Lee Tan

Kiyosumi Shirakawa's Coffee Boom

Cafe hopping in Tokyo's coffee town

Lee Tan
Lee Tan   - 4 min read

Kiyosumi Shirakawa, a quiet neighbourhood better known for Kiyosumi Garden, is experiencing a caffeine kick with the opening of independent coffee shops in the area. Here are three cafes in the neighbourhood.

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle
Blue Bottle

The third Blue Bottle in Tokyo (the others are in Aoyama and Shinjuku), this branch functions as a coffee bar and a roaster, complete with training rooms and a warehouse. Housed in a trendy white building with big windows and high ceilings, it feels like a cross between an industrial warehouse and a designer boutique. When Blue Bottle first opened in Tokyo, queues went around the block and coffee enthusiasts could be seen clutching a coffee cup with their signature logo. While that chaos has quieted down, the crowds still throng here for its freshly roasted coffee. Espresso drinks are available, while single origin and blends are offered as drip coffee. For a bite to eat, peruse their small selection of pastries, croissants and sandwiches.

1-4-8 Hirano, Koto-ku, Tokyo. Open daily 8am-7pm

Arise Coffee Roasters

Arise's amicable owner and roaster, Taiju Hayashi
Arise's amicable owner and roaster, Taiju Hayashi

Arise is where the baristas go to have their cuppa when off-duty but this tiny shop still manages to retain a neighbourhood feel to it. It is a nice, unpretentious place to catch up on neighbourhood goings-on while enjoying a good cup of joe. Thanks to owner Taiju Hayashi, a friendly and experienced roaster. He was been roasting for 16 years, some of that time with the Cream of the Crop coffee, before opening his own shop. Little surprise then that the coffee is good. The house specialty is the Alfredo Diaz Princesa from the Dominican Republic, a nice and fruity brew, but there are many other beans to try.

1-13-8, Hirano, Koto-ku, Tokyo. Open daily: 9.30am-6pm

Fukadaso Cafe

Fukadaso Cafe's cosy interior
Fukadaso Cafe's cosy interior

Fukadaso is housed in a renovated warehouse, and behind the slightly dilapidated facade you will find a charming cafe inside, decorated with smart vintage and upcycled furniture. The place is further enlivened with art on the walls. If you're feeling hungry and wanting lunch with your coffee, this is a good place to settle down for awhile. You can tuck into their cakes or opt for a lunch special. The fluffy pancakes, drizzled with yummy maple syrup, is recommended. The cafe has very limited opening hours so be sure to time your visit properly.

Hirano 1-chome 9-7, Koto-ku, Tokyo. Open: Mon, Thurs, Sat & Sun: 1pm-6pm. Fri: 1pm-9.30pm. Closed Tues & Wed

Lee Tan

Lee Tan @lee.tan

Writer, photographer and traveller.