Tokyo Cafes – The Best Cafes in the Japanese Capital

Tokyo cafes come in many guises. From hip Third-Wave coffee shops to animal and Maid cafes - there's something for all. Let us be your guide.

Tokyo cafes are many and varied. From artisan, third-wave coffee outlets and generic American coffee chains to cafes crossed with petting zoos and the infamous Maid Cafes – the Japanese capital isn’t lacking in the cafe department. 

Find below a guide to the best of the best, taking in Tokyo’s leading coffee shops, animal cafes and Maid Cafes. 

The 15 Best Coffee Shops in Tokyo

Provided by waferboard via Flickr cc

While it’s always a pleasure to stumble on familiar names such as Starbucks and Tully’s when traveling overseas, it’s hardly exciting. Is it not better to check out the local coffee scene? We think so. 

Third Wave coffee is all the rage these days. What is it? Well, it refers to the movement towards viewing coffee not as a commodity, but an artisanal, craft beverage. Third Wave coffee places emphasis on high-quality, single origin (as opposed to blends) coffee that has been ethically produced. Third Wave coffee outlets can be found in towns and cities around the world and Tokyo is no exception. 

The city has its own coffee scene and dedicated shops serving the best coffee going. It is this coffee scene we’re going to introduce you to below:

1) Fuglen

Provided by Foursquare

Originally from Oslo, Norway, Fuglen opened its first overseas branch in a quiet neighborhood, right across from Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, in 2012. Ever since landing in Japan, the cafe has been frequented by a mixture of local and foreign customers with one thing in common: their love of coffee. The Scandinavian cafe offers acidic and fruity light roast coffee and various single origin coffees. From seven in the evening Fuglen changes into a cozy little bar that offers a variety of cocktails, Norwegian beer and a selection of seasonal wine. Plus, if you like the look of the place, all vintage items inside the cafe are for sale.  

   08:00 – 13:00 (Closing Time Varies)              

   Yoyogi-Koen Station

   03-3481-0884

 ¥    350 – 600 

   1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website                       

 

2) Cafe Kitsuné

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Located next to Maison Kitsuné Boutique, Cafe Kitsuné is a heavily wooded, colorful cafe which manages to juggle a contemporary and traditional feel all at once. Maison Kitsuné was originally a French electronic music and fashion label co-founded by a former member of Daft Punk. Although there are multiple Maison Kitsuné boutiques in Tokyo, only the Omotesando branch accommodates Cafe Kitsuné. The baristas, all trained by Eiichi Kunitomo, a big name in the cafe industry in Japan, are highly professional, so you know your cup of joe is in good hands. 

   09:00 – 20:00

   Omotesando Station      

   03-5786-4842

  ¥    350 – 680

   3-17-1 Minato-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website

 

3) The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

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The Roastery by Nozy Coffee is a single origin coffee shop that uses beans from Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Each single origin coffee is labeled with a short tasting note that helps customers narrow down their choice. The cafe is located along Cat Street, a famous fashion district that connects Harajuku and Shibuya. Upstairs is the Smokehouse BBQ restaurant which is run by the same company, TY Harbor Brewery. 

   10:00 – 22:00 (Sun 21:00)

   ­Meiji-Jingumae Station   

­   03-6450-5755

 ¥    350 – 450

­   5-17-13 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

   ­Official Website                

 

4) Streamer Coffee Company

Provided by Foursquare

With comfortable seating and free WiFi, Streamer Coffee is the perfect place to spend a few hours chatting with friends or taking it easy alone. 

Streamer Coffee is famous for its lattes. Indeed, Hiroshi Sawada, the founder of Streamer Coffee Company, was the 2008 Free Pour Latte Art Champion and also the first person from Asia to win the accolade. It is said that latte art requires a perfectly extracted shot of espresso and advanced milk steaming technique. With just the right amount of foam and sweetness, the lattes at Streamer Coffee Company go particularly well with doughnuts. 

   10:00 – 18:00

­   Shibuya Station                   

   03-6427-3705

 ¥    350 – 780

   1-20-28 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website

 

5) Little Nap Coffee Stand

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Inspired by the idea of a cobbler’s workshop (?), the interior of Little Nap Coffee Stand is cozy, unpretentious and warm. As the name suggests, Little Nap Coffee Stand doesn’t provide much seating, but being situated close to Yoyogi Park means you can always head there if there is no room inside. When you enter, find Daisuke Hamada behind the counter, surrounded by masons jars and coffee cups. Mr. Hamada fell in love with coffee following a trip to Italy on which he had a life changing espresso shot – a shot that convinced him to become a barista. The cafe also offers ice cream and decaf options.

­   09:00 – 19:00 (Closed Mon)     

­   Yoyogi-Koen Station

­   03-3466-0074

 ¥    350 – 450

­   5-65-4 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

   ­Official Website            

 

6) Blue Bottle Coffee

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Blue Bottle Coffee is an Oakland-based global chain located in 6 different cities around the world: Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, New York City and, luckily for us, Tokyo. Coffee at Blue Bottle is sold within 48 hours of roasting, assuring the best quality coffee always. Along with Shinjuku and Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, Blue Bottle Coffee is located in Omotesando, near the station. 

   08:00 – 07:00 

   Omotesando Station         

   03-5413-5380

  ¥    450 – 800

   3-13-14 Minato-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website         

 

7) Lattest Omotesando Espresso Bar

Provided by Foursquare

Decorated with concrete walls, wood and metal, Lattest Omotesando evokes a factory (in a good way). Lattest is famous for two things: One, its coffee made with beans from Streamer Coffee Company; two, the baristas who are known for their looks. Lattest Omotesando is famed for the above drink, a mix of cold milk with espresso, served in a shot glass.

­   10:00 (Wknd 12 :00) – 19:00

   Omotesando Station

­   03-3478-6276

  ¥    350 – 520

   3-5-2 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website                  

 

8) Toranomon Koffee

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Omotesando Koffee, relocating to Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, changed its name to Toranomon Koffee. Omotesando Koffee was a beloved coffee bar located inside a 60-year-old traditional Japanese house with tatami flooring. Although it has transformed its look, it continues to provide top-quality coffee and retains its status as one of the city’s best coffee shops. 

   07:00 – 19:00

   Toranomon Station        

­   03-6268-8893

  ¥    350 – 600

   1-23-3 Minato-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website      

 

9) Downstairs Coffee

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Downstairs Coffee is located on the first floor of Mercedes-Benz Connection. The cafe serves hot toasts, sandwiches and coffee made with beans from Hiroshi Sawada’s Streamer Coffee Company. Besides the cafe, the building accommodates a gallery, a souvenir shop and a restaurant. There is also the trial station where customers can test-drive a Mercedes Benz. The restaurant upstairs offers Italian-style lunch and dinner but reservations are most often needed. 

­   07:00 – 23:00

­   Nogizaka Station            

­   03-3423-8772

  ¥    350 – 450

   7-3-10 Minato-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website  

 

10) Bear Pond Espresso

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Bear Pond Espresso is located in Shimokitazawa, a trend-setting district in Setagaya that is highly popular among young people. The district is full of music venues, vintage clothes shops and small theaters. Bear Pond Espresso is known for its silky, salty New York style espresso shots with their chocolatey finish.  Angel Stain is the signature espresso and is served only until 2pm. 

   11:00 – 17:30 (Closed Tues)

   Shimokitazawa Station        

   03-5454-2486

  ¥    300 -550

   2-36-12 Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website                   

 

11) Allpress Espresso

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Allpress Espresso was established in New Zealand in 1986 by Michael Allpress. Its timber warehouse-esque facade turns heads and inside, the large window that reaches up to the ceiling and separates the roastery from the cafe also allows customers to watch the roasting process from the comfort of their seats. With museums, galleries and a park nearby, Allpress Espresso is at the frontier of Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Coffee Town, a rising hub for coffee lovers in Tokyo. 

   08:00 – 17:00 (Wknd 09:00 – 18:00)

   Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station

   03-5875-9392

  ¥    380 – 600

   3-7-2 Koto-ku, Tokyo  

   Official Website                               

 

12) Cafe de L’Ambre

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The owner of Cafe de L’Ambre, Ichiro Sekiguchi, turned 100 just last year but still roasts coffee beans three days a week himself. The customers often remark that it feels as if time has stood still inside Cafe de L’Ambre, with Mr. Sekiguchi sat beside the roasting machines just as he always had. Cafe de L’Ambre offers a variety of single origin coffee along with 30 different kinds of aged coffee beans. Mr. Sekiguchi believes there is deeper taste to the coffee made with aged beans. Some of them are up to 40 years old.

   12:00 – 22:00 (Sun 19 :00)

   Shimbashi Station

   03-3571-1551

  ¥    740 – 1050

   8-10-15 Chuo-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website              

 

13) Switch Coffee Tokyo

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While he was living in Melbourne, Austraila, Masahiro Onishi not only learned how to source and roast coffee beans but also studied the countries cafe culture and how people see coffee. After returning to his country, Mr. Onishi worked for a couple of years at Honey Coffee in Fukuoka Prefecture before deciding to open up his own joint in Tokyo. On the counter of Switch Coffee, pots of each brew are lined up, prepared every morning as samples for the customers. 

   10:00 – 19:00

   Meguro Station                  

   03-6420-3633

  ¥    300 – 500

   1-17-23 Meguro-ku, Tokyo

­   Official Website

 

14) On the Corner / No.8 Bear Pond Espresso

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No.8 Bear Pond Espresso is located next to an American-style diner named On the Corner. Although physically separated from one another, you can still order a drink from No.8 Bear Pond Espresso while you enjoy your meal at the restaurant. The cafe serves latte, red eye and single-origin coffee from Shimokitazawa’s famed Bear Pond Espresso. As the name suggests, the restaurant is located on the corner of the street in a quiet neighborhood. American breakfast meals such as pancakes, muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon are served at the restaurant. 

   11:00 – 23:00

   Shibuya Station                   

   03-6427-7273

  ¥    480 -600

   1-23-28 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website

 

15) Gorilla Coffee

Provided by Foursquare

Based in Brooklyn, Gorilla Coffee is a spacious, relaxed cafe located five minutes from Shibuya Station. The coffee served at Gorilla Coffee is known for its strong, heavy taste. Side dishes such as hot dogs, cakes and pastries are also popular. The shop is spread over two floors, with comfortable sofas and individual stool seating with power sockets on both floors. 

   07:30 – 22:00

   Shibuya Station                 

   03-5784-2747

  ¥    330 – 520

   1-20-17 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website 

 

Tokyo Animal Cafes

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Not all Tokyo cafes have the coffee as priority number one. You’ll probably be aware of the trend, began in Tokyo and now globally popular, for animal cafes. It started with the cat cafe, where people can relax and play with some friendly felines, and now includes dog, owl and snake cafes to name a few. 

Tokyoites, always pressed for time, can’t always keep pets and this is the answer. For a full rundown of Tokyo’s various animal cafes, check out our dedicated article, here.

Tokyo Maid Cafes

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What draws many tourists to Japan is its culture; a culture that is seen as weird, wacky and fun. There is another word often used to describe it, a word that has even seeped into the English vocabulary: kawaii. Kawaii equals cute, and from the moment you step off the plane you’ll start to realise that cute is the name of the game in Japan. From food and drink, advertising and fashion to government posters – it’s all kawaii.

The apex of this kawaii culture is the Japanese Maid Cafe. Read our full guide to these Maid Cafes, including all the basic information and even some top Tokyo Maid Cafe recommendations. 

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Paul Ryu

Paul Ryu

Hello, thank you so much for reading my article. I hope you make wonderful memories in Japan and everywhere else!



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