Coffee just tastes better at an unfinished wood table in an art-plastered cafe, with its foam perfectly fashioned by a barista who is oh so hipster chic, doesn’t it? That’s why we’ve compiled a list of à la mode coffee spots in Tokyo with Instagram-worthy presentation, reasonable prices, and (for the most part) free WiFi.
Hearts Light Coffee
The coffee roaster, as well as the extensive vinyl collection, impedes on the meager sitting/standing space—correctly indicating that this little cafe cares more about taste and quality than it does commerce. They offer dark and light roasts and single-origin options for your espresso (you can also buy the beans).
The cafe is well away from the noise of central Shibuya, which makes for a nice, quiet stop frequented only by locals and fellow bean hunters.
|Access||Shinsen or Shibuya Station|
Alpha Beta Coffee Club
Tucked away in Jiyugaoka, this excellent cafe is the creation of innovative coffee bean subscription company ABC Coffee Club. The space is bright and airy with great outdoor terrace seating too. It scores full hipster points with the free WiFi and a San Fransisco–style bites menu to go with your single-origin roast.
Hiki Cafe isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s a nice, chilled cafe/restaurant right on the edge of all the neon, shopping and business of Shibuya. They have free WiFi, a wide range of drinks and a few terrace seats. Also, the “Deep Chocolate Latte” is a real treat.
Good single-origin coffee, some nice outdoor seating, free WiFi and a bustling vibe. Obviously run by massive hipsters because by default they serve their espresso in a champagne flute (but you can ask for a normal espresso cup when you order). And try some of the pastries.
An out-of-the-way cafe in the ultra-hip Omotesando neighborhood. Try the signature drink “Lattest”, cold milk with an espresso dripped on top, you have to drink it fast before it turns back in to a less sexy ice latte (recommended you drink at least the half quickly, you can enjoy the rest as a “normal” ice latte).
Great espresso, outdoor seating if you can snag a spot, and sometimes even some English service.
|Access||Harajuku Station/Meijijingumae Station|
An overachieving cafe with nice atmosphere, beans for purchase, tasty pastries, comfy couches, free WiFi, and (*channeling Professor Snape*) obviously good coffee. Also, cocktails.
Note: Fuglen is currently operating as a coffee stand only for take-away drinks.
A great cafe with nice outdoor terrace seating, on the side of a roastery and just a stone’s throw from Fuglen.
Mercedes Benz Connection – Downstairs Cafe
Award-winning baristas, impeccable presentation, large glass windows, high ceilings and tons of space. The only downside is the top 40 electro beats. That being said, it’s not so intrusive that you can’t get some work done, read a book or chat away with some friends. Also, they have lots of outlets.
|Hours||Temporary reduced business hours: 09:00–20:00 daily (normal business hours from 07:00–23;00 daily)|
Bear Pond Espresso
When it comes to coffee, the Bear Pond people are all business. The coffee’s incredible but you’ve gotta follow the house rules (like no pics) and you can only order espresso for a limited time each morning to afternoon—it’s either their way or the non-coffee-drinking highway. Hipsters can be harsh.
A sweet little coffee stand with nowhere to sit down and stay awhile—only pure caffeine indulgence at this cafe. Espressos will set you back only ¥300 a pop and it’s been certified “one of the best cafes I’ve been to in Tokyo” by our resident coffee fiend and hobo CEO Chris Kirkland.
Want to try someplace a little more traditional? Try these kissaten, or traditional Japanese coffee shops reminiscent of the Showa era.
This post was originally published on May 14, 2015 and was updated in August 2020.