Tokyo's stylish cafés
Although Tokyo's revered Omotesando Koffee had closed, sister shop Toranomon Koffee keeps the flag flying for top-notch joe. It even kept the former outlet's distinctive cubic design, but now executed in a more spacious environment. Pair your coffee with some delicious butter toast for a power-packed breakfast. The best part is, Toranomon Koffee rises earlier than its competition by opening from 7am daily.
Sakurai is far from a traditional tea house. But even with its modern interpretation of one – where the intimate space features an island bar done up in a sophisticated palette of dark wood, natural stones and copper – a tea session here is just as calming and meditative.
Artist and interior designer Shun Kawakami of Artless Inc takes his minimalist game into the brew business with this coffee and tea stand, now part of the Nakameguro Koukashita complex after moving from Harajuku in May 2017. Decorated with tea utensils and tableware from the designer's own collection, the shop also serves as Kawakami's office and a community space. The single-origin beans come courtesy of coffee authority Kentaro Maruyama himself, the organic tea is supplied by small-scale farmers, while the light food options are the work of the owner's wife.
At its finest, tea is a meditative ritual in Japan, and Tokyo Saryo has managed to interpret that in modern design terms. Bathed in a soft glow, the minimalist space is anchored by an island bar of blonde wood and raw concrete. Devoid of any flourishes, it’s a calming space that helps focus your attention on the tea in your hand, as you should. Here, the approach to tea is almost scientific; you’re given a flavour chart profiling the many varieties of local green tea available. Your hand-poured tea is then prepared using bespoke dripper sets designed by the owners. In short, pristine environment meets precision tea-making – it’s almost therapeutic.
An ode to coffee, this industrial space has all the stylings of a factory but without the grime. Instead, the street-facing glass facade lets in ample natural light while wood fixtures turn the lofty interior into a modern coffeehouse. Essentially a roastery (the roasting machine gets pride of place in the centre), Factory & Labo Kanno Coffee also houses a coffee research lab, an academy offering coffee workshops, and a coffee retail corner.
This Setagaya café is just so minimalist – a stark, white space punctuated by black table legs which extend above the tabletops into tree-like branches. Fitting, considering the name of the café, which means ‘tree’ in Japanese. The menu offers regular coffee and tea drinks, along with a small selection of cakes and pastries.
Hidden at the back of the Aoyama Flower Market is an adorable if faintly twee café set inside a glasshouse. Creepers dangle from the railings and flowering plants dot the tables. It’s a lush, blooming space that’s perfect for Instagram snaps. The menu revolves around tea; choose from the usual black variety or the house special of herbal and floral infusions. If you’re feeling peckish, try the pretty French toast which comes served with edible flowers.
The Maison Kitsuné brand has fingers in several pies – fashion, music and coffee. Grab a well-brewed cup in the Japanese-style café close to the Maison Kitsuné shop in Omotesando, and browse merchandise such as tote bags and cups. The décor incorporates traditional touches like custom-made tatami and fusuma sliding doors, plus an Instagram wall featuring Japanese motifs.
Tokyo's café culture
Looking for a relaxing Tokyo café, the perfect cup of coffee, or a decadent sweet treat? Check out our complete Tokyo café guide
Whether you're looking to get some work done, or just need a place to rest your feet and scroll through your social feeds, these wi-fi cafés should do the trick
Where to go for coffee, cakes and light meals in Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando