Over the past few years I've really cultivated a love for cafés. It really started the summer I lived in Berlin, since my apartment wasn't set up with WiFi and I had to venture around the city for places to work and eat. In the subsequent couple years I frequented some great places in Toronto and Ottawa (favourites include Café Pamenar, l'Espresso Bar Mercurio, Blue Bird Coffee, Planet Coffee...to name just a few), and was looking forward to doing the same in Tokyo.
At first there didn't seem to be a typical "café culture" like I'd expected - I had no trouble finding a Starbucks wherever I went, but there was little evidence of the indie cafés I'd been hoping for. Eventually though, with a little help from the trusty people at Phaidon's Wallpaper* City Guides and some Instagram stalking, I discovered a new favourite.
Omotesando Koffee is a tiny (and I do mean TINY) place in Harajuku/Omotesando, very well hidden off the main streets of the popular neighbourhood. It is on the main floor a traditional Japanese style building, and has a small outdoor garden with a couple benches - not the sit-down-and-work-for-a-while place I was looking for, but it has a charm that draws constant business. On sunny days, holidays and weekends the line can get pretty long, but on rainy days I've been able to walk right in, and even stand inside while I drink my delicious (and often much-needed) cup of coffee. The whole operation is run buy one guy (who just exudes Tokyo-coolness), so it is extra amazing to see how fast he can produce drinks.
A cup of coffee is definitely not cheap in Tokyo, and Omotesando Koffee is no exception. I just love this little place, though, so I will keep going back. They also have beans for sale, so I can have a cup of this caffeinated goodness at home.
Do any of you have favourite Tokyo cafés?