For those still grieving the loss of Omotesando Koffee, which closed down back in late 2015, this place is sure to bring respite: opened by the same man, Eiichi Kunitomo, and located in the exact same place (albeit in a new building), Koffee Mameya is a bean specialist with enough shebang to turn you into a proper barista at home. They sell between 15 and 20 varieties of beans, all in 150g bags and with a pricetag between ¥1,200 and ¥4,000. Order at the counter and take one home to create your own steaming cup of black goodness in peace; they source the beans from five specific roasteries, so you'll also be able to distinguish your favourite in the long run. As the focus is on selling beans, there's no place to sit down and drink, but regular coffees and espressos can be ordered at the counter. If you're longing for a good old Omotesando Koffee-style latte though, best try sister shop Toranomon Koffee instead.
Dominique Ansel is bringing even more joy in the shape of pastries to Japan, this time landing inside Ginza Mitsukoshi. Known for his trademarked Cronut, Ansel conjures up unique and innovative sweets that have legions of fans in Japan, many of them willing to queue for hours to get their hands on these treats. This latest outpost, however, has about half of its menu exclusive to this shop; look out for creations like the Pull-a-Part Flower Cookie, made from individual petal-shaped cookies, the Zero Gravity Cake, which sees a cake suspended inside a balloon (!), and the Square Watermelon, inspired by actual square Japanese watermelons and carrying a variety of light mousses on the inside. The location is noteworthy too, as Ginza Mitsukoshi apparently left an indelible impression on chef Ansel when he visited Japan for the first time years ago. Of course, Cronuts are on sale, but we're far more excited about all the unique things the charismatic pâtissier is crafting for his special place. Unlike the Omotesando outpost, this one is take-out only.
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Many Kichijoji film buffs are still reeling from the 2014 closing of Baus Theater, the neighborhood's finest independent cinema, so expectations are high for this new entrant that's set to start business on April 15. Operated by film company Kokoro o Ugokasu Eigasha Maru, Cocomaru will be a cinema-meets-café complex set across three storeys. On the ground floor you'll find a regular movie theatre with seats for 70, while the space upstairs will allow you to enjoy films and gigs over tipples.
Touted as the largest commercial complex in all of Ginza, this humongous structure is set to open on the Chuo-dori lot last occupied by the Matsuzakaya department store. The concept for Ginza Six is 'world-class', meaning a rather upscale version of, well, everything. Facing the area's central drag on the ground level will be high-flying international brands like Céline, Dior and Fendi, while the more artistically inclined will surely appreciate the inclusion of Tsutaya Books. You can also look forward to plentiful cosmetics boutiques, a massive food court and even a basement Noh theatre, with additional announcements still to come. And to make things even smoother for tourists, they're also adding a sightseeing bus stop smack in front of the main entrance. How charming.
Open April 20, 2017
Sydney-based Italian diner Fratelli Paradiso is setting up shop inside Omotesando Hills in April. Known in Sydney as a bastion of natural wine, the spot also has the reputation of creating stellar wine pairings. Their inaugural Tokyo outlet is set to be split into a wine bar area and a sit-down dining zone, with the latter offering food that puts the produce front and center – and, of course, plenty of bio-wine to go with the goodness.
Open April 29, 2017
Yes, those lava lamp-esque cups pictured above actually contain a drinkable substance and, contrary to appearances, are not laced with all kinds of chemicals. All the rage in Taiwan, these drinks are a form of butterfly pea tea, steeped from the plant of the same name (which in English also goes by the name of clitoria ternea – yes, that actually means what you think it does), indigenous to lower southeast Asia and renowned for its blue colour. Said tea is supposed to have anti-aging properties, making it very popular as a beauty drink. At Zen, set to open in Harajuku this April, the butterfly pea tea comes in Rosemary Orange, Mixed Berry Elderflower, Apple Mint, Mango and Calpis flavours, making for five technicoloured but additive-free concoctions. The Taiwan theme continues with desserts including mango shaved ice topped with shiratama and tapioca pearls, and a soy milk and fruit smoothie. For a quick bite, try the Taiwanese-style rice porridge, tofu pudding or the rather innovative-looking dan bing (stuffed egg crepes).
Open April 22, 2017
Conjured up by the team behind the ubiquitous Wired Café chain, this hotel opened just off Asakusa's Hisago-dori in April 2017. On the first floor you'll find Zakbaran, a café-bar that non-hotel guests are welcome to use too. Sweets and snacks made from soy milk and tofu decorate the menu, alongside a strictly curated sake lineup. There are also 'snack nights' – think more Japanese 'snack bars' than nibbly bits. Rooms range from bright singles and doubles to a luxurious penthouse, and cater to a range of travellers.
If you’re into robots, you've probably 'dined' at Shinjuku's wacky Robot Restaurant or seen the countless robot displays at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation. But no amount of android affinity can prepare you for Henn na Hotel ('strange hotel') in Maihama, staffed by robots of all shapes and sizes (with a handful of human staff ready to intervene in case the bots decide to take over the world). Yes, those T-rexes you see wearing a lobby boy hat are actually the resident concierges. Originally from Nagasaki, the mecha-hotel opened its second location here in March 2017, a 20-minute (or so) walk from Maihama Station, the gateway to Disneyland. It's home to all the unusual suspects, perma-eager to attend to your needs and even sing you to sleep.