Studio Ghibli fans should definitely consider a visit to this cosy cafe, nestled in one of Tokyo’s more residential neighbourhoods. From Shinjuku Station, hop on the Odakyu Odawara Local line and get off at Setagaya-Daita station, from which the cafe is a 2-minute walk. Staff are welcoming and there’s no charge for entering. The famous Totoro cream puffs are worth the hype, filled with a delicious custard cream in a variety of flavours including chocolate, matcha and vanilla. Their selection of lattes, teas and soft drinks are also well priced and delicious. An affordable cafe experience in a lesser-explored area of Tokyo.
For those wanting to immerse themselves in Harajuku’s signature kawaii aesthetic (a mixture of cute and scary), this is the place to come. The brainchild of multi-disciplinary artist Sebastian Masuda, it’s a brightly coloured wonderland, with features including a ceiling of giant illuminated baby bottles and a full-size carousel shaped like a birthday cake. It’s a great alternative to the city’s famous Robot Restaurant, which will set you back a lot more. We recommend booking the drink only plan and choosing a time slot that overlaps with one of the performances put on by staff members. This will entitle you to three hours in the cafe and includes entry, a drink and a show for 2200yen per person (£15.50/$20.00).
Unfortunately, many of Tokyo’s pet cafes are dingy spaces where the welfare of the resident animals is questionable. Not so with Cafe Mocha – a large, bright and comfortable room, where the 20 or so cats are obviously happy and well cared for. It isn’t cheap, but if you don’t stay for too long, a trip here can be factored into a relatively small daily budget. 20 minutes here will cost you 550yen (£3.90) plus tax and this includes a free tea, coffee or soft drink from a vending machine inside.
This brand new cafe located near Tokyo station is a must for Pokemon fans. Booking online is essential and it’s worth doing ahead of time. Dishes are intricately themed (and extremely Instagrammable) and there’s something to suit everyone, with popular options including Pikachu curry, Eevee burger and Jigglypuff parfait. Mains are priced at around 1500yen (£10.00/$13.00), which is pretty reasonable for a themed cafe and the menu changes to reflect seasons and festivals.
This casual restaurant located outside Shinjuku station is elementary school themed and allows visitors to sample food inspired by Japanese school dinners. Prices are reasonable and the attention to detail is great – you’ll eat at a desk, the menu is displayed on a blackboard and alcoholic drinks are served in test tubes. If you’re looking for a quirky and uniquely Japanese dining experience, this could be just the place.
If themes and gimmicks aren’t your thing, here are a few of our favourite spots for coffee connoisseurs.
A great choice for coffee and music lovers, this sophisticated and cleanly designed cafe boasts a killer vinyl collection as well as delicious coffee.
Conveniently located in Shibuya’s quieter Ebisu area, this aesthetically pleasing cafe also sells a small selection of accessories and ceramics made by local craftspeople.
This unassuming joint is located off the beaten track in Jinbocho, an area full of great vintage and secondhand shops. Stop off after a day exploring for a great cup of coffee and a delicious pastry.
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