City Guide: 10 Tokyo Cafes That We Love
Though Tokyo has worlds to offer, most of us only have a few days or weeks to experience this iconic city. We have compiled 10 Tokyo-based cafés for the weary traveler with noteworthy coffee & tea offerings and thoughtfully designed interiors, beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Tucked away on the fifth floor of The Spiral Building in the well-heeled Minami Aoyama neighborhood, Sakurai is a sophisticated tea room designed by the visionary Shinichiro Ogata. Tea masters serve an array of tea, sake and wagashi sweets surrounded by a wrap-around table, where patrons can interact with each other or sit in solitude.
2. Yakumo Saryo
Hidden amongst the quiet residential streets of the Meguro neighborhood, Yakumo Saryo is an otherworldly restaurant and tea room surrounded by lush gardens. Designed by the visionary Shinichiro Ogata, Yakumo Saryo offers not only a culinary experience but also a sensory introduction to Japanese tradition and aesthetics.
3 Chome-4-7 Yakumo
A more approachable alternative to Sakurai and Yakumo Saryo, Hachiya Tea Stand is an unassuming matcha stand and café in the hip neighborhood of Sendagaya. They serve a variety of single and double brewed teas as well as tea-infused smoothies, lattes, and sweets.
4. Tokyo Saryo
Tucked away in the affluent Sangenjaya neighborhood, Tokyo Saryo is a blissfully minimal tearoom that specializes in hand-dripped green tea. Co-owner Mikito Tanimoto hopes that his tearoom contributes to a reemergence of domestic teas, much like the coffee movement which has captivated Japanese millennials in recent years.
1 Chome-34-15 Kamiuma
Conceived by designer Shun Kawakami, Artless Craft Tea & Coffee is shared with a gallery space and Kawakami’s branding agency, artlessInc. They serve hand-dripped coffee and a variety of domestic teas including charcoal tea from Shizuoka, Japan.
Nakame Gallery Street J2
Tucked away in the upscale neighborhood of Minami Aoyama, Higashiya is a Japanese confectionary shop that specializes in manju, or Japanese sweet buns. As Western sweets dominate the food scene, Higashiya strives to modernize Japanese wagashi sweets with reverence and sensitivity toward its rich history.
7. Café Kitsuné
Founded by Gildas Loaëc, a former manager of Daft Punk, and Masaya Kuroki, former architect at Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Cafe Kitsuné is an eclectic café in the Minami Aoyama neighborhood. Originally a fashion and music brand called Maison Kitsuné, Café Kitsuné is a fashionable gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
Tucked away in the quaint neighborhood of Yanaka, Tayori is first and foremost a bentō shop that also serves coffee and sweets. The dark timber, home-made meals and nostalgic wraparound porch make visitors feel like they’re at Grandma’s house for a quick chat and lunch.
3 Chome-12-4 Yanaka
Located in the Mori Building in the bustling Toranomon business district, Toranomon Koffee was conceived by Eiichi Kunitomo, founder of Omotesando Koffee. Much like Omotesando Koffee, Toranomon Koffee offers meticulously crafted coffee in an open, airy setting that emanates Japanese craftsmanship and kodawari, or attention to detail.
Unlike Toranomon Koffee or Café Kitsuné, Re:gendo is known for its cozy, lived-in interior. Based in a renovated traditional Japanese house, Re:gendo offers meals prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients along with some pantry items and clothing in its adjacent shop.