phone: +81 3-5731-0035 Opening hours: 11.00 AM - 08.00 PM (everyday)
BAKE by Kinotoya Lumine Est Shinjuku Address: 3-38-1 Rumineesuto 1F, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan 160-0022 Phone: +81 3-5925-8170 Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 11.00 AM - 10.00 PM Saturday - Sunday (inc. holidays): 10.30 AM - 10.00 PM
BAKE by Kinotoya Lumine Omiya Address: JR Omiya Station, Omiya, Nishikicho, 330-0853 Phone: +81 48-783-3911 Opening hours: 08.00 AM - 10.00 PM (everyday)