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Tokyo Cafes – Espresso Coffee Near Me

Oh god. I know we are supposed to be immersing ourselves in culture. The desire to find a quality espresso coffee near me is overpowering. There’s not many things I enjoy more at the beginning the day than to sip on a quality brew and watch the world go by. Tokyo cafes are a terrific insight into Japanese society and the fastidious nature of the Japanese and espresso seems like a match made in heaven.

It may pay to check out some mobile wifi options to help you get around town, we’ve covered it here in a separate post. This list of Tokyo cafes is a selection of rare but rewarding experiences. Remember that being in Tokyo requires certain accommodations. Many of these places are tiny. If we can find a space where you can rub elbows and sit down you’ll take it, but the ingenuity behind these spaces is to be admired. There are more finds to come, but this is a quick list of what we have discovered so far on the Tokyo espresso coffee scene.

Shimokitazawa

Perhaps not the obvious place to start if you are new to Tokyo. Shimokitazawa or “Shimo” is well known for it’s thrift stores and bohemian feel but to add to its appeal is one of the highest concentrations of quality espresso coffee shops in Tokyo.

There is a few contenders but Shimo is where we love to stay when in Tokyo and the choice is fantastic, probably the only negative (for some) is that it is 10 minutes down the train line from Shibuya. Either way, Shimokitazawa should be on your “Discover Tokyo” list and now you can do it caffeinated!

Frankie Melbourne Espresso

It’s weird that you would go all the way to Tokyo and get so excited when you see something familiar. It’s no surprise where Frankie’s gets its inspiration. We love this place and in the theme of this post, it was the closest espresso coffee near me when we woke on our first morning in Tokyo. The staff are as friendly as ever, they all speak English which does wonders for your anxiety on the first morning. And they serve pint size lamingtons and lemon slice, among other recognisable eats and treats. Frankie will always be our first love 😍.

Address: Japan, 155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa, 2 Chome-7-12 Nature Shimokitazawa
Business Hours: Tues 11:30AM TO 6:30PM. Wed, Thur, Sun 10 am TO 8 pm. FRI, Sat 10A am – 9 pm. CLOSED Monday.

  • Coffee 90%
  • Food 80%
  • Seating Availability 60%
  • Outdoor Seating 30%

Coffea Exlibris

If cute was the defining quality then this one wins everytime. We hadn’t realised this place was just around behind where we last stayed in Shimokitazawa. It was a rainy evening and we were gagging for something other than ramen, that wouldn’t require a soaking… and there it was… cue the angels😇. In true Japanese style or perhaps an accentuated version, everything is quaint. The chairs are tiny, the tables are tiny, the wooden spoons are gorgeous and the stamped postcard you get with your coffee is a great touch. Coffee was better than the stale cake, which seems to be the standard fair in many cafes. Exlibris stays open until 10pm.

Address: Japan, 〒155-0032 Tokyo, Setagaya, Daizawa, 5 Chome−8−16
Business Hours: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm Closed fridays

  • Coffee 70%
  • Food 50%
  • Seating Availability 60%
  • Outdoor Seating n/a %

Hatagaya / Sasazuka

Just across from Shimokitazawa, still on the south-west side of Shibuya there is a cluster of espresso cafes of which we only had time for one. Actually, it was bucketing down most of the time so we lost the drive to wander the streets. Unless we lucked out with our one experience here, we’ll be back to add to the list.

Paddlers Coffee

This is a charming little venue (I have to stop writing that… they’re all little). Just a couple of small blocks from Hatagaya Station on the Keio New Line, it’s tucked away down a side street but has a charming little courtyard. The cafe itself is modern concrete trimmed out in wood, which gives it a very traditional feel despite the twist. There is plenty of seating and they have an extensive collection of western vinyl on show and playing constantly. They also sell second-hand Japanese and US kitch. The coffee was terrific, very smooth… well worth the trip.

Address: Japan, 〒151-0066 Tokyo, 渋谷区Nishihara, 2 Chome−26−5
Business Hours: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Closed holiday / Mondays

  • Coffee 90%
  • Food n/a %
  • Seating Availability 90%
  • Outdoor Seating 90%

Harajuku / Omotesando

As far as inner city Tokyo goes we really love this area. Yes, you’ve got the famous shopping district on Takeshita Street (which sounds kind of ironic if you break it down.. take-shit-ha), but coming from the Yoyogi Park end, cross the first main road that you come to after the shopping area and you’ll enter a maze of funky little streets, shops and cafes.

There’s a lot to explore and quite a few cafe options here but you can use it as a starting or finishing point to wander around behind the fancy shopping of Omotesando before diving right in… one pass along Omotesando is the responsible approach😉.

Mojo – Harajuku

This is one of the western chains that are making a bit of name for themselves, we tried two of these, both by accident… must have a nose for it. There’s lots of seating around the window and a massive communal table. Coffee was not as good as we had hoped nor was the food, but it’s a welcome respite from the madness outside.

Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 3 Chome−22−15
Business Hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sun/Sat 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

  • Coffee 60%
  • Food 40%
  • Seating Availability 90%
  • Outdoor Seating 90%

Blue Bottle Coffee – Aoyama

Another chain from the west. There’s a few opinions floating about on this place, a little too slick for some. But when you’re gagging for a good brew (which was as good as any we’d had) with a plate of poached eggs along with a view then this will do the trick. The design is very modern and funky… lots of concrete. Plenty of seating and there’s a nice balcony overlooking a lovely garden. A great place to fuel up either before or after your shopping on Omotesando.

Address: Japan, 13-14 Minami Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062 Tokyo 13-14 Kabandozuka Minami Aoyama
Business Hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm everyday

  • Coffee 80%
  • Food 80%
  • Seating Availability 90%
  • Outdoor Seating 90%

Kagurasaka

This is a really cute area of Tokyo. Perhaps as close as you’ll get to the Kyoto experience, but there’s lots of steep hills so be warned – check out some of our posts on Kyoto here. We caught the Tozai Line to the top of hill at Kagurasaka Station then wandered around the Akagi Shusse Inari Shrine among others before exploring the neighbourhood as we made our way downhill to Iidabashi Station, which hooks up with multiple lines on the Metro.

We had actually planned on stopping at WEEKENDERS COFFEE All Right (there’s a mouthful) but it was closed. It’s a very chilled part of Tokyo and well worth popping onto your itinerary, we’ll be looking for some more options next time we go back.

Mojo – Kagurazaka

We stumbled across this by accident, which was a welcome sight considering nothing else was open in the area. This little cafe is tucked away on the side of a hill in a residential area with limited seating indoors but it totally redeemed the Mojo experience in our eyes. Coffee was strong but really smooth and well stretched and the custard donut still lingers in our dreams.

Address: Japan, 2F Yoneda Building Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0817
Business Hours: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm, Sun/Sat 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

  • Coffee 90%
  • Food 90%
  • Seating Availability 70%
  • Outdoor Seating n/a %

Chiyoda

The Imperial Palace, or what’s left of it and the Science Museum along with the Museum of Modern Art, which we covered here in a good read on Tokyo’s art museums. They are all clustered together within a few blocks from Jimbocho Station so it’s an area you’ll likely find yourself exploring. The gardens around the palace ruins are huge and pretty special, especially if you happen to be in Tokyo during the cherry blossom.

Image by Kimon Berlin

Glitch Coffee & Roasters

Glitch is a welcome site in an area that is very “business district” but the coffee is worth the trip alone. They have a little roaster in the centre of the roam and a rock star does his thing behind his hair machine (never actually saw his face). Very smooth latte, had a pour taster as well… not my thing.

Address: Japan, 〒 101 – 0054 Tōkyō – to, Chiyoda – ku, Kanda Nishikichō, 3-chōme 3 − 16 Kamura Biru
Business Hours: 7:30 am to 8:00 pm, Sun/Sat 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

  • Coffee 90%
  • Food n/a %
  • Seating Availability 70%
  • Outdoor Seating n/a %

Fukagawa

This is an interesting area on the east side of town and surprisingly laid back. The area we wandered about was old school industrial, very chilled, we enjoyed checking it out and met some really nice locals along the way.
There’s quite a lot of well known espresso cafes, but the trick is finding a time when more than one is open. Our goal was ARiSE COFFEE ROASTERS but guess what… closed. But the up side is that with 3 or 4 to choose from you’ll likely strike it lucky with one and you can also fit in a visit to the Edo Museum as well which we covered here in a previous post.

Fukadaso Cafe

This is one of those places that makes it into the list just ‘cos. The space is very cool, an old warehouse which is fitting for the area. The owner is very happy, unfortunately the coffee wasn’t great but the pancakes were plated in such a bizarre fashion that they deserve a mention.

Address: Japan, 〒135-0023 Tokyo, Koto, Hirano, 1 Chome−9−7
Business Hours: Sun, Thurs, Sat 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Mon 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm, Fri 1:00 pm to 9:30 pm, Closed Tues/Weds

  • Coffee 50%
  • Food 60%
  • Seating Availability 90%
  • Outdoor Seating n/a %

Google Map – Tokyo Cafes, Espresso Coffee Near Me

Getting around in Tokyo

We got Pasmo cards from a ticket machine at any station. You charge it up whenever you like. It will get you on any train within the designated system and the buses. Don’t worry too much about going outside of the zones. Be sure to keep change on you so that when the dreaded “beep” goes off you can pay the attendant the difference.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

We use Airbnb whenever the opportunity pops up. We run our own place in Port Douglas so know the system pretty well and for us it’s the most user-friendly of the private holiday rental apps. It’s a bit tricky to find places under 3 nights but if you are planning a holiday for longer click here to set up an Airbnb account, you’ll get way more bang for your buck.

*AS I WRITE THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED A CLAMP DOWN ON PRIVATE HOLIDAY RENTALS READ THIS AND BE SURE TO CONFIRM WITH YOUR HOST THAT THEY ARE LICENSED.

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Credits

Whilst many of the images are our own we did get some help from the some talented individuals, we like to give credit when it’s due! If you click their links under the images you will see some fantastic portfolios of passionate travellers and photographers.
All images were obtains under the Creative Commons Licensing Agreements