It is perfectly normal to see large groups of business people, students, and tourist amass at Tokyo’s numerous coffee shops throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning or night, the many Starbucks, Dotour, Tully’s, Excelsior, and Cafe Veloce coffee shops that adorn many corners and subway stations with their signs, promotions, and menus serve as a convenient rendezvous for people who want to study, work, have a nice conversation, or simply grab a cup of coffee.
However, while these big coffee chains are indeed the most convenient ones due to their large footprint, nothing beats the pleasure of entering an independent coffee shop, with their artsy baristas and aromatic coffee beans. As in any big city, Tokyo is also home to many great coffee shops that any coffee lover should visit in heartbeat. Here we have compiled six of our favorite coffee shops, listed in no particular order.
Located in Jimbocho, a neighborhood famous for its many bookstores, Glitch made its grand entrance to Tokyo’s coffee scene in 2015. From there, this small coffee shop started gaining a following of devoted fans at such fast speed that the number of coffee lovers stopping by often overwhelm the small locale. However, its sudden rise to the top of the most popular independent coffee shops in the metropolis has not harmed Glitch’s quality and its staff love for what they do, which continued to make this place one of our favorite ones in Tokyo.
Hidden outside the city center, amidst the many restaurants and cafes of the push Sangenjaya neighborhood, there is a gorgeous coffee shop that has had an huge influence on the coffee scene of both the district in which it is located and Tokyo itself. Obscura specializes in siphon coffee brewing, and their tasty sandwiches and exposed concrete walls make it a perfect place to relax and read book. If that were not enough, Obscura offers trainings for corporate customers and workshops for regular ones. We love it when coffee shops spread their very useful knowledge!
Sarutahiko has been growing at a steady pace, now boasting various coffee shops including one overseas. However, Sartuahiko’s heart rests in its tiny flagship shop in Ebisu. It’s always good to see when a popular coffee shop remains loyal to its roots and what made it so overwhelmingly famous, and Sarutahiko does exactly that. For those who want to try something out of the ordinary, try their honey latte.
Maruyama made its grand entrance in Karuizawa in 1991, and from there grew to become one of the country’s most admired and respected coffee shops. Their exceptional coffee and the skills of its award-winning baristas is such that Maruyama’s carries the type of prestige reserved for Michelin-starred restaurants. Now legendary, Maruyama is a staple of what Japan’s baristas can accomplish. Of course, their flagship store continues to be in Karuizawa, but their single-origin coffee shop in Omotesando is every bit as charming. Quiet, humble, and secluded, the Omotesando store gives the impression that Maruyama is a new player on the field. That is of course dispelled as soon as you have your very first sip.
Do you enjoy that warmth feeling small towns give? That sensation that everyone knows each other and that all neighbors are there for each other? Funny enough, the district of Nogata in Nakano-ward gives away that feeling despite being part of the immense metropolis that is Tokyo. Living true to that calm and pleasant feeling the whole neighborhood exudes, Daily Coffee Stand has a an overall aura of camaraderie, making it a perfect place for locals to enjoy a cup of coffee and one the coffee shop’s delicious muffins.
Tsukiji is famous for mainly two things: the fish market that has now relocated to Toyosu, and Turret COFFEE. One of the reasons Turret draws such large crowds is its lattes. These big, smooth lattes are so incredibly mouthwatering that people won’t hesitate to go all the way to Tsukiji with no other purpose but to try them (particularly now that the fish market does not call this district home). That’s how special Turret can be.
Now, this is is special. Leaves Coffee Roasters has been become a staple in Tokyo’s coffee scene because of their fantastic single origin coffee. This is a place where you won’t get any pastries with your drinks. People who come to Leaves Coffee Roasters are there for coffee and coffee only. Their focus on coffee pays off, since Leaves Coffee Roasters happens to serve some of the best coffee in town; which is why coffee experts and lovers from all over the world like to pay a visit to this very magical place.
It goes without saying that Tokyo is a ginormous city, which means that there are numerous coffee shops concealed between its alleys in neighborhoods. What’s more, in a city as ever-changing as Tokyo coffee shops may appear, move to other locations, or disappear entirely and without explanation. For those reasons, we would love to hear your opinions! Let us know about your favorite former and existing coffee shops, and whether you’ve tried the ones listed above.