Japan’s capital city is not lacking in cafes that offer only the best caffeine a beverage can offer. There’s bound to be a coffee shop on every corner of every street, regardless if it’s near or far from the city center. Coffee is without a doubt a staple in the life of the Japanese — be it a morning cup for that surge of energy to start the day or just a casual sit-down with a bunch of friends for an afternoon sip. From drip and espresso shots to lattes and siphons, Tokyo has got you covered with the finest beans from all over the world.
With such a saturated market, it may be difficult for a newly opened local coffee shop to stand out from the crowd. Coffee lovers might have a headache scrolling through the endless options of potential places to get their caffeine fix. Not to fret, here’s a carefully curated list of the best cafes to grab that boost of energy in Tokyo.
1. Little Nap Coffee Stand
Image credit: Johnathan Lin
Little Nap Coffee Stand is like a hole in the wall of a coffee shop. With only five chairs in the cafe, it’s almost impossible to snag a seat, especially with its slithering queue out the door every day. All of their brews are locally made and prepared on a Synesso machine, made from the high-quality beans are roasted on-site, maintaining the utmost freshness one can ever get from coffee beans.
The laid back ambiance and warm hospitality of the owner are what keeps the customers coming day in and day out. Grab a cup of your daily fix and cross over to Yoyogi Park just steps away from this wonderful coffee place.
2. Turret Coffee
Image credit: @letachin
Named after the turret mini trucks that used to go around the Tsukiji fish market back in the days, Turret Coffee brings a pang of nostalgia with actual turret set up in the coffee shop itself. Along with other “normal” seats, this cafe oozes a warm vibe that goes perfectly well with their banging coffee. The espresso machines here pull and pour top-notch espresso for those who are looking for an instant boost of caffeine, but the real hit is the Turret Latte which features a double shot of espresso, topped with some beautiful latte art.
Turret Coffee also has seasonal treats that are specially made for the shop, including a local sweet called the dorayaki which is a pancake sandwich filled with red bean paste. Whether one’s looking for a morning fix or a casual afternoon coffee with a dessert, Turret Coffee is the place to be.
3. Glitch Coffee & Roasters
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Sourcing beans from all over the world gives Glitch Coffee & Roasters an edge over the rest. Because of that, this coffee shop has accumulated a decent size of raving, coffee-loving fans. The display of all the roasts offered in the middle of the cafe space is a wonderful detail to the store. Not only does it add to the aesthetics but it also gives a sense of what Glitch Coffee has to offer to the customers.
Glitch is the perfect place for a lighter roast. The Guatemalan one seems to be a huge hit with the crowd. If you’re overwhelmed by the choices they have, the staff are more than willing to offer suggestions such as the fruity Kenya Karinga AA or whatever else that is preferable for your coffee palate. Packed with a powerful coffee range alongside the kissaten-inspired decor, Glitch is a one-stop for all coffee drinkers.
4. Lattest Omotesando Espresso Bar
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While it is a bit of a walk from the main street and the nearest station, that’s never an inconvenience to Lattest lovers. This chill coffee shop lies in the back streets of Omotesando — central of Tokyo but far enough from the busy and noisy crowds. While the lattes and black coffees are ones to try, the signature item is definitely the one that’s named after the store. “Lattest” is a shot of their fine espresso in cold milk, giving the picturesque mix of espresso colour and milk visible through the transparent glass cup.
With a big community table in the middle and some cosy cart tables at the side for a more intimate experience, Lattest may rank one of the most famous coffee shops in the whole city — especially after its small feature in the show Terrace House.
Image credit: Seungbong Lee
Fuglen has a high reputation in both the cafe and bar scene. The original shop is in Oslo, Norway, and its expansion to Tokyo has caused waves of buzz among the locals. This blend of cafe and cocktail bar serves a remarkable range of quality coffee in the mornings through afternoons, and switches to bar mode in the evening, serving anything from Japanese and Norwegian craft beers to cocktails and spirits.
Just as its reputation, the coffee at Fuglen is spectacular. It’s definitely premium quality as the beans are one of the most expensive to buy in the whole city. They also have their own roastery right around the corner, so if you love their ambiance and caffeine here, be sure to take a look there as well.
6. Blue Bottle Coffee
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Everyone who’s in-the-know with the coffee scene in Tokyo would have heard about Blue Bottle Coffee. This coffee chain shop originated in California and has expanded to Japan with multiple outlets spread out across the city Tokyo itself. The reason why this coffee shop is extremely well known is due to its use of high technology in the brewing of drip coffee as well as their carefully selected range of coffee beans. For such high quality, Blue Bottle Coffee prices their products extremely affordably, which includes the classic latte and their Hayes Valley espresso.
As their coffee beans are for sale, many are eager to get a bag of ground coffee beans for themselves to make at home. Almost everyone knows that you can get just about any flavours of coffee beans to suit your taste at Blue Bottle Coffee.
7. The Roastery by Nozy
Image credit: Dennis Amith
Arguably one of the most famous coffee shops in all of Tokyo is The Roastery by Nozy, located on the busiest street of Tokyo known as the infamous Cat Street. There are always two different kinds of single-origin beans served daily, used for any caffeinated drink from drip coffees and americanos to the loved lattes. If you order an espresso shot, don’t be shocked when you get served a champagne glass — it’s not actually champagne in it, it’s your ordered shot.
There are also sweet and savoury treats to go along with your freshly brewed coffee. The Roastery also does coffee cupping on Wednesdays, so for those who want to learn a little extra information on the coffee craft, the doors are always open.
8. Kitsune Cafe
Image credit: @chihiro__315
One of the most aesthetic and beautiful coffee shops in all of Tokyo is definitely Cafe Kitsune. With multiple shops opened worldwide, this one in Japan has local influence everywhere — the interior is a seamless blend of a traditional Japanese home and modern elements. Most come here for the great coffee to match the equally outstanding visual concept. Some even get a pastry or two for their casual sitting on a nice afternoon.
9. Streamer Coffee Company
Image credit: Richard
Amidst the sea of lightly roasted coffee is this dark roaster, Streamer Coffee Company. With multiple stores opened in Tokyo, they have quite a following — and it’s for good reason, the coffee here is excellent! Every cup is completed with a different latte art each time and served in a bowl-sized mug, the latter specifically for the signature Streamer Latte which makes every penny worth it. Its chill and the laid back environment have made Streamer Coffee Company one of the best places for customers to grab their laptops and do some quick work, too.
10. Verve Coffee Roasters
Image credit: @vervecoffeejapan
Shinjuku is known for its nightlife, but in the daytime, the American coffee shop Verve shines the brightest. The natural, earthy colours of the interior space make you feel calm instantly, complete with a long table in the middle of the shop and a cosy outdoor seating at the shop’s entrance. No cup of coffee can go wrong at Verve, and beans are even available for purchase if you love their flavourful tastes — there’s a free cup of drip coffee given together with any purchase of coffee beans, what a deal!
There’s an endless list of great coffee shops in Tokyo. Each and every one of them contributes an original aspect to the coffee scene in the city. Local coffee lovers and those from abroad can enjoy a good cup of coffee almost anywhere as there’s never an average coffee place in town. For the really devoted caffeine drinkers, why not get a notepad to jot down all the possible coffee shops in the city one can possibly list and go on a whole coffee shop hop?