Looking for the best coffee in Tokyo? Japan’s capital is a huge place with something for everyone. The city is home to some of the most eccentric and exciting cafes on the planet. Though it might not be fair to try to pick just a few cafes out of the many great options, here are a some of my favorites. It’s important to mention: I am limiting the list to shops that focus on specialty coffee. That is, using the top percent of the top percent of quality coffee.
Here are six fantastic cafes in Tokyo for Coffee Lovers (in no particular order):
About Life Coffee Brewers
Just a few minutes walk from the crazy crowded pedestrian mayhem of Shibuya Station, About Life Coffee Brewers is an amazingly compact and efficient coffee stand run by Onibus Coffee Roasters. This cool spot offers expertly crafted espresso based drinks and pour-overs as well as quicker coffee options. They feature not just their parent-companies products but a rotating list of other Tokyo roasters. The minimalist design is effortlessly cool. It never hurts to have a nice backdrop for some good coffee, and why not take a pic for your instagram feed while caffeinating?
Switch Coffee Tokyo
This cafe is one that you will have to seek out, as it’s a bit off the beaten bath. The experience and the coffee is worth it, however. About a ten minute walk from Meguro Station and through some pretty interesting side streets is the striking electric blue and stark white store front of Switch Coffee Tokyo. This roaster cafe has been a favorite among coffee enthusiasts due to their consistency and commitment to quality. There are other reasons to check out Meguro aside from Switch: There are a number of interesting museums like the Yebisu Museum of Beer in the general vicinity. Still it is a bit out there. I’m a fan of these shops with a lot of natural character and a sense of a genuine community. So, consider making the trip.
Single O Japan
Single O is only open three days a week: Sunday, Monday, and Saturday. That limits your chances to visit this amazing coffee bar, but if you are lucky enough to check out this shop you’ll be pleased. Located in Sumida near Ryogoku Station the Single O Tasting Bar is a welcoming and stylish spot with some truly great coffees. The company is originally from Australia but developed a Japanese offshoot when they found a partner in Yamamoto Yu. Nearby you’ll find the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the famous Sumo Stables. You can grab a coffee while soaking up some culture and hopefully bump into a Sumo star.
Fuglen is a concept cafe with its roots in Norway. Fans of Scandinavian coffee will be at home here. The mid-century design and furniture is instantly charming. This is a really popular shop about 15 minutes from Shibuya Station, but on weekday mornings you might find that you have room to stretch out. In addition some stellar light roast coffees they offer an exciting cocktail menu that you may want to come back for later in the day. Fuglen is something of a Tokyo icon and opened a second location in Asakusa in the recent years. The pedestrian path that the window seating and outdoor benches overlook offers great people watching.
Onibus Coffee Roasters Nakameguro
Onibus Coffee Roasters is one of Tokyo’s most popular third-wave coffee shops. Onibus has long been established as a leader in the Japanese specialty coffee world, opening their shop well before the coffee boom hit the city. Their Nakameguro cafe is remarkable in its light and open—almost Melbourne like—feel while still standing out as singularly Japanese. Seating is limited but there is a park directly next door. One special feature about the Nakameguro store is their second floor, that overlooks the park and a set of raised train tracks. Drinking some espresso while watching trains pull in and out of Nakameguro station is a very special experience.
Glitch Coffee & Roasters
Glitch is located in Jimbocho, a section of Tokyo well known for its used book stores. It’s a lot of fun walking around the town and browsing the countless storefronts overflowing with vintage publications. Glitch itself is a very cool store with some expertly roasted and prepared coffees. They have a walk-up window for takeout and a hip interior with a rustic chic vibe. One cool thing about Glitch is how supportive they have been of young coffee businesses, allowing newcomers to the cafe world to use their roaster and learn from the some of the best.
Enjoy coffee hunting! I hope you find your new favorite shop. Please let me know if you check out any of these cafes or if you have any other recommendations!