7 Kissaten to visit in Tokyo this winter

Winter calls for copious meals, aromatic toasts and hot coffee. Fortunately, Japan’s kissaten (old-school coffeehouse) crowd offers all three in quiet, homey, and sometimes quirky settings. Perfectly shaped egg sandwiches, hearty curry dishes, and fluffy, buttery pastries paired with freshly poured coffee are the essentials of any Japanese-style cafe. Stepping into a kissaten in an impatient and restless city like Tokyo opens a door to what feels like almost a different realm. It is a true means of self-care.

Here is a list of seven kissaten to visit in Tokyo during the cold months.

1. Kabaya Cafe (Yanaka)

Established in 1938, Kabaya Coffee has a traditional yet polished atmosphere, complete with a cozy tatami area. The shop offers classic kissaten recipes such as steamy Japanese curries and creamy egg sandwiches, as well as beautiful pastries, lattes, and craft beer.

6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku
Tue–Fri 8am–6pm
Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 7 pm
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2. Coffee Shop (Ginza)

At the Coffee Rin flagship store in Ginza, baristas hand-drip and serve the cafe’s signature coffee blend into one-of-a-kind vintage cups that are handpicked for each customer. Add a menu featuring seasonal pastries and desserts and you definitely have a gloomy December afternoon fixed.

4-4-5 Ginza, Chuoku
Mon – Sat 11am – 11.30pm
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3. Nakamura Coffee Shop (Koenji)

Nakamura Coffee Shop is the archetypal Japanese kissa. Owned and run by an older Japanese couple, it’s tucked away on a back street in Koenji. In a district known for its alternative coffee culture, this shop is a noteworthy establishment with its low-key atmosphere and simple but healthy toast and coffee.

3-31-21 Koenjikita, Suginami-ku
Wednesday to Monday 11 am to 9 pm
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4. Tajimaya Coffee Shop (Shinjuku)

Despite having several stores spread across Tokyo, Tajimaya Coffee’s journey began in the 1960s in Shinjuku, where the main branch is still located. Sourcing quality beans from around the world and roasting them to perfection is the top priority of this 50-year-old coffee shop. Pair your favorite coffee with a slice of cake or tasty azuki bean jam on toast with whipped cream.

1-2-6 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Mon–Sun 10am–11pm
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5. Kissaten Renga (Tsukiji)
Kissaten Renga is a local gem in Tsukiji. Here you can get a real taste of kissaten staples like the tamago sando (egg sandwich) and pasta napolitana (Japanese version of pasta with tomato sauce). Visit Kissaten Renga at lunchtime for a local flavor. Grab a free seat among the wage earners on their lunch breaks and have a chat with the friendly owner.

2−15−15 1F, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
Mon–Sat 11am–4pm
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6. Cafe Trois Chambres (Shimokitazawa)

Located in the trendy Shimokita neighborhood, Cafè Trois Chambres transports you to a different time with soothing jazz music, deep wood tones, and a clientele of mostly laid-back readers. Check out its distinctive, old-fashioned atmosphere and stick with the special sandwiches and cheesecake game.

5-36-14 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku
Mon–Sun 9.30am–10pm
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7. Hekkelun (Shimbashi)

Hekkelun is a cozy little cafe between Toranomon and Shimbashi that is known for its purin (Japanese custard pudding) topped with caramel sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, Hekkelun’s jumbo purin paired with a hot cup of coffee is not to be missed.

1-20-11 Nishishinbashi, Minato-ku
Mon–Fri 8am–7pm / Sat 8am-5pm
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