As one of the most popular destinations in every Tokyo guidebook, Asakusa is home to a good number of shrines, temples, and a historic shopping district that make you feel like you’ve somehow slipped back in time (the Edo period to be exact).
Beyond the sights and sounds of this bustling neighborhood, theres also a plethora of cafes to be explored. Whether you’re looking to get an early-ish start to the day or just looking for a place to rest your weary feet from all the walking, there are multiple neighborhood cafes in this area to keep you full (and caffeinated) till your next visit.
In this Asakusa Cafe Hopping guide, well be covering a few cafes to help you get your bearings around this historic district that’ll hopefully help you get a better understanding of just what makes this district of Tokyo so special.
Located right below a capsule hotel, Fuglen Asakusa is a cocktail and espresso bar open seven days a week. From as early as 9:00 am you can order an assortment of pastries like cinnamon rolls or croissants and a wide variety of Norwegian waffles. Pair it with their selection of coffee starting at ¥390 or tea and you’re all set to start your day. One of the most striking features of the cafe aside from the coffee selection would definitely be the interior. The ambience is cozy with a lot of wood furnishings that give off a retro feel. There’s also ample seating as the cafe is on two floors. Later on in the afternoon, you can wait for the bar to open up and enjoy a nightcap while seated outside.
If you’re having a late start to your day and you’re on the hunt for some brunch, Cafe Michikusa is a homey hole-in-the-wall cafe found a few minutes walk beyond Senso-ji Temple. Open from 11:00 am, Cafe Michikusa has a reasonably priced lunch plan that includes either Japanese style omurice or a daily special and a drink all for about ¥1,000. An added bonus is that if you happen to have a sweet tooth they also have a dedicated pancake menu from ¥750 and a cake and tea set menu from ¥800. Have your cake and eat it too!
After strolling around the main streets of Asakusa, you may want to top off your caffeine fix. Just a few steps beside the oldest theme park in Tokyo Hanayashiki, Sukemasa Coffee is a popular neighborhood cafe tucked away in the sidestreets of Asakusa and by popular we mean be prepared to wait in line (especially on the weekends). While seating may be a bit limited, when the weather is nice out the cafe offers seats just outside for a more al fresco experience (perfect for people watching). Sukemasa Coffee offers seasonal Japanese fruit sandwiches from ¥1,000 and coffee priced at ¥600. Did we mention that the baristas also don yukata?
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Up to You Coffee
Situated in the outskirts of Asakusa (specifically a few streets away from Kappabashi Street) Up to You Coffee is the definition of a small neighborhood coffee shop. What makes it special is that the owner is a multi-award winning barista having won the UCC Coffee Masters 2016 Latte Art competition. With that in mind, expect award-winning latte art from ¥650 coupled with equally cute pastries like cupcakes and jelly pudding. While seating is limited, don’t let that discourage you from checking out this cafe and ordering a latte or two.
Up to You Coffee
If you go on a brisk 10 to 15-minute walk south of Asakusa station, you’ll eventually find yourself in what locals call the “Brooklyn of Tokyo”. While that moniker might seem debatable to some, this neighborhood of Tokyo is home to a good concentration of cafes each with its own unique concept and specialty.
Kissa Hangetsu pays homage to traditional Japanese cafes with western influence or kissaten with a modern twist. It might seem like a strange concept at first but you’ll understand why this cafe is popular among the locals. Built inside an unassuming building on a busy street, Kissa Hangetsu is a stylish, spacious two-floor cafe that has a long counter bar running along one side.
Behind the counter, you’ll see tons of coffee cups and a coffee machine raring to go. While others might come to enjoy the vibe inside Kissa Hangetsu, arguably the star of the show is the coffee (¥500) and tea served in beautifully designed ceramic cups. It’s a good place to have a leisurely coffee with a larger group of friends as compared to the previous cafes mentioned in this article.
Note that the cafe will only allow a maximum of a group of four people.
All in all, while this guide barely covered a fraction of the number of cafes in Asakusa and Kuramae, we hope that it serves as a reference for where to eat and drink during your visit. Remember to bring a good pair of walking shoes and an empty stomach as there’s still so much to explore around Asakusa and its neighboring areas.