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7 best cafés for latte art in Tokyo

These artistic coffee shops from Asakusa to Ginza offer 3D milk foam sculptures, colourful custom latte art and more

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
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If coffee sparks creativity, it certainly explains why bean-obsessed baristas love to turn your cup of joe into a work of art. The latte art masters in Tokyo don’t stop at the common free-pouring tulip, heart and swan, though, so expect 3D creations using milk foam – or you can even have your face ‘printed’ onto your drink.

Here's a tip: make sure you have a favourite picture in your phone before you head to the counter. Show it to the barista and watch as they transfer it onto your cup of coffee. If you're looking for a drinkable work of art, here are the best cafés that do amazing latte art in Tokyo.

RECOMMENDED: Get a cuppa at one of Tokyo's most beautiful cafés and coffee shops

Get your latte cutified

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Kichijoji

After passing through the tiny front door and climbing up a narrow staircase, you’ll find yourself in a fairytale-like setting with dreamy illustrations of animals and children adorning the walls. The unique artwork in this Kichijoji café was created by Japanese artist duo Marini Monteany.

Of course, the food and drink are a perfect match for such a cute setting. We recommend ordering a caramel (¥600) or matcha latte (¥650), which both feature kawaii latte art motifs. To top it off, pair your drink with a baked chocolate dessert (¥500) with whipped cream topping featuring another adorable face smiling back at you.

And if you’re wondering about the meaning of the café’s unique name, the Swedish word hattifnatt is the name of the small, white, ghost-like creatures in the popular Moomin series. Look out for small illustrations of the adorable fellas in odd places throughout the store.

  • Restaurants
  • Ueno

This cosy café between Asakusa and Ueno serves freshly-brewed coffee creations by latte art champion Takehiro Okudaira, who trained in Australia’s coffee capital, Melbourne. You can choose between two types of beans, either a Brazilian and Colombian dark roast with a chocolate-like aroma, or a single origin light roast with a fruity taste.

After winning several latte art competitions around Japan, ​​Okudaira ranked third at the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship in Denver in 2018. He can turn any cup of joe into a mini artwork as long as steamed milk is involved, featuring either a detailed rosetta made when the milk is poured, or a cute motif created from the crema and foam. Okudaira also offers latte art lessons (¥4,200/2hrs per person; currently suspended due to Covid-19), but note that they are only conducted in Japanese.

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  • Restaurants
  • Asakusa

As long as there’s steamed milk, latte art master Kohei Matsuno can transform any ordinary coffee into a tiny work of art. So show him a photo of your favourite character or animal and he’ll recreate it on the drink’s surface either as a flat or 3D rendition (both at ¥1,200 each) right in front of your eyes. Otherwise, just opt for the basic latte art (¥650) and leave it to Matsuno’s imagination. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Harajuku
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Tokyo’s first latte art café opened in 2015 in Harajuku, and since then milk foam artist Kazuki Yamamoto has garnered quite a considerable following. Order one of the café’s signature drinks – caffé latte, raspberry latte or hot chocolate – and show a photo of the character, animal or scenery you’d like to see on top of your beverage. A few minutes later, you’ll receive a drinkable piece of art (¥1,200; tax not included) featuring a stunning flat or 3D recreation of your requested image.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Chuo
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If you’re looking for a more colourful latte art, visit Roar in the cosy neighbourhood of Hatchobori. The baristas can adorn any drink that uses steamed milk with art rendered in rainbow colours. We recommend the signature honey or salted caramel latte. You can choose for them to pour in the shot of espresso before or after creating the art; the former results in the usual coffee-coloured base while the latter creates a pure white top where your image sits.

  • Restaurants
  • Ginza

On the second floor of Nissan Crossing, the car maker’s glitzy showroom in Ginza, you’ll find a café that serves up high-tech milk foam designs. Go for the ‘Macchi-Art’ option and you can choose to have a Nissan car model or a portrait of yourself on your milky drink (hot ¥500, iced ¥600). For the latter, the staff will take a photo of you with a tablet that’s connected to a special printer whose cartridge is filled with edible ink. It will then ‘print’ the image directly onto the steamed milk (or whipped cream if it’s a cold drink).

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Shimokitazawa
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You'll find it difficult to drink Ballon D’essai’s caffe latte – but this has nothing to do with the taste. The coffee here is a secret blend of five beans, with a smooth flavour and a small amount of bitterness. It’s a delicate balance of milk and coffee that has just the right amount of kick. However, what makes it so hard to drink is the idea of disfiguring the adorable artwork that adorn its surface.

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