The buzz going around about Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is real. The up-and-coming, hip neighborhood in Tokyo’s east end has a blossoming café scene. With the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and the scenic Sumida River nearby, the area has become the ideal reprieve—a place for serenity in the metropolis.
Hikidashi Cafe is that calm refuge from other overcrowded cafés. Its unassuming location to the north of Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station—the quieter side—is nestled in the backstreets.
The modest black facade may be easy to miss from afar, but, when approaching, the rich wooden textures and dimly lit interior are inviting. Here the world becomes a restful place. Fall into one of the leather arm chairs or sofas that fit almost perfectly to the body, thanks to being worn in over time. Or choose one of the eclectic tables and clusters of wooden chairs, sturdy though still comforting.
Once settled, warm up with a cup of coffee (¥450), a caffè latte (¥550), or hot ginger tea (¥600). Drinks are also available iced for those cooling-down moments. Apart from the drinks, you can also satisfy your sweet tooth with freshly baked goods. Highly recommended is the baked apple pie with vanilla ice cream (¥650; ¥390 without the ice cream). Or, if you are after a savory treat, go for the meat pie (¥360). All dishes are made in-house on the second floor by the loving and trained hands of the staff.
Here you can get lost in a book without any disturbances or distractions, or enjoy the small embellishments and tasteful decor throughout. Towards the back of the café, a wall of cupboards holds various wares for sale—this is historically an artisan town after all. The soothing and eclectic music that’s played in the cafe (at a comforting volume of course) is also available for purchase.
When you have satisfied your café fix, wander over to one of the many bridges overlooking the nearby Sumida River to watch the boats. Perfect for a sunset stroll. If you are after more art and culture, the neighborhood offers the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Kiyosumi Teien; the Basho Museum; Fukagawa Edo Museum; or Kiyosumi Garden—all within walking distance. Or better yet, saunter your way back to Hikidashi Cafe for another hot ginger tea.
Koto City is an up-and-coming ward, touched with the traditional culture of Shitamachi (historic downtown), but experiencing rapid growth and renewal as it bears most of the construction for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Accessing Koto City requires crossing the Sumida River, ideally over one of the dozen bridges, each offering scenic views of the city skyline, greenery, and boats gliding up and down the river and its connecting channels. Take the time to explore the neighborhoods of Koto City and you will not be disappointed.
3-8-5 Shirakawa, Edo-ku. Tel: 03-6458-8680. Nearest station: Kiyosumi-shirakawa.