You Have to Visit These Retro Coffeehouses in Tokyo
Time seems to have stopped in these cafes.
Tokyo has a lot of cute cafes--see here and here--but it’s also rich in coffee houses where the air is thick with nostalgia. Here, we list down three that you can visit on your next trip to Japan.
Meikyoku Kissa Lion
2-19-13 Dogen-Zaka, Shibuya Ward
Open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (last order is at 10:20 p.m.) Closed for the new year and obon holidays (around the 15th of August)
After you enter Hyakkenn-dana in Dogen-Zaka, past the entertainment district with shining neon lights, you’ll find an antique building. That is Meikyoku Kissa Lion. It was founded in 1926, burned down during the war, and rebuilt. In this coffeehouse, there are rules to be followed. For starters, taking photos is prohibited, and one should only speak in a low voice.
Immerse yourself in classic music.
The program is shown on the leaflet. The first owner illustrated the cover.
All seats face the same direction, so the whole space looks almost like a church or an old-style train in Europe. The giant speaker is designed by the engineer of Pioneer corporation. The acoustics are so good that some customers would even bring their own music because they want to listen to it from the said speaker.
Yurakucho Building 1F, 1-10-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda Ward
Opening from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
The curved stone wall rises to the ceiling. It feels as though you have entered a different world.
Stone opened in 1966 with the completion of Yurakucho Building right in the business district. The building was designed with geometrically patterned marble floors and granite walls, and is known for the modern-style structure that was popular during the Showa period (1926 – 1989). The high ceilings only add to the sense of space in the cafe.
The appearance is creates a muted atmosphere and is perfect for business meetings.
Owner Okumura-san’s parents are stone dealers, which is why there was no trouble designing the cafe.
1/F Kawazome Bldg., 1-3-3, Asagaya-Kita, Suginami Ward
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. On Sundays, they are open from 9 a.m. (last order is at 1:30 a.m.)
A romantic coffeehouse made by a young literature lover
The owner, who loves reading books, opened this coffee shop 36 years ago. The interior has a wide variety of decor, such as colorful walls and lighting equipment, and a miniature garden by the window.
The miniature garden at the window makes the atmosphere animated. It demonstrates the concern of owner who wishes for the customers to feel at home.
Waffle (¥520). In the dough, a small amount of orange peel is added to give it a delicate flavor. You can also enjoy butter, strawberry jam, sweet azuki, and fresh cream with it.
The popular menu items, like the spaghetti and waffles, are a product of a lot of trial and error by the owner. One of the most popular seats is the swing seat. The owner made it himself, inspired by a swing seat in another jazz coffeehouse he used to visit.
Provided by Japan Walker™ and Tokyo Walker™ (19 March 2018)