10 Cafes West of Shinjuku in Kichijoji

If you’ve watched the crowds while sipping your espresso in Shibuya, tried out the hip Shimokitazawa’s cafes, and are looking to enjoy another cup in a local friendly neighbourhood, just head 15 minutes out of Shinjuku. Kichijoji, consistently one of the most desirable neighbourhoods for Tokyoites, is home to the Studio Ghibli Museumfamous for cherry blossom viewing at Inokashira Park, houses the headquarters of anime production companies such as Beetrain (responsible for .hack//SIGN, Noir, Tsubasa Chronicle), and Coamix. Even Production I.G. (responsible for animes suchas Ghost in the Shell SAC, Guilty Crown, Blood+, etc.) is in Musashino City (of which Kichijoji is a part).

The area developed because the original Kichijo Temple in modern day Bunkyo burned down in the great fire of 1658. As such, the area around Musashino was taken to rebuild the temple, and the project was completed in 1664. Today, the town that sprung up around the temple is now called Kichijoji Honcho, where the main shopping arcade with a down-to-earth mix of restaurants, grocery stores, family stores, and other specialty shops are.

Below is a list of places you can visit, chosen as a sampling of the quality coffee and unique ambience throughout the various areas of Kichijoji. You can click on the map for more options.

 

THE LIST*

*Order of appearance is clustered in areas. Addresses are as they appear in English Google Maps.

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Ryumon Coffee Stand

Ryumon Coffee Stand is worth the slight detour in the opposite direction from Kichijoji’s popular shopping street. This side of the station has a slower, neighbourhood feel with a pub just across the street, and a local baker just down a few shops. Ryumon only serves espressos, black coffee, and lattes (along with cake!). It’s a great choice for a few hours of focused work, or quality catch up with friends in the 2/F lounge area. There are outlets available for laptops. On the weekends, come a bit earlier, as it is quite famous! Note, take-out and sit-down prices are different!

Good For: Espresso, Cakes,  Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends.

Address: 2 Chome-14-9 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino, Tokyo

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Musashino Coffee

Musashino Coffee may not look like much, but it has been around since 1982, and affirms its age with the Classical tracks they play. They still serve their original blend using a cloth strainer, and still have Vienna Coffee on their menu. Or, try their Irish coffee, just to watch how they brew it. It is on the 2/F of an old shopping building across the street from the Family Mart (Google Maps is correct).

Good For: Pour-over coffee, cakes, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends

Address: 〒180-0003 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Minamicho, 1 Chome−16−11, 荻上ビル 2F

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珈琲立吉

This is Kichijoji’s little community secret right behind the train station. It’s a small cafe, but if you’re lucky, you’ll encounter the locals that hang out to strum a tune or two on the guitar – and even the shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument).

Good For: Pour-over coffee, food, snacks, work (there are a few tables), reading, catching up with friends

Address: 〒180-0003 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijojiminmicho 1 Chome-15-5

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保久良珈琲店

This unassuming cafe facing a busy car road is the local favourite according to Tabelog, Japan’s Yelp. Behind the screens that sheild it from the busy traffic on the main road, you’ll find a low-key Western set up of tables (that kind of reminds me of bagel shops) in a spacious open room.

Good For: Espresso, Cakes, Cake, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 〒180-0005 Tokyo, Musashino, Gotenyama, 1 Chome−2−6, 1/F

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Kugutsusou くぐつ草

This coffee bar, open since 1979, was open by one of the Youkiza Puppet Theatre members (江戸糸あやつり人形劇団 結城座). It sits on the main shopping street of Kichijoji, a little underground haven under the hustle and bustle. It’s a nod to Japan’s classical coffee era with dim yellow lights and dark wooden interiors (just missing the trails of smoke feeding the billowing clouds around the lamps). Take a seat at the bar, and enjoy the slow, relaxed pace of an era gone by. It serves brewed coffee starting at 670 JPY,

Good For: Pour-over coffeee, Cakes, Cake, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching (discretely listening to other patrons at the bar)

Address: Japan, 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho, 1 Chome−7−7, Shimada Building B1F

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Blackwell Coffee

Blackwell Coffee is a roaster that has opened up a small shop area with a few tables. It’s a great location to people watch on the weekends. The staff are friendly fellows who’ll chat with you across the small shop if he’s not taking any orders.

Good For: Hand drip, Snacks, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 3 Chome-3-10 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0004, Japan

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Cafe Sanpo

You can literally smell their roasting operation from a block away. Cafe Sanpo sits across from Blackwell Coffee on the quieter streets with shops selling European antique figurines, rice, local designer fashion, and home items, and the odd grocery store. Unlike the main shopping street, these stores are a bit more spaced out, with more room to accommodate the weekend visitors. This is a great cafe to take a break and dig into a book for an hour or two before venturing back out. They serve a variety of single origin coffees (written in Japanese). They also do fresh roasting orders that take about 30 minutes.

Good For: Drip coffee, Snacks, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji honcho 4-6-1

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Light Up Coffee

Light Up Coffee is a little hole in the wall that won the Japan Aeropress Championship 2016! It’s near the end of the Nakamichi shopping street extending out of Kichijoji’s main shopping area. Their minimalist setup really encourages you to grab take out, grab a doughnut from the corner shop next door and walk across the street to the park just across. Of course, if you have time, try their tasting set which gives you 3 coffees for 680 JPY. The tables are very small and narrow, so only good for small netbooks! They have a basic English menu.

Good For: Pour-Over, Aeropress, Espresso, Cakes, Cake, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho 4Chome-13-15

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Blue Sky Coffee

Blue Sky Coffee feels like you’re sitting in someone’s living room or veranda right in Inokashira Park, where you can see cherry blossoms in spring. The quirky little’Secret Garden’-inspired cafe is closed on rainy days, so make sure you come when the weather’s good enough!

Good For: Espresso, Cakes, Cake, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 〒181-0001, Tokyo-To, Mitaka City, Inokashira 4Chome-1-1 (In the park, facing the lake)

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Honorary Mention: Cafe Zenon for Working

Even though Cafe Zenon is a more general modern lifestyle cafe, with coffee and food, it gets honourary mention for its spacious loft set-up, with ample seats, and sectioned off areas with glass walls. It’s a great place to work out of, whether you prefer a smaller quiet room, or to be in the main seating area.

Good For: Espresso, Lunch, Dinner, Desserts, Work, Reading, Catching Up with Friends, People Watching

Address: 2-11-3 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0003

If you found this post useful, please share with your coffee loving friends! 

Have a favourite cafe to add to the list? Please leave a comment. Thanks!

If you liked this post, you can check out the 12 cafes of Kiyosumishirakawa in East Tokyo.

7 responses to “10 Cafes West of Shinjuku in Kichijoji

  1. Pingback: Tokyo Cafes: Ryumon Coffee Stand | The Cup and the Road·

  2. Pingback: Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes | The Cup and the Road·

    • Hi Yuan! I agree. Ryumon is a bit pricy. I think my favourite espresso to this day is still Bear Pond, some 8 years after I first tried it. Blue Bottle comes a close second, but I need to ask the baristas to make the milk between 5-10 degrees hotter. As a tip, for my posts, just look for whether I emphasise the coffee or the ambience / atmosphere. 😉

      Of the areas I’ve been to for walking, I still think the best concentration of good cafes is in Kiyosumi. Blue Bottle and Allpress serve the best espresso there, in my opinion, and iki espresso just after them. The rest of them are more pour-over oriented. Shibuya has decent coffee, but for the crowds and hype, I don’t enjoy it as much.

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    • Which places are your favourites? Especially factoring in price, where do you think has great value? I find most of the better ones still hover between 400-600 JPY.

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  3. Pingback: Tokyo Cafes: MUTO Coffee Roastery | The Cup and the Road·

  4. Pingback: Tokyo Cafes: Light Up Coffee | The Cup and the Road·

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