Attention all hipsters, bookworms, and those who enjoy a stylish atmosphere, the Shinagawa area has a new café that just opened in August 2015. Located amidst the retro atmosphere of the old Tokaido Road, just 5 minutes walk from Kita-Shinagawa station, the stylish space boasts a collection of over 40,000 books to choose from.
The store’s name is ‘Kaido’, inspired by the historical ‘Tokaido’, the road that connected Tokyo to Kyoto and was used in the past by people as a thoroughfare between these two big cities. As a result, there were many exchanges of cultures and stories along the road. The café wanted to create a similar setting where diverse groups of people could come together and exchange their cultures.
Many books were carefully selected and collected from all over Japan by Mr. Yoshimi Tanaka, one of the café founders who has a passion for books. The books here range from history, art, and culture to children's storybooks, carefully sorted into categories on the first and second floors of the café. There are many seats in every corner, allowing visitors to sit back, read, and venture through the (book)world in peace and silence.
My first impression of the café is overwhelmingly the of books. It’s hard not to be impressed by such a sizable collection. The second to notice is the cafe design, which blends cosy and hip very effectively. The café walls are painted into pictures with bright colors that contrast well with the wooden furniture and shelves. Well-designed lighting helps every component of the café stand out. Strolling by on the street, the café will catch people's eyes and encourage them to stop and have a good look. Even if you cannot read Japanese, just dropping in for a cup of coffee. Specially-selected quality coffee beans combine with skilled baristas, meaning you will not be disappointed by the deeply satisfying taste.
Just stopping by to take some pictures is worth a trip already. I guarantee the interior of this café will help your pictures look like they came from the trendy Kinfolk magazine.
The café owner is very friendly and welcoming. He told me that one of the school chairs in the café is the chair he had used when he was a student! I tried out the chair and it was quite comfortable. Hmmm.. he might have fallen asleep often when he was a student!
In addition to all the books, there are also beautiful handicrafts decorating the bookshelves, allowing us to enjoy the arts while strolling through the café. Another highlight is that the café often hosts art events. When I was there, there was an exhibition about Spain, as well as some products from Spain on sale. For details visit the café website or their Facebook page.
Note: The café is closed every Tuesday.