Winter calls for hearty meals, fragrant toast and hot coffee. Luckily, Japan’s multitude of kissaten (old-school coffee houses) provides all three in quiet, at-home and sometimes quirky environments. Perfectly shaped egg sandwiches, curry plates and fluffy, buttery cakes paired with freshly poured coffee are the essentials of any Japanese-style coffee shop. Stepping inside a kissaten in an impatient and restless city like Tokyo opens up a door into what seems almost like a different realm. It’s a true means of self care. 

Here’s a list of seven kissaten to visit in Tokyo during the chilly months.

1. Kabaya Coffee (Yanaka) 

Established in 1938, Kabaya Coffee has a traditional but polished ambiance, complete with a cozy tatami area. The shop offers classic kissaten recipes, such as steaming hot Japanese curry and creamy egg sandwiches, as well as pretty cakes, lattes and craft beer. 

6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0001
Tue–Fri 8am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–7pm
facebook.com/kayabacoffee

2. Coffee Rin (Ginza)

At Coffee Rin’s flagship store in Ginza, baristas hand drip and serve the cafe’s signature blend coffee in one-of-a-kind, antique cups that are carefully chosen for each customer. Add a menu that offers seasonal cakes and desserts and you definitely have a gloomy December afternoon sorted.

4-4-5 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061
Mon – Sat 11am – 11.30pm
coffee-rin.com

 

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3. Nakamura Coffee Shop (Koenji)

Nakamura Coffee Shop is the archetypal Japanese kissa. Owned and managed by an older Japanese couple, it’s tucked away on a backstreet 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 wholesome toasts and coffee.

3-31-21 Koenjikita, Suginami City, Tokyo 166-0002
Wed–Mon 11am–9pm
tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1319/A131904/13086950/


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4. Tajimaya Coffee House (Shinjuku)

Despite having multiple stores scattered around Tokyo, Tajimaya Coffee’s journey started in the 60s in Shinjuku, where the main branch still stands. This 50-year-old coffee shop’s top priority is sourcing quality beans from around the world and roasting them to perfection. Match your favorite coffee with a slice of cake or a flavorful azuki bean jam on toast with whipped cream.

1-2-6 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023
Mon–Sun 10am–11pm
tajimaya-coffeeten.com

 

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5. Kissaten Renga (Tsukiji)

Kissaten Renga is a local gem in Tsukiji. Here, you can enjoy the authentic taste of kissaten staples such as tamago sando (egg sandwich) and napolitan pasta (the Japanese revisitation of tomato sauce pasta). Visit Kissaten Renga at lunchtime to get a local taste. Grab a free seat between salarymen on their lunch breaks and have a chat with the friendly owner.

2−15−15 1F, Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo, 104-0045
Mon–Sat 11am–4pm
tabelog.com/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13089000

 

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6. Cafè Trois Chambres (Shimokitazawa)

Located in the hip Shimokita neighborhood, Cafè Trois Chambres transports you to a different time with relaxing jazz music, deep wood tones and a clientele of mostly quiet readers. Check out its distinctive, antique atmosphere and stay for the speciality sandwiches and cheesecake set. 

5-36-14 Daizawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0032
Mon–Sun 9.30am–10pm
tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1318/A131802/13013091/

 

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7. Hekkelun (Shimbashi)

Hekkelun is a small and cozy cafe between Toranomon and Shimbashi that’s 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 City, Tokyo 105-0003
Mon–Fri 8am–7pm / Sat 8am-5pm
retty.me/area/PRE13/ARE2/SUB1601/100000091219/