Cafes to Visit in Tokyo
Japanese people loves to bring attention to detail in all aspects of their life. This is why you can find such interesting and fun snacks and toys on the market! But did you know that the love for design also extends to cafes and restaurants?
Because cafe culture is so huge in Japan, it’s obvious that you will find some very unique cafes there! Many of the staff members at Japan Crate have visited Japan so we’ve compiled a list of the super cool and the super cute cafes that we like to frequent or would like to visit! Which ones would you like to visit?
1. Temari no Ouchi てまりのおうち
2-13-14 Kichijoji Honcho 3F
We all know about the abundance of cat cafes in Japan, but this one stands out due to it’s cute decor! Just by looking at the outside of the cafe, you can tell that Temari no Ouchi is something special. With big wooden doors with cat shaped windows and a cute hand painted sign in the front, this cafe lends a very whimsical and almost Ghibli-like atmosphere! Inside, you can find adorable little huts, a ceiling painted like the sky, and low wooden tables so that you can enjoy your snacks close to your new furry friends.
You can rent out the space for a few hours to host a private party or come during events to see the cats wearing festive costumes! The menu offers an array of yummy drinks and desserts, so even if you’re not much of a cat person (gasp!), you will have something to enjoy!
2. Alice in Picturebook 絵本の国のアリス
Kabukicho 1-6-2 T-Wing Building B2
Alice in Wonderland has a huge following in Japan and it shows in fashion and media. A company known for their themed cafes and restaurants, Diamond Dining, has seven Alice themed restaurants in Japan, five of them in Tokyo alone! Each location has a different Alice theme and our favorite is the Shinjuku location: Alice in Fantasy Book!
Alice in Fantasy Book transports you into the pages of Lewis Carroll’s classic with mismatched Victorian furniture, a seating hidden in a hedge-maze, and a long table winding through the main dining room, where you can almost expect to see the Mad Hatter seated! The menu offers a full dining experience with dishes and cocktails that fit the Wonderland theme. A lot of gothic lolita and Alice cosplay groups have meet ups here so it’s not uncommon to see fans dining in full Alice-themed gear!
3. Straw Hat Cafe カフェ麦わらぼうし
For the lucky fans who are able to visit the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, a special treat awaits them on the top deck of the museum! With the building painted a cheery orange with red windows, the cafe stands out from the backdrop of tall trees surrounding the museum. From the interior to the menu, you can feel the magic of Ghibli! All dishes are made with ingredients grown at local organic farms and are served on china featuring characters like Jiji or Totoro! For adult Ghibli fans, you can enjoy a Ghibli-exclusive brewed beer, Kaze No Tani, which gets it’s name from Nausicaä.
Hayao Miyazaki played a huge part in the design process of the Ghibli museum and cafe and you can feel his presence all over. While the wait to be seated at the Straw Hat can be quite long (Expect 60 minute waits or more!), fans cannot deny that visiting the cafe added on to their experience at the museum!
4. Gundam Cafe ガンダムカフェ
With one of our Japan Crate team members being a huge Gundam fan, there was no way we could leave the Gundam Cafe off our list! Conveniently located outside of Akihabara Station (The mecca for all anime fans!), the Gundam Cafe invites you with it’s cool and futuristic store-front. Fans can enjoy episodes of Gundam playing on various large screen TVs, Gundam latte art, themed dishes and snacks, and exclusive merchandise!
We loved the Gundam-shaped cream filled bread, the themed dishes, and of course, the many, many, items that were available at the gift shop. Bring the Gundam Cafe experience home with exclusive mugs, Jaburo coffee, and mecha-shaped dorayaki. With Gundam being one of Japan’s longest running anime franchises, any anime fan can appreciate the attention to detail at this cafe!
5. Cafe Paulista カフェーパウリスタ
Ginza 8-9-16 Nagasaki Centerville 1F
While themed cafes can be fun, if you really want to experience true Japanese cafe culture, you must go to a traditional kissaten. Kissaten (喫茶店) are Japanese-style coffee shops that have been around since the early 1900’s. Unlike more modern Japanese cafes, kissaten tend to have a very limited menu and are known to focus more on the quality of their beans and roast. Cafe Paulista originally opened in 1911 and closed after Tokyo’s Great Earthquake in 1923. It was reopened in 1970 and is the oldest cafe in Japan! (It’s said that John Lennon and Yoko Ono visited Cafe Paulista for three days straight and praised their “Paulista Old” coffee. Wow!)
Kissaten tend to be more popular among the more mature crowd, so it’s not uncommon to see only middle-aged men seated inside. The decor is undeniably classic with chandeliers, plush leather booth seating, and Cafe Paulista branded white porcelain cups serving coffee on silver trays. The menu offers kissaten classics, such as spaghetti napolitan, sandwiches, soup and desserts. Cafe Paulista has a very unique atmosphere that’s perfect for enjoying a carefully crafted cup of coffee in a quiet setting.
*It is not recommended to visit kissaten such as Cafe Paulisto with children or if you are sensitive to smoke as most kissaten still allow indoor smoking.*
What did you think of our top cafe picks? Would you like to visit too? With so many different cafes in Japan, there’s a cafe for everyone! What type of cafe would you like to visit? Comment below!