As most of you know, I can’t resist a great coffee shop, and during my recent trip to Japan with All Nippon Airways (ANA), I discovered some incredibly unique and special coffee shops in Tokyo.
Before I got there though, I had the opportunity to take one of the first flights out of NYC to Tokyo on ANA’s newly redesigned 777-300ER aircraft, with the widest business class seat in the sky! During the most relaxing flight, I was able to take the time to research some hot spots I wanted to visit once I landed.
In the past decade Japan’s coffee scene has grown drastically to become one of the world’s greatest, offering everything from drip coffee to 3D lattes. Sipping on a delicious cup of joe is an experience treasured by all coffee lovers, and these 10 coffee shops added to the experience with quaint, modern and traditional atmospheres.
Here are my top recommendations:
1. The AIRSTREAM GARDEN
One of the coffee shops in Tokyo you should NOT miss is the Airstream Garden in Omotesando. Located just 3 minutes from the Omotesando station, this retro, American-made Airstream is a unique and fun little place to have your coffee.
It is permanently parked in a patio-styled space and is an actual Airstream shiny aluminum camper van that roasts its own blend of coffee and serves both espresso-based coffee and hand-drip coffee, with homemade pies and daily bento lunches.
One of my favorite aspects that makes this such a cool café to visit is that they also rent out a space in the back for pop-up stores or exhibitions so you can shop, look at art or explore local crafts.
The café and its employees are also very photo friendly, which makes it easy for anyone to take photos without worrying about incurring the wrath of café owners and baristas.
Address: 4-13-8 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo
With the coffee culture exponentially growing in Japan, Reissue made it a point to be unique by serving adorable and creative 3D latte art!
You can pick a 2D or 3D latte art from a book of designs, or share a photo of your favorite anime character, pet or celebrity. The latte art extraordinaire who makes these creations is a man named George.
Occasionally he demonstrates how he draws and creates the creative 2D and 3D latte art for you to see, so have your phone or camera ready to capture!
While the latte art is nothing short of amazing, it also makes drinking them super difficult, because honestly, you just don’t want to ruin these cute creations!
Address: 3-25-7 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
3. Onibus Coffee Nakameguro
Sandwiched between a park and some busy train tracks, Onibus Coffee Nakameguro, near Shibuya, occupies a traditional-styled home space that was renovated to house a hip café and roastery. The café creates its own blend of coffee beans, which are incredibly popular and also available for wholesale. The charming little building (which I found to be incredibly photogenic) serves a small and simple coffee menu: espresso, americano, latte and hand-drip.
The upstairs area has a modest seating space with corner windows that overlook the Meguro Ginza Playground and train tracks from the nearby Naka-meguro station. Be sure to get a seat by the window! In spring you can see beautiful cherry blossom trees, and in fall you can see the leaves turning yellow, orange and red.
Address: 2-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro City, Tokyo
4. Paddlers Coffee
When Paddlers Coffee first opened in April 2015, it was the only café in Japan to serve the famed Stumptown coffee. Daisuke, the owner of Paddlers Coffee, spent his high school and college years in Portland, but it wasn’t until a return trip there to catch up with old friends that he became interested in the local coffee scene.
Situated in the quiet neighborhood of Nishihara, Paddlers Coffee is inspired by the coffee culture of Portland and the old-world charm, where everyone is reminded to slow down, sip good coffee and enjoy the moment. I loved their warm and welcoming space and had coffee with their signature hot dogs. Yup I said hot dog. And I have to admit, that hot dog was incredibly delicious — a must-order when you visit!
Address: 2 Chome-26-5 Nishihara, Shibuya City, Tokyo
5. Shozo Coffee Store
Nestled behind the Omotesando station in Aoyama, Shozo Coffee Store resembles a wooden hut that looks almost like a refurbished greenhouse. This picture-perfect coffee shop is modest in size but full of charm. Serving only hand-drip coffee, light snacks and baked goods like breads, biscuits, pastries and scones, Shozo’s space includes seats by the window or outside in the garden. It is the perfect place to sip your coffee, catch the breeze and partake in some people watching.
Right next to the café is a huge Blue Bottle coffee, and right behind it, through a little garden and wooden path, is Commune 246, a maze of tiny cafés, food trucks and cool bars with a large and unique open-air space for seating. I would recommend grabbing coffee here and heading back for some food and drinks after!
Address: 3-13 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
6. Bread, Espresso &
Bread, Espresso & was easily one of my favorite cafés from the trip! They have a few locations in Tokyo and other parts of Japan (16 locations and counting!), but I visited the original bakery in Omotesando where it all began.
Tucked away in the narrow streets of a quiet part of Omotesando, the original Bread, Espresso & has a quaint outdoor concrete patio, which is great for having your carbs and coffee while enjoying the peace and quiet of a the neighborhood.
While they do serve espresso-based coffee, they are known locally for their well-baked breads and pastries. All of their breads and pastries are made fresh in house every day, so they are fluffy and absolutely delicious!
Address: 3-4-9 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo
7. Day & Night
It may not be open 24 hours a day, but Day & Night opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. seven days a week. The café serves four different menus: breakfast, lunch, dinner and sweets. Along with serving both espresso-based coffee and hand-drip coffee from the Onibus blend and some good comfort food, they also serve wine.
I was there for breakfast and tried their homemade fruit pancake and the bacon, egg & toast, along with a cup of coffee, and it was a wonderful breakfast! This cute American-styled café is a little far from the usual hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but it’s worth a visit for the diner-like food and feel, friendly staff and cozy ambiance.
Address: 2-39-5 Ebisu, Shibuya City, Tokyo
8. The Little BAKERY Tokyo
One of the prettiest and cutest cafés in Tokyo has to be The Little BAKERY Tokyo in Harajuku. Inspired by coffee shops in Brooklyn, New York, this cozy and charming bakery has beautiful wallpaper, retro-styled floor tiles and an old wooden textured bar that occupies the space. It serves a large variety of delicious artisanal and vegan breads, pastries, doughnuts and other sweet treats.
Easy on the eyes (and not so much on the waistline!), this bakery is definitely worth stopping by if you’re in the Shibuya Station or Harajuku Station area and picking up a vegan doughnut or two. The Little BAKERY Tokyo is also incredibly photogenic, so be sure to take some photos while you place your carb-licious order!
Address: 6-12-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
9. Café Kitsuné
Originally a fashion and music brand, Maison Kitsuné expanded into the coffee business and became very successful, very quickly. The two owners, one French and one Japanese, combined fine French elegance and Japanese attention to detail to result in Café Kitsuné’s recipe for success.
This minimal-chic café in Aoyama has a Japanese atmosphere that is spacious and fuses modern designs with traditional details. If you’re around Omotesando or Aoyama, stop by for a cup of well-brewed coffee (and their original biscuit in the shape of a fox) and check out some of their beautifully designed merchandise.
Having been to the one in Paris and recently to the one in New York, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the one in Tokyo — and it did not disappoint!
Address: 3-17-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
10. PEANUTS Café
In Nakameguro, nestled along the Meguro River is the adorable PEANUTS Café, a themed café dedicated to Snoopy and the other lovable characters from the Peanuts gang. Recently renovated and re-opened, this café serves coffee and an updated menu of well-plated salads and other brunch-type dishes.
The first floor is the kitchen and shop, selling original and limited-edition Peanuts merchandise. The second floor is the larger dining space with a Charles Schultz cabin look and feel, complete with retro books, toys and comic clippings. If you’re a Snoopy and Peanuts gang fan, you will not want to miss this café, but be sure to make a reservation if you want a table upstairs, as it does get very busy during the weekends.
Address: 2-16-7 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo