Tokyo is one of the most bustling cities in not only Japan but the entire world. In fact, if you do a quick search online on which city is the busiest in the world, you’d see “Tokyo, Japan” in big bold letters. This city has rapidly evolved to become the business hub it is today — with this fast-paced growth also comes the fast-paced lifestyles of the people, which I believe contribute a great deal in shaping a city’s coffee scene. 

After three years of personally exploring what the coffee culture has to offer in this city of neon lights, the five cafe’s I’m going to share with you today are my favourite coffee shops in Tokyo for every coffee drinker to try for themselves.  

Some big chains like Blue Bottle Coffee have been doing really well, and some of my favourite architecture was from the Blue Bottle Coffee  shop in Shibuya. But when I often like cooler cafe’s that are little less mainstream, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today. 

Coffee only became popular in Japan in the twentieth century, when the capital city was at its peak of hustle and bustle, and people looked to caffeine to keep up with the pace. Now the third wave of coffee culture has pretty much taken over the coffee scene in Tokyo, and cafes have become spaces where people can slow it down and alleviate themselves from social pressures.

Not so long ago you had the choice of black coffees, like filter coffee, or coffee with cream, but now getting a shot of espresso, drip coffee, or other modern brewing method are never too far away.

Because of that, new coffee shops pop up in the city constantly. The scene ranges from trendy roasteries to traditional kissaten, one-upping each other with interiors designed by award-winning architects and importing the finest coffee beans. 

Streamer Coffee Company

Streamer Coffee Company is one of the pioneers of the third wave coffee in all of Japan, owned by latte artist Hiroshi Sawada, who won the 2008 Free Pour Latte Art Championship in Seattle. He first opened a cafe in the Shibuya neighbourhood back in 2010, but now the company has about a dozen locations in the Tokyo prefecture. 

Most outlets have a similar interior design — keeping it minimal and clean. They have long sharing tables and counter-style ones, from where you can witness the baristas in action. All outlets offer free, strong WiFi, which explains why most of the crowd during the day are students and remote workers.

Streamer has an espresso bar with a range of espresso types — while it has its fair share of single-origin beans, it focuses more on original blends like Streamer Blend and the Latte Art Blend. While the coffee company does hand drip, cold brew, aero press and even develops their own nitro, the main attraction is their free pour lattes, particularly the signature Streamer Latte. They’re served in large-sized mugs to provide the latte artists bigger canvases to work with — the latte art is quite at the top of the list of things that Streamer prides in.

Even though coffee takes centre stage, there’s always a selection of cakes, cookies and pastries at the counter. The range changes regularly — I never saw the same selection twice — but it seems like the carrot cake is a staple and crowd favourite. Coffee prices are a little bit on the steeper side, but that doesn’t stop coffee enthusiasts from coming back regularly. 

Address: Various outlets are listed here.

Official website:

Ogawa Coffee Laboratory Shimokitazawa

Ogawa Coffee has a history that dates back to post-war Kyoto of 1952, but it wasn’t until recently that the coffee roastery set up shop in the country’s capital city. There are two outlets in Tokyo, but unlike the first one in Sakura-shinmachi where customers can chit-chat while sipping on a brew, the Shimokitazawa outlet is less of a cafe and more of what the name of the store is called: a coffee laboratory. 

Opened in 2021, this outlet of Ogawa Coffee offers coffee masterclasses — the trained baristas guide customers on the best ways to brew a cup of quality coffee using tools from a selection of 40 coffee tools, which can also be purchased. Customers can choose the way to make the coffee as well, from AeroPress and siphon to a classic pour-over.

Pick from a range of over 20 types of coffee beans, including single-origin, house blends and specialty beans—the coffee graph available in-store is a great way to assist customers to pick the beans based on their preferred flavour profiles. There is also an in-store roaster where customers can try roasting small batches of coffee beans first-hand. 

While it’s more of a place to learn about coffee roasting and brewing, there are seats where you can enjoy a small selection of coffee and snacks in-store — the signature Tahitian vanilla gelato is a must-try. Ogawa Coffee’s Shimokitazawa outlet is definitely a stop every coffee enthusiast should make when in town.

Address: Japan, 〒155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya City, Kitazawa, 3 Chome−19−20 reload1-1

Official website:

The Roastery

This other local favourite coffee spot is a collaboration between coffee brand Nozy Coffee and interior design brand Tysons & Company, resulting in a cup of joe served in a hauntingly exquisite interior. The Roastery is located in the busy neighbourhood Harajuku, on Cat Street, and there is always a queue coming out the front entrance.

The interior of the coffee shop is darkly lit, and at the centre of the space is a circular island of coffee equipment where baristas do their magic. One of the main features of The Roastery, I believe, is its outdoor seating. Even though there are a few tables and stools indoors, many opt for a seat at the outdoor tables. 

The highlight and significance of this coffee shop is its dedication to single origin, and beans are roasted on-site. The Roastery only offers two kinds of single origin each day and offers only three menu items: americano, latte and espresso. It aims to showcase coffee as it is, since blends are much more favoured in Japan, and share the various types of beans with its flavour notes. The location was a prime factor, too, as The Roastery wants to reach as many people as possible, and not just coffee enthusiasts.

The small but precise menu proves the passion The Roastery has for coffee, and single origin specifically. Many have turned away from this coffee shop because of the simplistic menu, but I bet coffee lovers would appreciate The Roastery’s vision.

Address: 5 Chome-17-13 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

Official website:


Starting out as a coffee stand pop-up, Paddlers was the first coffee shop in Tokyo to serve Stumptown coffee. Its location at the residential neighbourhood of Nishihara opened in 2015. According to owner Daisuke Matsushima, the name comes from the phrase “paddle out” — the theme is all about going with the flow and not rushing, as he feels like people in Tokyo are always hurrying somewhere.

Matsushima went to high school and college in Portland, when he often frequented Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It was in Portland where he learned that a coffee shop is a place for people to gather and share experiences — that is the goal of Paddlers, on top of good coffee, of course.

The coffee shop gives off a very homely ambience — partly because of the wooden interior and exterior, and partly because of the friendly regulars. Coffee beans are served either french press or espresso, and customers can buy the beans by the bag, too.

As a way to introduce a morning coffee culture to Tokyo, Paddlers opens as early as 7:30 AM. On top of the amazing coffee, many come for the signature hot dogs — which goes great with the coffee, by the way.

Address: 2 Chome-26-5 Nishihara, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0066, Japan

Official website:

Onibus Coffee

Owned by Atsushi Sakao, Onibus Coffee is one of the top third wave coffee shops in the city. The name “onibus” is a Portuguese word with the etymology of “public bus” and “for all” — the concept of this coffee company is to connect people to each other, like a bus, from one bus stop to the next. While there are three locations in the city, all with their own coffee roaster, the Nakameguro outlet is the most popular one of them all.

The building that Onibus is in was once an okayu (rice porridge) restaurant, but now has become a full-fledged cafe with two storeys — on the ground floor is the counter and roastery and the seats can be found upstairs. Outdoor seating is also available. The interior is inspired by traditional Japanese elements, like handmade tiles from a pottery town called Tokoname and a hand-drawn mural at the back wall by local artist Chalk Boy.

The cafe offers various types of beans, both blend and single origin, and customers can have anything from espresso-based coffees to filter ones. These coffee beans are also sold wholesale, which is what the coffee company is more known for. Customers can also buy bags of them in-store.

The constant crowd at all the outlets are indicators that this is one of the most favourited coffee spots in town. 

Address: Various outlets are listed here.

Official website:


As new coffee shops are always popping up around the city, I find myself struggling to keep up. However, most, if not all, Japanese coffee enthusiasts will agree that these five are staples in any coffee drinker’s guide to Tokyo’s coffee culture.

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