HIDDEN GEMS: Tokyo Coffee Shops

Are you looking for some unique Tokyo cafes besides the classics? You’ve come to the right place! I have curated a list of some of my favorite coffee spots throughout the city (and one just outside Tokyo) for you to check out. My qualifications? A decade long caffeine addiction and a habit of frequent $10 latte purchases in the United States. I also find that coffee shops are a great way to explore Tokyo’s local businesses, communities, and new areas without breaking the bank. Check out my recommendations below!

FOR A DATE OR CATCHING UP:
LOU

5 Chome-53-4 Nakano, Nakano City, Tokyo 164-0001
My friend and I ended up at LOU after trying to escape a torrential downpour, and we were lucky to have done so. LOU’s warm interior decked out with plants and knick knacks makes for the perfect conversational environment. The background ambiance is supplemented by their record player in which they play some of the best and most relaxing music.

My drink: Iced Soy Milk Latte

FOR A SOLO DAY OUT:
CHIHYE COFFEE

1 Chome-7-10 Azabujuban, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0045
This cafe, located near Roppongi, has few seats, making it better for a more independent outing. Regardless, it was one of the best lattes I’ve had in a while and very strong – I was wide awake the rest of the afternoon! It also gets frequented by the dog owners of Azabu, so be prepared to meet some new fuzzy friends!
My drink: Iced Latte

FOR WORK OR STUDYING:
Ueshima Coffee House

Grande Maison Azabu Ichinohashi, 1F 2 Chome-1-8 Azabujuban, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0045
This coffee shop is the perfect spot if you need to do work in a quiet spot but need to get out of the house! With its beautiful wooden interior and plentiful seat options, Ueshima is the go-to place for peak productivity. They serve their drinks in the copper cups usually reserved for cocktails, so suffice to say it was a great coffee experience.
My drink: Brown Sugar Milk Coffee

FOR A BREAK FROM EXPLORING…
Sol’s Coffee

〒111-0053 Tokyo, Taito City, Asakusabashi, 3 Chome−25−7 NI ビル 1F
This spot is the perfect escape from the tourist craziness that is Tokyo Skytree. Located on the 7th floor, Sol’s offers coffee with a beautiful view of the Sumida river and the base of Skytree. I went in the middle of the day and despite the mall being crowded, Sol’s offered a pocket of serenity amidst the chaos.
My drink: Iced Cafe Latte

FOR PRE-BEACH FUEL…
Poolside Coffee

8 Chome-1-38 Sakurayama, Zushi, Kanagawa 249-0005
While not in Tokyo, Zushi Beach is one of the closest beaches to Tokyo. And despite its negative reputation of being an over-touristed gaijin haven, its side streets hold treasure like Poolside Coffee. The quaint cafe is nestled in one of Zushi’s calm neighborhoods and is a must-see spot. The interior is decorated with all things summer and beach, complemented by beachy music and an overall comforting atmosphere. There is limited seating, but I had an amazing time sitting and reading my book as the world passed by through Poolside’s large windows. They also provide metal straws – my preferred coffee sipping utensil!
My drink: Iced Latte

FOR DOING WORK… WITH AN EARTHY TWIST:
Komainu Coffee


〒155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya City, Kitazawa, 3 Chome−31−5 1F 狛犬珈琲
This spot is nestled behind the famous shopping area of Shimokitazawa, and deserves more love. The greenery-filled interior is truly magical, and there are multiple seating options (counter, table, even pillows) all with accompanying and accessible outlets (a rarity in Tokyo coffee shops). It truly felt like being in a fairy cabin; with the 1920’s music in the background, Komainu makes for a great environment to do work in.
My drink: Iced Caffe Latte

FOR TRADITION WITH A TWIST…
Starbucks Reserve Roastery

〒155-0032 Tokyo, Setagaya City, Daizawa, 5 Chome−8−13 クリークス
Yes, I was just calling Starbucks boring, but hear me out—this isn’t your typical Starbucks. Because it’s a reserve roastery, it has unique drinks and food only available at this location. The space inside is lovely – good balance of working space and conversational space. With it being located so close to the thrift hub of Shimokitazawa, I was surprised to find it was mainly locals inside! The best part is the rear dog patio, in which the local dog owners park their dog strollers and enjoy a drink with their furry friends—it’s truly the cutest.
My drink: Iced Latte

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