APR 03,2010 - JUL 06,2010 (95 DAYS)
It is well known that there is nothing more relaxing then a cup of Japanese tea. But, what most people are less familiar with is the experience of drinking a cup of coffee in Japan. After a three month stay in Tokyo I gathered a list of my favorite places to drink coffee in Tokyo. As always in Japan, prepare for a unique experience…
If you just arrived in Tokyo the first place to go is Shibuya. Just in front of Shibuya station you'll find the large intersection which is one of the most popular filming spots- once the crossing light turns green- the intersection is flooded by pedestrians. The best place to observe the passers is at the Starbucks coffee which is just beside the intersection.
Not a lot of people know that Japan was the first Country out of America to have Starbucks coffee shops – in 1995 Starbucks decided to license its format in Japan. Today you can find a Starbucks in every corner in Tokyo – but the one in Shibuya crossing is my favorite one. You can find yourself sitting there for hours – long after you finished your coffee and just staring at the passersby down the street.
Starbucks Shibuya is also very famous for language exchange meetings – and you can always find there Japanese people that are looking for foreigners (or as we are called in Japan – Gaijin="non Japanese") to speak English with. The coffee is the same known Starbucks coffee but if you want to try something new you should taste the Green tea latte (matcha green tea with steamed milk) or the Green tea Frappuccino (blended matcha green tea with milk and ice).
If you are a cat lover you can't stay in Tokyo and not visit a cat Café. You will never forget this experience – so don't forget to put it on your to-do list!
The cat cafés are quiet popular in Japan - mostly because in many apartments in Tokyo cats are forbidden and also because the cats in the café are known as the best companions for the lonely and stressed life in Tokyo.
While you are drinking your coffee you can play with the cats that are very friendly and also buy them some treats. Usually you pay an hourly fee for entrance to the café. The cafes are very clean and it seems that the cats have there a great life. I loved visiting the cat cafés because I really missed my cat that I left back at home. You can find a lot of cat cafes around Tokyo.
Well this is a unique Japanese experience that you can't miss while you visit Tokyo. Maid cafes are Cosplay restaurants where young waitresses are dressed in maid costumes and act as your servants – and you are their mistresses or masters. As you come in the waitress greets you: "Welcome my Master/Mistress".
All foods and drinks at the café are decorated with a "Kawaii" (cute) design and if you decide to order your coffee here your servant will put in the sugar and mix the coffee for you. You can also play games with your waitress and get your photograph taken together.If you are a big fan of anime and manga I think you will love the place.
You can find a lot of maid cafes around Akihabara district ( "Electric Town") in Tokyo. One of the most famous maid café chains is called: @home maid café – most of the time there is a long queue to get inside but it is worth every minute – believe me! Be aware that you are not allowed to take photos inside – I didn't listen and took some photos and they almost took my camera away…
If you are looking for a relaxing place to drink your coffee and maybe have a small picnic I recommend you visit Yoyogi Park just beside Harajuku Station or Shinjuku Gyoen in Shinjuku district.
On the way don't forget to stop at one of Tokyo's department stores – where you can almost always find the best food departments on the basement floor – there you will find delicious Japanese sweets and desserts for your picnic.
If you get a chance to visit Tokyo on the cherry blossom season around April – you will find a lot of Japanese having there picnic under a blooming Sakura ( an old practice called Hanami).
And if you are in a rush to catch the train you can always find the nearest Lawson or Family Mart convenience stores that are open 24/7 days a week and buy yourself a can of cold coffee for the way.