Guide to Cafes in Tokyo

By Chu Thi Anh | April 19

‘Get out for a cup of coffee’ or ‘go to a cafe’ is a phrase that you might be very familiar with. We are not just going to a cafe to enjoy some brand-new coffees, different types of teas or beverages. We go there for connections, with good friends or new friends, business relationships and simply with our surroundings whether officially or casually. Going to cafes has become a culture in almost every society thanks to its social connectivity. 

Did you know that Japan also has established its unique cafe culture a long time ago? Since the 1970s, many kissaten or coffee-tea shops have appeared in popular areas around Tokyo like Shinjuku or Ginza and become the start of Japan’s cafe culture. Nowadays, there must be hundreds of cafes in Tokyo, opened in several styles from traditional to modern, basic to conceptual. 

In this article, let me take you through a handful of some of the best cafes in Tokyo. If you are into cafe culture or art lovers or only want to discover Japanese cultures in Tokyo, you have come to the right place. You will find several options for your own needs whatever your interests and preferences are. So, get your bookmark finger ready and get started. 

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    Cafes in Tokyo_where to study

    Which cafes in Tokyo are the best to study and work at?

    After settling down in your new home in Tokyo, you will soon get used to your hard studying at home, at schools or doing business at your company’s office. It might be a little bit boring to just stick to a fixed routine and familiar places. You might want to stay away from your usual working desk for a while and get out for a new scenery to help you concentrate or generate new ideas. There are several cafes in Tokyo that you might find interested in and I am sure that some of them will become your favourite study or work spots. 

    Or are you looking for a new apartment with easy access to a good cup of joe? Check out our BFF Tokyo Guide to Furnished Apartments in Tokyo

    Cafes in Tokyo with free wifi 

    Although Tokyo is one of the world’s most modern cities, free wifi can still be hard to find. In such a busy city like Tokyo, it is usual to see people working on the trains or even on the roads...but you should not think that they can always make use of any free wifi nearby. Japanese people tend to have their phones prepared with a 4G data SIM card or portable hotspots to use whenever they need. Regarding coffee shops, Tokyo has plenty of great cafes but free wifi is not a standard to use everywhere. Also, not every cafe shop has power outlets for your PC/smartphone charging in case of emergency. So, I recommend you confirm with the shop before taking a seat there.

    You can always get inside the shop and ask the staff by using these simple Japanese everyday phrases: 

    この喫茶店にはwifiがありますか?(このきっさてんにはWIFIがありますか。)

    Kono kissaten ni wa wifi ga arimasu ka. (Does this shop have wifi?)

    パソコンをつかいたいんですが、コンセントありますか。

    Pasokon o tsukaitain desu ga, konsento arimasu ka.

    (I want to use my laptop, are there any outlets?) 

    Anyway, no need to worry. You can scroll down this small list about the most popular Wifi cafes in Tokyo and give each of them a try to find out the best choice for yourself. 

    Starbucks

    As you may know, Starbucks is ubiquitous in Tokyo. You might come across it wherever you go. It is a good option whenever you need speedy wifi or outlets to charge your phone without thinking or checking. You only need to remember to register for Starbucks free wifi on this website. Be careful to note down your username and password for the next time you log on to Starbucks wifi. 

    Drinks and cakes offered by Starbucks are seasonally changed and worth trying. However, the cost is pretty high compared to other cafe chains. Besides, due to its density and convenience, Starbucks spots are usually crowded and sometimes you might not find a comfortable space for yourself.   

    Tullys 

    This cafe chain is a favourite for many as it can also be found almost everywhere in Tokyo. They are usually good in size and spaces so you will always take up one seat for your studying or working. You might fall in love with its chill atmosphere, good drinks and even nice soundtrack music. I recommend you try the matcha latte here and enjoy a productive studying/working day.  

    Bundan

    Located inside the literature museum in Meguro, this special cafe is a heaven for book lovers with walls and shelves filled with books. Each dish and drink also has a reference to a Japanese writer. They offer pretty high-cost coffee/tea, around 700 yen and you can choose to refill with another 200 yen. It is a unique cafe in Tokyo with a cozy, charming design and view that is worth trying.

    There are also many other cafes in Tokyo with free wifi and you can check from here

    Cafes in Tokyo_wallet-friendly choices

    Which cafes in Tokyo are the best wallet-friendly options for you? 

    Usually, cafes in Tokyo offer both drinks and foods. They might vary from small cakes to breakfast or lunch meals. If you have a meal at a cafe shop and stay there to study and work, it will cost you about 1000 yen to 1500 yen. Otherwise, tea or coffee alone costs from 400 yen to 700 yen each. It is just an approximate price, and in return, you have a good seat with new scenery, tasty drinks and food.  

    City Bakery

    You might find the chain a great place to go to. As its name, City Bakery offers a variety of cakes and bread besides beverages. The cost varies from 1000 yen to 1200 yen for a drink and a lunch meal. It can be higher if you want to taste some of its several cake types. I think this chain is one of the best options with a relatively low cost for both students and workers because it provides quiet places to focus on your own work and also great food and drink to keep you full and awake. The City Bakery has many spots in Ginza, Shinagawa and Nakameguro and also has decent wifi. You can easily open a meeting with your team at the long, meeting-design table provided. 

    Lattest Omotesando 

    Or, Lattest Omotesando has standing desks, great coffee and baristas, strong wifi and a laptop-friendly vibe to study or get your work done. High-quality drinks start from only 350 yen, and you might love its personalized latte art. 

    I also highly recommend the cafe chain Tullys as a wallet-friendly choice for you which provides all you may need, like excellent drinks and cool spaces that can be found easily anywhere in Tokyo. 

    If you need help with your job-hunting in Tokyo, check out our BFF Jobs in Tokyo. 

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    What are the absolutely must-try Cafes in Tokyo?

    Tokyo is well-known all over the world for its unique and only-in-Japan features. You may find below some cafe shop choices that well fit your interest. If you are a traveller, you should not leave Tokyo without paying these cafes a visit.   

    Where are the most instagrammable cafes in Tokyo?

    After tasting some famous Korean chicken dishes in Shin-Okubo, Koreatown, we highly recommend you to stop at the 2D cafe for an exciting experience. This cafe shop has a fantastic design that looks like a 2D monochrome drawing and might fool your eyes and brain. It may surprise you at first sight, and you may feel like you just dropped into a manga world. But it is real. So take a look at its 3D menu, order a delicious drink and feed your accounts with astonishing images of this manga-alike cafe. 

    For a combination of awesome 2D or 3D art and excellent coffee, you may love the Reissue cafe in Harajuku. Here, they serve caffe latte art with any drawing you like on its foam. You will love how they recreate your photos or cute characters, and it is really worth your time and perfect for your feed. 

    If you are a big fan of Studio Ghibli, you should not miss the Shirohige Cream Puff Factory in Shimokitazawa. You will love the friendly service and its lush green garden design that may make you feel like home. The cream puffs served there are shaped like Ghibli’s beloved character, Totoro. Be careful that they quickly sell out, so you should be there early and order the cream puffs ahead. 

    If you are interested, you can also check out these Worthy cafes for Instagram

    How to find animal cafes in Tokyo?

    If you are an animal lover and want to taste some coffee/ tea while playing with them, you can check out several animal cafes in Tokyo. 

    There are plenty of cat cafes in Tokyo, and you can simply find one by googling ‘cat cafe near me’. I recommend you the Cat Cafe Mocha, which has many spots over Tokyo. They have improved the healthcare for their cats since 2018, and you will be impressed with clean and loved cats there. You can pay about 2000yen and spend the whole day here to do your work or study with adorable cats around. Or you might want to have more options by visiting these 5 best cat cafes in Tokyo.  

    For dog lovers, you should drop a visit at the Mame-Shiba cafe in Harajuku’s iconic Takeshita-Dori street. Mame Shiba dogs here are a smaller version of Japan’s famous Shiba dogs. The cafe is a little bit small with a tatami flooring design, low dining tables surrounded by tiny furry friends. A bill of 880 yen for adults and 680 yen for primary school students or younger covers a drink and 30-minute time slot. This cafe is very famous with long queues most of the time so you should plan up to get there early. You can see more recommendations for dog cafes from here.   

    Apart from cats and dogs, Tokyo also has other unique additions to its series of animal cafes that you might want to have a check such as Mipig Café with lovely miniature piggies, ChikuChiku cafe where you can take cute pictures with hedgehogs, Kotori Café in Ueno with perky birds or you can hang out with a snake while drinking coffee at Tokyo Snake Center

    Cafes in Tokyo_special experience

    How can I gain cultural experience with Cafes in Tokyo? 

    Maid cafes in Tokyo - a pop culture icon of Japan

    You may have heard about an iconic feature of Japan’s pop culture - ‘maids’. If you are a manga or anime fan, you will find it very familiar. When you wander around Akihabara, Tokyo, you may be surprised with its animation-related establishments, including Maid cafes. Waitresses there dress up and act like maids you saw in anime, and it is usual to see them everywhere on the streets. Most of the customers of these cafes are Otaku (Otaku is the Japanese term for people who have an intense interest in anything, particularly anime or mangas) or fans of the maid. Even if you are not, it is still worth experiencing as a foreigner. Mostly, at maid cafes, the food and drink are exceptional, and they usually offer a table charge of about 500 yen to 600 yen within a limit of time and even higher. There might be an extra cost if you want to stay longer. 

    When going to a maid cafe, they will have a rule board for you to read, and you should be careful with its rules to avoid any trouble. You are not allowed to touch the maids or take photos of them. If you want to have a picture with them or even the cafe interior, you have to ask for their permission and need to pay for it. 

    There are many different styles and themes of maid cafes in Tokyo, and you can find one based on your interest. You should visit @home cafe or Pinafore if you like cutesy and perky maid style. If you love classic themes where the maids are like Victorian-era maids, there are Cure Maid Cafe and Wonder Parlour Cafe for you. Or, you can take a look at Honey Honey or Jam Akihabara if you want a more reasonable price.

    You might find more helpful information from this guide to maid cafes in Tokyo.

    Some unique cafes for an only-in-Japan experience

    Unlike Starbucks or Tully’s that can serve you at every corner of Tokyo, there are several unique cafes that you should try to blend in with Japanese culture. 

    Do you know about Kotatsu, the Japanese home heater, which consists of a low table placed over a heater and covered with a futon? During cold months, you can do your work and study while warming your lower body with this table. As foreigners, usually we can not afford one, but you can always try it at the Cafe Stay Happy in Shimokitazawa. It is a very cozy place with a homely atmosphere where you can relax by gathering around the heated table holding excellent beverages. Items served here are from organic products, and there are many vegan options as well.  

    There are two common ways of transport in Tokyo: to use public transportation and… to walk. I was so surprised when I first arrived in Tokyo by how fast the Japanese can walk. It seems like they are always in a hurry. And as a Tokyo resident, your feet will be familiar with a lot of instant kilometres. After thoroughly visiting the Ueno area, why not get into Momi no Yu and try the Japanese’s favourite ways to relax their tired feet, which is foot bath or ashi yu in Japanese. You will have a 45-50 minutes foot bath while tasting a delicious cup of herb tea and also a five-minute back massage at the cost of 1080 yen. With such a course and pure experience, it is a reasonable price to try! 

    You can find more interesting, unique cafes in Tokyo by visiting this page.

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    Cafes in Tokyo for anime and manga lovers 

    Cafes in Tokyo for Anime fans

    If you are an anime fan, you can not skip the marvellous Pokemon cafe which provides everything about Pokemon, from a full menu of super cute Pokemon-themed food and drinks to Pokemon-related items. Also, you may have a chance to meet and take some pictures of chef Pikachu who sometimes appears for a show. Although the price here is a little bit high, starting from 990 yen, it is still worth trying. 

    Another recommendation for you is the One Piece themed Cafe Mugiwara. You can select both sweet and savoury food while enjoying the decoration and merchandise from the anime here. It brings to your eyes the whole fantastic world you love with prices ranging from 900 yen to 1300 yen. 

    Japanese people always surprise the world with what they can do from the imaginary to the real world. You can check out this list to know more options for your beloved anime cafes.

    Cafes in Tokyo for Manga lovers

    For Manga lovers, Tokyo serves you well with many 24-hour internet Manga cafes around the city. You can spend your whole day in this comfortable environment to engage in Manga, video games, TV, enjoy their great food and drink and even stay overnight here because most of them provide accommodation for customers. It sounds like a hotel, doesn't it?  

    One of Tokyo's most popular Manga Cafes is the Book and Bed Tokyo located in many spots like Shinjuku, Roppongi or Shinagawa. It is a great place for any traveller, manga fan or bookworm that displays thousands of books, magazines and mangas. There is a lot of detailed information to understand how to use the book area in English and staff here are very friendly and also can speak English well. The price is about 600 yen per hour, and you can stay overnight here with 5500 yen per night. There are different room types, and it is so thrilling to spend time there with your friends or your lovers. Prices also vary depending on your check-in time and are relatively higher in holidays. Be careful that no cash is accepted here. You only can pay with your credit cards or IC cards.    

    Another option for you is the Customa Cafe, which you can find in Akasaka, Ueno, Yoyogi and more. These cafes also offer all-you-need services to enjoy unlimited games, comics and movies. A perk of this cafe is its cleanliness, together with the unlimited non-alcoholic self-serve drink space. So you do not have to worry about security. Prices range from 200 yen to 500 yen per hour for each person, depending on which types of space you want. After 6 pm, If you're going to stay overnight, there are several packages to choose from with only 1300 yen for the next 6 hours to 2200 yen for another 12 hours. With such excellent services and a comfortable environment, those are great deals for you. 

    If you want to know more about Manga cafes options, you can take a look at this guide

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    Cafes in Tokyo_horror spots

    What cafes in Tokyo are there for horror fans?

    If you are a horror fan, you might want to experience the eerie atmosphere at the Vampire Cafe in Ginza, Tokyo. As its name, this cafe has every of its details decorated in a vampire theme. The food and drink are bloodsucker-themed and served by a vampire dressed up staff. Everything looks creepy, but the food is really delicious and worth trying. It is a foreigner-friendly place where you do not need Japanese to enjoy the death pasta or a drink with a bleeding finger in it. The food menu starts from 880 yen, and 980 yen is the cheapest option in its drink menu. You can take a look at its English menu and make a reservation right now for an unforgettable experience.

    For a more wallet-friendly choice horror cafe, you can take a look at Akabane Reien or Akabane Cemetery in English. Although space here is a little bit small, you still can be thrilled with the blood-curdling atmosphere of skulls, mannequin heads, creepy woman painting, etc. It offers a two-hour-all-you-can-drink course with 2500 yen for men and 2000 yen for women. You can drink as much as you like while enjoying the karaoke. In the meantime, the staff will do their best to petrify you with unthinkable contraptions hidden anywhere in the bar. It is sure to be an incredible experience for any horror lover.

    Cafes in Tokyo_cafes areas

    Cafes in Tokyo: How to discover the best cafes near you?

    Cafes in Tokyo: The best areas around Tokyo for cafe-hunters

    So, after visiting all the most popular cafe spots in Tokyo, it is time to discover by yourself while wandering every lovely corner of Tokyo. Let me introduce to you some must-explore areas of this extraordinary city.

    Shimokitazawa area 

    If you want to blend in with Tokyo’s subcultures, you should not skip this unique area. Shimokitazawa is very popular among the young generation because, unlike Harajuku or Shibuya, it has a nostalgic feel at the same time. Shimokitazawa area is a bohemian corner of Tokyo filled with vintage clothing shops, live houses, artist studios, local art shops and of course cafes. You should not miss the Bear Pond Espresso, where you can have its signature latte for only 550 yen. This is one of the most unique cafes in Shimokitazawa, which provides you with the most hard-core and best coffee. All baristas are well-trained to keep their coffee exceptional and outstanding. 

    It is great to go along the street, feel the atmosphere and head into any cafe that looks appealing to you. Or, you can take this list of best cafes in Shimokitazawa as a reference. 

    Sendagi - Nippori area

    Another choice to help you stay away from the dense Tokyo cityscape is the Sendagi - Nippori area. This area has many shrines, old-schools, local shopping streets with the nostalgic appeal that is well-fitted to have a cup of tea/ coffee in any of its several cafes. You might want a peaceful weekend walking around the road leading from Sendagi to the Nippori area and stop at a random local cafe shop to give it a try.

    Or, you can get into the renowned CIBI cafe for tasty food and drink at a reasonable price from 380 yen to 1100 yen. This is a cozy conceptual store and cafe with a combination of 3 things in life: food, clothing and shelter. It offers a marvellous breakfast and lunch, so you should be careful that it is usually very crowded at that time. 

    Nakameguro area 

    During Spring, Nakameguro transforms into a breathtaking and picturesque area where people come to enjoy the fantastic blossoming cherry trees and red leaves in Autumn. You will not want to miss this elegant neighbourhood and its charming cafes. Most people come there for the upscale architecture and great beverage of Starbuck Reserve Roastery. But you can walk along the Meguro River, enjoy the signature scenes of Spring or Autumn while immersing yourself in the natural atmosphere of the area and discover numerous local cafe shops. 

    Your local area

    Above all, why miss the local area where you reside. It is worth exploring and if there are any that you love, there will always be a spot for you to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee whenever you want. If it is a lovely sunny day, nothing can stop you from travelling around Tokyo for a good coffee. But if it is a rainy, cold day and you may hesitate to get on-off the train, a local coffee shop will be the best. 

    You can easily find one by googling ‘cafes near me’ or use the Japanese word 喫茶店 (きっさてん / kissaten). Try it now and explore your local places.  

    Cafes in Tokyo_speacialty cafes

    Cafes in Tokyo: Where to get specialty coffee and beans for coffeeholics?  

    Coffee is a beloved beverage, thanks to its energizing effects. If you are a coffeeholic or very serious about coffee taste, you might find it hard to catch up with Japan’s flood of chain cafe shops and instant cans or not many cafe shops can offer you precisely the taste you want. 

    If you are looking for a bold brew in Tokyo, do not miss the ABC Coffee in Jiyugaoka. It is a typical modern Japanese coffee shop with reasonable prices and excellent coffee beans provided by various rosters all around Japan. This cafe also has free wifi and seatings indoors and outdoors for you to stay for a while. 

    Or, if you love making coffee by yourself, you can also buy a coffee beans package priced around 1100 yen at ABC Coffee to try at home. Otherwise, you can find more beans at more than twenty locations of Yanaka Coffee in Tokyo.

    You can find out more to explore in this Best specialty coffee in Tokyo.

    Conclusion

    With that amazing list of different coffee shop types, Tokyo really serves you well, doesn’t it? After thoroughly reading this article, I hope you have gained a broad image of Cafes in Tokyo and noted down some great choices for your preference. Now, it is time to relax and enjoy your coffee.

    Although English is becoming common, it is still challenging to find good English services in Tokyo. To make the most of your life in Tokyo, let us help you out with your Japanese learning journey by visiting our BFF Tokyo’s thorough guide on learning Japanese.

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