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Find your favourite kissaten at Kichijoji

Find your favourite kissaten at Kichijoji

Have you ever heard of Japanese kissaten (喫茶店)? It is a Japanese-style tea room with a traditional and unique space that is different from the typical cafes that we are familiar with, such as Starbucks or Dottori. Ever since I first moved to Japan, I started drinking coffee because of its delicious taste, and visiting these retro-style kissaten was comforting and made me feel relaxed in my busy but lonely life as a foreign university student at Rikkyo University. 

 

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(Image credit: ToomoreCC BY 2.0)

 

As you know, Tokyo (東京) is the capital of Japan and it is a place where many tourists visit every year. Rather than just introducing famous tourist attractions, I wanted to convey to fellow readers like you that sometimes travelling should also be to enjoy relaxing moments in the midst of busy travel itineraries. For this reason, I will be recommending three of my favourite kissaten in Kichijoji (吉祥寺) that best shows a different side of Tokyo that you might not experience before.

 

Fun fact: Kichijoji was voted by young Japanese people as the most desirable place to live in. To go to Tokyo’s most beloved Kichijoji, I recommend using JR Chūō Line (Rapid) (中央線快速 Chūō-sen kaisoku) from Shinjuku Station (新宿駅 Shinjuku-eki) that costs about ¥220 and takes only 17 minutes.

 

1. Kichijoji Tsuru’s Original Roast Beans

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(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

When someone asks me to introduce coffee, Kichijoji Tsuru’s Original Roast Beans (自家焙煎 珈琲散歩) is the first place that comes to my mind. It’s located in Nakamichi-dori (中道通り), one of the major streets of Kichijoji, where shophouses both old and new coexist. The aroma of roasting coffee is so strong that it’ll be easy to spot this kissaten if you pass through the alley. You can pick your favourite coffee beans and then they directly roast it with the taste you want. 

 

(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

In addition, they serve a variety of delicious biscuits and cakes besides coffee, and the menu changes seasonally so you can enjoy different kinds of desserts each time you visit. At first, I was worried that they didn’t have any English menu. However, I realised that there was no need to worry because the staff was kind enough to bring in the biscuits or cakes himself and explain to customers like myself.

 

Kichijoji Tsuru’s Original Roast Beans (自家焙煎 珈琲散歩)
Address: 4-6-1 Kichijoji-honcho, Mushashino, Tokyo, 180-0004
Access: 6-minute walk from Kichijoji Station
Opening hours: 11am–7pm (Last order: 6:30pm) (Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
Tel: +81-422-21-6722

 

2. La cour café

(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

The next kissaten that I would like to recommend is La cour café (ラ・クール・カフェ). After coming home from my first visit to this kissaten, I was too curious about the meaning of the cafe’s name. I learnt that “La cour” means “courtyard” or “garden” in French. As the name suggests, the cafe’s big windows allow natural sunlight to come in, and unlike other kissaten, it has a spacious and wide dining space.

 

(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

It’s easy to miss this kissaten as it is located on the second floor of the shophouse, so be careful—I missed it the first time round as well. However, once you go in, you’ll be taking pictures of cute and vintage accessories that decorate the space. The selling point of this kissaten is that you can enjoy lunch as well as coffee and alcohol. I strongly recommend this place for those who enjoy  staying in one place for a long time like me. You can enjoy most of the food and drinks here as they are sold at a reasonable price of within ¥1,000. For me, La cour café seemed very cosy for solo diners like myself.

 

La cour café (ラ・クール・カフェ)
Address: 2-11-9 2F Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0004
Access: 2-minute walk from Kichijoji Station
Opening hours: 11am–11:30pm
Tel: +81-422-23-1518

 

3. Musashino Coffee

(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

This kissaten called Musashino Coffee (武蔵野珈琲店) has been going on since 1982. It also appeared in the novel “HIBANA” (花火) written by the famous writer and comedian Matayoshi Naoki (又吉直樹). This space features dim lights and plays relaxing jazz music, which made me feel right at home. Also unlike usual cafes or even some kissaten, smoking is allowed indoors. 

 

(Image credit: Hyunjung)

 

Here, I chose the window seat and was able to see a nice old barista that directly made coffee for me. I recommend plain iced coffee. It tastes good, but the coffee in the wine glass was a unique experience that I’ve never felt before. Moreover, I don’t usually like cakes, but I recommend the Fruit Cream Cake which is crispy on the outside and really soft on the inside. 

 

Musashino Cafe (武蔵野珈琲店)
Address: 1-16-11 Kichijoji Minami, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0003
Access: 3-minute walk from station
Opening hours: 11am–11pm
Tel: +81-422-47-6741

 

To sum it up, kissaten has provided me with relaxation and comfort in my life in Japan, and everyone I’ve met there treated me warmly. This article only introduces three of them in Tokyo, but there are countless beautiful kissaten all around Japan. I hope you will check them out on your next trip and also enjoy exploring lesser-known cities in Tokyo like Kichijoji that I have recommended this time. 

 

Header image credit: Hyunjung

 

Writer’s profile: Hyunjung is a Korean studying in Japan since 2011. He loves playing sports and travelling abroad. He especially likes to explore hidden gems and unique  places in Japan. 

 

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