Dwell in the past as you embark on a journey to rediscover the charm of quaint, family-owned kissaten coffee shops and tea rooms scattered throughout Tokyo.
In a time long before the rise of trendy third-wave coffee shops and modern cafés, the people of Tokyo sought solace and caffeinated bliss in the comforting embrace of traditional kissaten tea rooms and coffee shops. These cherished establishments, while often offering light refreshments and simple meals, held a far greater significance in the fabric of Tokyo society. They served as vibrant social hubs, bringing communities together.
Though the prominence of kissaten has waned over the years, a handful of these timeless gems still thrive in the heart of Tokyo. Stepping into these hallowed spaces, you will be transported to an era that remains etched in nostalgia. The ambiance is a delightful time capsule, preserving the aesthetic and atmosphere of yesteryears.
Here, the essence of a quintessential coffee experience awaits you. Savor the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, expertly prepared by passionate artisans who have dedicated their lives to the craft. Engage in unhurried conversations, observe the ebb and flow of local life and revel in the warmth of genuine human connection.
As you wander through the streets of Tokyo, encountering these revered establishments, you’ll be enchanted by their enduring spirit. They stand as enduring symbols of tradition, offering a respite from the frenetic pace of modern life.
Address: 1-23-9 Nihonzutsumi, Taito, Tokyo
Transport: Minami-Senju Station (Hibiya line), south exit
Opening hours: 10:00am – 06:45pm (closed on Fridays)
Situated in the suburban neighborhood of Minami-Senju in northern Tokyo, this coffee haven prides itself on roasting all its beans in-house. Café Bach, a dedicated specialist in the art of coffee, holds the distinction of supplying coffee for the illustrious G8 summit held in Okinawa in 2000—a historical event immortalized on the Japanese ¥2,000 note. At this esteemed kissaten, you can rest assured that your coffee experience is in expert hands. Since its establishment in 1968, Café Bach has consistently delivered meticulously hand-dripped coffee with unwavering precision, ensuring a remarkable and timeless brew.
Café Trois Chambres
Address: Yuasa Bldg 2F, 5-36-14 Daizawa, Setagaya, Tokyo
Transport: Shimokitazawa Station (Keio Inokashira, Odakyu lines)
Opening hours: daily 09:30am – 08:00pm
Established in 1980, Trois Chambres presents a tranquil haven, seemingly distant from the bustling streets of Shimokitazawa. Adorned with shelves adorned with antique cups, this kissaten exudes an atmosphere that transports you to another era. Engaging conversations flow effortlessly among the regular patrons gathered around the counter, while the corner tables consistently host individuals immersed in the pages of a captivating book. Here, time appears to halt. Indulge in the heavenly delights of their delectable rare and baked cheesecakes, and rest assured that coffee is accompanied by a complimentary refill.
Address: 3-12-10 Nishiogi-Kita, Suginami, Tokyo
Transport: Nishi-Ogikubo Station (Chuo, Chuo-Sobu lines), north exit
Opening hours: daily 11:30am – 08:00pm
Among the numerous kissaten establishments in Tokyo, only a selected few truly deserve the distinction. Nestled in Nishi-Ogikubo, this particular kissaten undeniably meets the criteria: stained-glass windows, antique clocks and a soothing jazz soundtrack instantly transport you to a bygone era. Monozuki, established in 1975, boasts a delightfully uncomplicated menu, with black coffee reigning as its star attraction. It has garnered adoration from both local residents and former Nishi-Ogi-ites, who flock to this cherished spot to relish the flavors reminiscent of the good old days.