fbpx The Flavor of Japan's Specialty Cafes

Tokyo may be one of the busiest cities in the world – but hidden in the backstreets are a smattering of calm, cute and independent cafes. Escapes from the endless parade of Starbucks dotting the roadways, and a perfect place to hide away from the city’s bustle and stress.  We spent a day kicking back exploring some of Tokyo’s tucked-away cafes. Here are three of our favourites in the Shimokitazawa area.

Tag Coffee

The whimsical decor, the fairy lights and the billowy hanging fabric drew us in.  The cafe hosts art exhibitions from various local artists, so there is always something interesting hanging on the walls.

The menu has a surprisingly huge selection of coffee, as well as cocktails, pizza, sandwiches and other dishes.  There are also ample plugs for those wanting to use their laptop.  One other convenient feature of Tag Coffee is that they have free iPads for customers to use.

These iPads can be used to view the English menu or simply to surf the web.  To top it all off, the acoustic, quiet music added to the calm atmosphere.  Overall – a great space to study or work!

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Ballon D’essai

This cafe specializes in latte art. Ballon D’essai literally means ‘test balloon’ in French. This is an expression used to describe something which is designed to ‘test the waters’.  On weekends, the cafe holds latte art workshops for anyone interested in learning the craft.  If you order a latte – you can ask for customized latte art.  We decided on a bear and Krillin from Dragon Ball Z. Because… why not?

You can also pick up a selection of baked goods, as well as a variety of coffee beans.

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Kate Coffee

Filled with antique decor and an eclectic mix of old furniture – Kate Coffee is a great place to enjoy a quiet cup of joe and a book.  The walls are lined with books about fashion, art and the avant-garde, as well as crafts and art pieces from artists both local and international.  The menu includes a variety of coffee, juice and cake. They also serve savory dishes such as curry.  We ended our cafe adventure here with smoothies and some delicious cheesecake.

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