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
From Afar | Time Out Tokyo
Find the Tokyo café right for you – maybe From Afar in Sumida?
By Mari Hiratsuka and Shiori Kotaki |
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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
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Café de l'Ambre

icon-location-pin Ginza

'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, 103 – 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...

2
From Afar
Restaurants, Cafés

From Afar

icon-location-pin Sumida

The ideal place for stylish coffee-sipping, perhaps with a small cake on the side, this spacious and relaxing café by the Sumida River is set in a former timber warehouse with a high ceiling. It's decorated with antiques, old books and small flowers, while tea sets, an international selection of stamps and even minerals are sold at the counter. All orders of coffee and tea are served in Imariyaki cups...

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3
FUGLEN TOKYO
Bars and pubs

Fuglen Tokyo

icon-location-pin Shibuya

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...

4
台形
Restaurants, Cafés

Daikei

icon-location-pin Kunitachi

Named after the shape of the plot it stands on (daikei means trapezoid in Japanese), this unique Kunitachi café doesn't look like the most welcoming place out there, but do gather your courage and open the door: what awaits is wonderful. The insides are like a museum with antiques everywhere, including masks on the wall and small bronze statues on the shelves...

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5
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Satei Hato

icon-location-pin Shibuya

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...

6
DAVIDE COFFEE STOP
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Davide Coffee Stop

icon-location-pin Iriya

Who knew Iriya had a place like this? Daisuke Matsushita's Davide is a very decent take on an Italian streetside café, sidestepping drip coffee entirely (simply because it takes too long to brew) and offering excellent espressos and lattes instead. Down yours at the counter or just get one to go – the man in charge of the machine doesn't care either way...

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7
物豆奇
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Monozuki

icon-location-pin Nishi-Ogikubo

Not all kissaten in Tokyo are worth the moniker, but this one sure makes the grade: stained-glass windows, antique clocks and the soft jazz soundtrack make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Founded in 1975, Monozuki offers a very simple menu – black coffee is the main attraction – but is beloved by both locals and former Nishi-Ogi-ites...

8
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Allpress Espresso

icon-location-pin Kiyosumi

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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9
月のはなれ
Restaurants, Cafés

Tsuki no Hanare

icon-location-pin Ginza

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

10
アミンチ
Restaurants, Cafés

Aminchi

icon-location-pin Setagaya

Hidden away near Matsubara Station on the Setagaya tram line, Aminchi is the kind of place that requires an effort to get to. Open for only six hours daily, this tiny one-woman operation seats nine and offers a different experience on every visit. That's because there's no regular menu: the muffins, cookies, quiches, ice creams and other desserts are impeccably seasonal...

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The best cafés: 26-50

26
Kurogi | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Kurogi

icon-location-pin Hongo

Operated by Yushima kappo restaurant Kurogi, this eponymous wagashi specialist is hidden away on Tokyo University's Hongo campus, inside the Kengo Kuma-designed Daiwa Ubiquitous Research Building. The uber-stylish interior matches nicely with the artistic sweets on offer...

27
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Coffeehouse Nishiya

icon-location-pin Shibuya

An Italian-style bar and café run by the jovial and talented Kyohei Nishiya, this welcoming Shibuya spot has a laidback neighbourhood feel to it – not least due to the owner-barista's no-frills attitude and the fun, retro décor. Nishiya pulls a highly competent espresso...

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28
Ginza West Aoyama Garden | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Cafés

Ginza West Aoyama Garden

icon-location-pin Nogizaka

When this long-standing spot transformed from a restaurant into a café with confectionery, their popularity soared. Go for a cake set or their hot desserts (try the Hot Soufflé, Hot Fruits Custard and Fondant Chocolat)...

29
Restaurants, Cafés

Chai Break

icon-location-pin Kichijoji

If you're looking to grab a drink on the go before heading to Inokashira Park, sod Starbucks for once and stop by this café for the real deal. The various tea and chai drinks on offer burst with rich aromas, with their 'boiled milk tea' prepared the traditional Indian way with no added spice...

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30
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Coffee Amp

icon-location-pin Koenji

The roaster is the first thing you'll notice on entering Amp – space is at a premium in this narrow Koenji shop, with weathered floorboards and seats for just over a dozen people. There's not much opportunity for dawdling at the bar: drinkers are given a simple choice of latte, mocha, espresso or regular coffee – all excellent...

31
Café Kitsuné
Restaurants, Cafés

Café Kitsuné

icon-location-pin Aoyama

The Kitsuné brand has fingers in several pies – fashion, music and, it seems, coffee. Grab a well-brewed cup in the Japanese-style café next to the Maison Kitsuné shop in Omotesando, and browse records and selections from the Parisien and Kitsuné Tee lines...

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32
Shiseido Parlour | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Eclectic

Shiseido Parlour Salon de Café

icon-location-pin Ginza

Founded in 1902, Shiseido Parlour is a pioneer of Japanese-style 'Western' cuisine (yoshoku), i.e. omu-rice, croquettes and the like. Its third-floor café specialises in sweet treats like old-school ice cream soda (a hit in the heady 1920s, we hear) and fruit parfaits...

33
GRAM 自由が丘店
Restaurants, Cafés

Cafe Gram

icon-location-pin Kichijoji

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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34
Saboru | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Cafés

Saboru

icon-location-pin Jinbocho

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...

35
bluebottle
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Blue Bottle Coffee

icon-location-pin Kiyosumi

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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Head downtown for more cafés

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