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The 50 best Tokyo cafés

Looking for a relaxing Tokyo café, the perfect cup of coffee or a superb sweet treat? Look no further – check out our complete Tokyo café guide

Find the Tokyo café right for you – perhaps it's Harajuku's Roastery?

Boasting roots that go back at least a century, Tokyo's café culture is a fascinating mix of the old and the new. From old-school kissaten that tenaciously kept the flag flying for good coffee in Tokyo long before anyone had even thought it could become trendy, to the hottest representatives of the 'third wave' coffee movement, you'll find countless cafés, coffee shops, bistros and bars everywhere you go in the city.

This roundup of the 50 best Tokyo cafés is meant to be a cross-section of the capital's creative caffeinated community, and features a sample of in-demand newcomers, golden oldies and everything in between – we've even included a couple of places where the focus is more on superb desserts than quality coffee. Be it single origin beans, excellent espresso, artisanal green tea, a nostalgic atmosphere or decadent cakes you're looking for, we've got you covered. Check out the list and follow us on a tour of Tokyo's very best cafés – and if you still need more options, check out our previous take on the best coffee in Tokyo or our roundup of the city's best 100 restaurants.

The best cafés: 1-25

1

Café de l'Ambre

'Coffee Only' reads the sign outside Café de l'Ambre, which has been keeping the Ginza hordes well caffeinated since 1948. Remarkably, it's still run by the same man – Ichiro Sekiguchi, 102 – though he's entrusted some younger tykes to handle the day-to-day running of the place. Though they treat their coffee with the utmost seriousness, this isn't one of those fussy, killjoy coffee temples...

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Ginza
2

Fuglen Tokyo

A favourite of international style bible Monocle, the original Fuglen shop in Oslo, Norway is a blend of café, cocktail bar and vintage design boutique, where even the furniture is up for sale. Its Tokyo shop, which opened in May 2012, transplants the concept to a backstreet corner not far from Yoyogi Park, in the space formerly occupied by Koz Café...

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Shibuya
3

Satei Hato

Stepping through the low, marble-tiled entrance, the first thing you’ll notice is the gorgeous tableware displayed behind a long hardwood counter. That’s not to say that the surroundings here outshine the coffee – on the contrary, Satei Hato’s hand-drip offerings maintain the absolutely highest quality. Choose from up to eight varieties of charcoal-roasted beans and watch as the formally dressed staff prepare your treat with almost religious dedication...

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Shibuya
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4

Allpress Espresso

Serving terrific coffee in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa since 2014 – long before the arrival of Blue Bottle made the neighbourhood one of Tokyo's third-wave hipster havens – New Zealanders Allpress also have outlets in cities like London, Sydney and Singapore. Housed in a former warehouse that's been beautifully renovated to match the brand's sleek but down-to-earth image...

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Kiyosumi
5

Tsuki no Hanare

There’s no finer place to spend a long evening than Tsuki no Hanare in Ginza. The Gekkoso art store is approaching its 100th anniversary and celebrated by opening this relaxing café-come-bar on its rooftop earlier in 2016. Climb the stairs up to the fifth floor and through the doors into a completely different world. Surrounded by garden trees...

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Ginza
6

Glitch Coffee & Roasters

After a decade as chief barista and head roaster at Paul Bassett, Kiyokazu Suzuki broke out on his own and set up this excellent coffeeshop among the old-school kissaten of Jinbocho in spring 2015. Glitch has won admirers for its communal roaster and relaxed approach to craft coffee, and imports beans directly from mainly Kenyan and Tanzanian producers...

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Jinbocho
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7

Kosoan

There are some things that Japan really gets right. Tea is one of those things. Garden landscaping is another. And creating a calm space within a massive busy city is also right up there. Kosoan offers all three. As we walked up the road from Jiyugoaka Station, past rows of shops and shoppers, we caught sight of the immaculate old Japanese house...

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Jiyugaoka
8

Paddlers Coffee Nishihara

Although it was hidden on the second floor of Shibuya's Todd Snyder store, the tiny but virtually flawless original outpost of Paddlers did brisk business with its impeccably executed hand drip and beans from Portland's famed Stumptown Coffee Roasters, so we were happy but not surprised to see owner Daisuke Matsushima expand his operation...

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Yoyogi-Uehara
9

Streamer Coffee Company Gohongi

Shibuya's Streamer Coffee Company – the excellent Seattle-style café run by champion latte artist Hiroshi Sawada – shows no signs of slowing down: after opening their first sister shop in Harajuku a good five years ago, Sawada's masters of steamed milk established this stylish location...

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Gakugei-Daigaku
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10

Higashi-Mukojima Coffee-ten

Owned by a born-and-bred local eager to liven up his 'hood, this comfy joint has earned a steady following over the decade it's been open. Don't miss the no-bake cheesecake...

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Mukojima
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The best cafés: 26-50

26

Cafe Gram

Along with A Happy Pancake and Flipper's, Osaka import Gram is one of the main culprits behind Tokyo's ongoing 'second pancake boom', which centres on cafés serving up super-fluffy, airy, melt-in-your-mouth fare made with ricotta, buttermilk or meringue. Choosing Jiyugaoka as the base for its first Tokyo location, Gram caused quite a sensation when it opened in April 2016...

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Jiyugaoka
27

Saboru

The totem poles flanking the entrance to Saboru announce loud and clear that this is not your ordinary café, and stepping inside the wooden interior confirms it. This venerable, 60-year-old establishment feels less like a downtown kissaten and more like a cosy cottage up in the mountains...

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Jinbocho
28

Blue Bottle Coffee

One of the pioneers of 'Third Wave' coffee culture, Oakland-born Blue Bottle's first Tokyo shop occupies a renovated Fukagawa factory, a stone's throw from the Kiyosumi Garden. In addition to the downstairs café, the building houses a roastery, a kitchen and the company's offices...

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Kiyosumi
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29

Café Bach

All the beans are roasted on the premises of this dedicated coffee specialist in suburban Minami-Senju. Cafe Bach supplied the coffee for the G8 summit that took place in Okinawa in 2000...

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Minowa
30

The Roastery

Collaboratively run by the folks behind Setagaya's always excellent Nozy Coffee and restaurant impresarios Tysons (TY Harbor, Cicada, Beacon, Ivy Place etc), this uber-hip roastery and café on Harajuku's Cat Street is one of the city's flashiest specialist coffee haunts. Every day, you'll get to choose from two kinds of single-origin beans for your americano, latte or espresso...

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Harajuku
31

Good People & Good Coffee

Out of the many deserving coffee shops that have recently opened in Tokyo, if we had to use our trembling, caffeine-addled fingers to place the crown on just one it would be this hipster haven in Ikejiri-Ohashi. The relaxed enclave that it’s carved out of the creative atmosphere of the area is decorated like a garage, with an assortment of tools on the wall and lumber hanging casually from storage units...

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Ikejiri-Ohashi
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32

Angelus

Perhaps, at some point in the distant past, this was the way local upmarket operations got to grips with handling newfangled foreign delicacies. At Asakusa's Angelus, founded in 1946, you're in for a real blast from the kissaten past...

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Asakusa
33

Faro Coffee & Catering

Located on the second floor of a retro building from the early Showa era is Hongo favourite Faro, which serves speciality joe courtesy of Obscura Coffee. Enjoy their daily lunch menu or the morning set (from 8am) featuring delicious granola. The café is also home to a neat little library...

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Hongo
34

PNB Coffee

Opened on a quiet Meguro back street in October 2015, PNB ranks among the more stylish 'third wave' coffee shops in Tokyo – minimalist Nordic design is the name of the game, light colours dominate, and natural light fills the smallish space. Run by Dane Peter Buhl, the shop sources its beans from Danish roasters Coffee Collective and La Cabra Coffee, both of which specialise in direct trade with producers...

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Ikejiri-Ohashi
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35

Café Paulista

This Brazilian-themed Ginza establishment was founded back in 1914. The all-natural beans are imported directly from Brazil, keeping blend coffee prices down to ¥510, a bargain for the area. Low leather seats, plants and wall engravings catch the eye...

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Ginza
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