Food Guides

10 Speciality Coffee Shops in Tokyo Recommended By Baristas

Speciality coffee shops in Tokyo

Coffee culture is not a new thing in Japan – kissaten (喫茶店), or old-style Japanese cafes, have been around since the Showa era.

The number of coffee shops in Tokyo leaves us spoilt for choice, and since we can only have so many cups of coffee in a day, it can be hard to choose which ones to go to. To make things simple for you, we’ve sussed out 10 of the best speciality coffee shops in Tokyo recommended by baristas.

1. About Life Coffee Brewers

Image credits: About Life Coffee Brewers

A speciality coffee stand situated in Shibuya, About Life Coffee Brewers is a concept store by Atsushi Sakao, the founder of Onibus Coffee. About Life prides itself on its ‘Friendship Roasters’ concept, where coffee beans roasted by Onibus Coffee, Switch Coffee Tokyo and Amameria Espresso are featured on the menu. It’s a real melting pot of some of the best coffee available in Tokyo.

Image credits: @lluvia097

About Life also has an original espresso blend that’s used for its lattes (¥450). Using coffee beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala and Brazil, it produces a well-balanced cup of coffee that’s easy and pleasant to drink.

Image credits: @cou1__

If espressos are not your cup of coffee, the filter coffee (¥430) is a popular choice for customers who want something light and tea-like. The beans on the filter bar are also from the three coffee roasters.

Image credits: @taylornaoko

About Life is a small coffee stand and there is no seating inside. There is some standing space and a couple of wooden benches on the outside. It’s also a cyclist-friendly coffee stand – there are hooks on the walls outside for hanging up bicycles.

Image credits: @des.21

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8.30AM-7PM | Sat – Sun 9AM-7PM
Address: 1 Chome-19-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

2. Koffee Mameya

Image credits: @annagor_

Many lamented the abrupt closure of Omotesando Koffee back in 2015. Two years later, Eiichi Kunitomo – the founder of Omotesando Koffee – opened Koffee Mameya in the same spot that Omotesando Koffee once stood on, albeit in a newer building.

Koffee Mameya’s focus, however, differs from its predecessor. Koffee Mameya seeks a connection with its patrons by kicking up a conversation, finding out the customer’s preferences, and finally serving up a cup of coffee best suited for them.

There are only two items on the menu – espressos or hand-dripped coffee from the flat-bottomed Kalita Wave dripper or the conical Hario V60. There are also no tables and chairs for patrons – only standing space is available.

Image credits: @tokyobikerentals

Koffee Mameya’s main concept is actually to sell coffee beans. Interestingly, it does not roast its own beans. They act as a platform to match speciality coffee beans to the customer.

Image credits: @notthatkindfdietitian

Working with renowned speciality coffee roasters from Japan, such as Bontain Coffee from Nagoya and Ogawa Cafe in Kyoto, Koffee Mameya will pair you with a roast profile that best suits your palate from 36 coffees. Beans are also flown in from roasters in Australia and Hong Kong.

Image credits: @rainie_ger

The bags of coffee come in 150g-sized pouches, and prices range from ¥1,500 to ¥4,000. Also included inside are handwritten notes from the baristas on the brewing recipe for that specific coffee, such as grind size, brew ratio and time. Unsure on how to brew coffee yourself? The baristas here will share their tips on how to make a great cup of coffee at home. 

Image credits: @tokyobikerentals

Opening hours: 10AM-6PM, Daily
Address: 4 Chome-15-3 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

3. The Local Coffee Stand

Image credits: @sheisbesidethecoffee

Opened in 2016 in Aoyama, The Local Coffee Stand is an active member of the Tokyo speciality coffee scene. Apart from their in-house original blend, The Local Coffee Stand also features coffee beans roasted in Japan and by overseas roasters.

Image credits: @thelocal2016

Coffee aside, The Local is also a popular venue for indie Japanese designers to showcase their work. The shop collaborates closely with graphic designers for their merchandise too.

Image credits: @thelocal2016

A hand-dripped coffee costs ¥550, while a latte is priced at ¥490.

Image credits: @tgsgnu

The guys behind The Local also organise the Tokyo Coffee Festival, which typically happens in the spring and autumn. Held at the Aoyama Farmers Market, the festival attracts coffee roasters all over Japan and the rest of the world. They also run the Good Coffee blog, a collective of speciality coffee shops around the globe.

The Tokyo Coffee Festival takes place at the Farmers Market in front of the United Nations University
Image credits: @tokyocoffeefestival

If you are visiting Fukuoka, The Local has a second outlet there.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8AM-7PM | Sat – Sun 11AM-7PM
Address: 2 Chome-10-15 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

4. 4/4 Seasons Coffee

Image credits: @allseasonscoffee

Pronounced as ‘All Seasons’, 4/4 Seasons Coffee has a simple mission of serving delicious cups of coffee to its patrons and to make it a way of life.

Decked out in white, it’s a simple shop that seems to remove itself from the hustle of Shinjuku.

Image credits: @allseasonscoffee

Besides coffee, 4/4 Seasons Coffee has handmade bakes such as pizza toasts (¥500) and various sweet treats, like lemon cakes (¥280), strawberry cream cakes and its signature pudding.

Image credits: @allseasonscoffee

Image credits: @allseasonscoffee

The coffee beans are roasted in the shop itself, with single-origin beans coming from places such as Burundi and Rwanda. It’s best enjoyed as a filter coffee (¥480), with a brewing method you can choose from – choose the V60 for a balanced taste or the Chemex for cleaner flavours.

Image credits: @allseasonscoffee

The menu also offers ‘syrups’ (¥420), which are soda-based drinks perfect for warmer seasons.

Image credits: @tomo__110

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8AM-7PM | Sat – Sun 10AM-7PM
Address: 2 Chome-7-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

5. Bear Pond Espresso

Image credits: @nunwr888

Bear Pond Espresso may look like an unassuming shop along the streets of Shimokitazawa, but it has actually earned itself a cult following. It’s run by Katsu Tanaka, a seasoned barista with an attitude to boot. Don’t expect the best customer service here, but you can look forward to being served quality coffee.

Image credits: @dickyjongjournal

To maintain consistency and standards, only Tanaka himself gets to run the La Marzocco espresso machine and make drinks for the customers.

Many travel here just to get a taste of the Angel Stain espresso shot, often described as a shot of intense, syrupy goodness. He lets the first few drops of coffee slide down the sides of the cup and create stains, hence the name of the drink. Only 10 of these are made each day – but not every day – and he stops making them after 1PM because he believes that he can’t maintain its consistency.

Angel Stain
Image credits: @angelstain

Regular drinks like americanos (¥400) and lattes (¥450) are also available. Pro tip: For a stronger tasting drink, pick a Gibraltar (¥450). A Gibraltar has a smaller coffee-to-milk ratio than a latte, thus making it a stiffer drink.

While you’re there, do pick up some of Bear Pond Espresso’s merchandise. The very cool ‘The Survival’ and Coffeedust POKE brewing kit  – a cloth pouch made to fit a camp stove, a hand grinder, scale and coffee beans – is a must-get for outdoor lovers who need coffee no matter the terrain.

Image credits: Bear Pond Espresso

Opening hours: 11AM-5.30PM, Daily
Address: 2 Chome-36-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031, Japan

Note: Photography is not allowed inside; do ask for permission if you want to take photos.

6. The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

Image credits: The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

The Roastery by Nozy Coffee only has three espresso-based drinks on their menu, available at the main coffee barespresso (¥480), americano (¥550) and latte (¥600). All of their drinks are made with single-origin beans, rather than blends. Single-origin beans come in limited quantities, change regularly, and are not available year-round. Nozy Coffee believes that this will show the taste differences between coffee origins, and take its patrons on a sensory tour of sorts.

Image credits: The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

Like many third-wave coffee roasters, Nozy Coffee seeks to build good relationships with the farmers they source their green coffee beans from, in order to brew great coffee while maintaining ethical trade practices. They also want to help their patrons learn more about coffee culture from its enclave on Cat Street in Harajuku, and to share the story behind a cup of coffee.

Image credits: @the_roastery_by_nozycoffee

For non-espresso drinkers, try the hand-brewed coffee (¥680), available at a secondary bar inside the shop. 

If you have a sweet tooth, get the popular cronuts at The Roastery. Called NY Rings (¥520), it’s an interesting and delicious cross between a croissant and a doughnut.

Image credits: @the_roastery_by_nozycoffee

While The Roastery’s limited selection of drinks may seem like coffee snobbery to some, Nozy Coffee asserts that this is not the case. Rather, they have simplified their shop as much as possible, including the menu, to focus on brewing good coffee and making conversations with their customers. They want people who think they dislike coffee to give it a shot and see what they have to offer, in hopes of changing their minds.

Image credits: The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

Opening hours: 10AM-9PM, Daily
Address: 5 Chome-17-13 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

7. Onibus Coffee

Onibus Nakameguro
Image credits:@onibuscoffee

Onibus Coffee’s name comes from the Portuguese word for ‘public bus’, to highlight their mission of making coffee accessible and a bonding experience for everyone.

Image credits: Onibus Coffee Okusawa

There are three outlets in Tokyo. The Nakameguro outlet is a pretty little hut, where the artsy folks of Nakameguro gather for a cuppa. The Okusawa outlet is located right next to train tracks, so you can sip on a hot cup of americano (¥450) while a train rumbles by.

Image credits: Jennifer Ngu

You can get a cup of latte (¥470) or a hand-dripped filter coffee (¥490) here.

Image credits: Onibus Coffee Yakumo

Opening hours: Thu – Mon 9AM-6PM | Closed on Tue and Wed
Address: 5 Chome-1-4 Okusawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0083, Japan

Opening hours: 9AM-6PM, Daily
Address: 2 Chome-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro City, Tokyo 153-0051, Japan

Opening hours: 9AM-6PM, Daily
Address: 4 Chome-10-20 Yakumo, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0023, Japan


8. Coffee Wrights

Coffee Wrights Omotesando
Image credits: Coffee Wrights

Its name is derived from an old word that means ‘maker’ or ‘creator’. Coffee Wrights seeks to create a community around coffee, preferring to have smaller and more homely outlets.

Coffee Wrights serves up some killer coffees and interesting bakes, like Ceylon cinnamon rolls and butter cookies with anko (Japanese bean paste used in traditional sweets) sandwiched between.

Cinnamon sugar toast

Image credits: @coffeewrights_kuramae

There are four outlets in Tokyo, found in Sangenjaya, Kuramae, Shibaura and Omotesando. The main cafe and roastery is located in Kuramae.

Coffee Wrights also organises public cupping events and brewing workshops to teach the community more about coffee and help spread coffee culture. Check out their Instagram page for regular updates.

Image credits: @coffeewrights_kuramae

Do grab some of its aesthetic merchandise, like the t-shirts and tote bags, as well as coffee beans for your coffee-loving friends.

Image credits: @coffeewrights_kuramae

Opening hours: 9AM-6PM, Daily
Address: 1 Chome-32-21 Sangenjaya, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0024, Japan

Opening hours: Wed – Sun 10AM-6PM | Closed on Mon and Tue
Address: 4 Chome-20-2-1F Kuramae, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0051, Japan

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9AM-6PM | Closed on Sat and Sun
Address: 3 Chome-15-4 Shibaura, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0023, Japan

Opening hours: Thu – Tue 11AM-6PM | Closed on Wed
Address: Minagawa Village #5, 4 Chome-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan


9. Little Nap Coffee Roasters

Image credits: @sourcecoffeeco

Opened in 2011, Little Nap is a charming coffee shop in Shibuya. Coffee aside, the cafe also serves brownies (¥300), ham and cheese sandwiches (¥400) and even hotdogs (¥450).

Image credits: @may_filmgraphy

Little Nap also helps out the coffee community in Tokyo by guiding several cafes’ creative direction and operations.

Image credits: @yeonvely93

A smaller outlet, Little Nap Coffee Stand, is a popular stop for a coffee break in Yoyogi Park. There is a floor-to-ceiling glass window, where you can sit and people-watch or admire the cherry blossoms that Yoyogi Park is so popular for.

Image credits: @sienjosephine

Little Nap Coffee Roasters
Opening hours: 9AM-7PM, Daily
Address: 2-43-15 Tomigaya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0063, Japan

Little Nap Coffee Stand
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 9AM-7PM | Closed on Mon
Address: 5 Chome-65-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan


10. Coffee Supreme Tokyo

Image credits: Coffee Supreme

Coffee Supreme is a well-known speciality coffee roaster from New Zealand that supplies beans to cafes in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Its Shibuya branch, like Little Nap Coffee Stand, is also located near Yoyogi Park.

Serving up killer cups of Australasian-styled coffee is but one of Coffee Supreme’s traits. It’s also a one-stop for all things related to coffee – whole beans, drip bags, snazzy t-shirts, and even cool mugs.

Image credits: @coffee_supreme_jpn

Another interesting to get is a box of instant speciality coffee. These are the up-and-coming products in the world of speciality coffee, and still quite hard to come by.

Image credits:@coffee_supreme_jpn

Opening hours: 8AM-7PM, Daily
Address: 42-3 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0047, Japan

Speciality coffee shops in Tokyo

Finding a speciality coffee shop in Tokyo isn’t hard, but with a list that’s recommended by baristas, coffee breaks in between your shopping sprees will be so much better. Make these third-wave coffee shops a pit stop for caffeine-refuels on your next trip to Tokyo!

Check out these articles for your next trip to Japan:

Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): @yuya.arakawa, @tokyocoffeefestival and @the_roastery_by_nozycoffee

Ryan Chiong

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