Yamaguchi Cafes: Zakka & COTOCOTO Cafe


On one of the main streets of Hagi’s historic Shitamachi, there will be a shop with a cafe menu. The building has its traditional shingles, wooden frame, and sliding door, just like all the other houses along the street. In some respects, this initial uniformity is a charm; it challenges a viewer to look for the details that differentiate one shop from the next.

This, too, is a shop on the outside. By the windows facing the street, there are clothes and other designer items on display.


However, if you wish to enter, you will have to do what people have done for centuries: take off their shoes at the gengkan, the doorway where the shoes are left. Help yourself to a set of slippers in a basket.

The cafe area is hidden just behind, in a separate, but visible room. This room faces the private inner garden. When you enter and slide the doors shut behind you, even the light footsteps on the street outside fall away.


The cafe has hand-drip coffee and daily cakes on offer. The menu is in Japanese, but the lady who runs it will be able to tell you the English name.

Treat this cafe as a traditional kissaten. In other words, enjoy the regular cup of coffee and cake together as an afternoon break. Soak in the spacious layout, the carefully selected wooden furniture, the audio system in the corner, and the books on the shelf. It’s not a third-wave espresso shop.


Good for:

  • Coffee: Pour-Over only.
  • Food: Cakes, light refreshments
  • Space: Seats about 20 comfortably, and is laid out to be spacious. Has coffee table books and food magazines.
  • Friends: Hanging out
  • Work: Longer work table, coffee tables. Maybe WiFi (public free Japan WiFi reception is spotty)
Address: 2-32 Gofukumachi, Hagi-Shi, Yamaguchi
Closed: 2nd & 4th Tuesday every month
10:00-17:00 (May change for holidays)
定休日: 第2第4火曜日


If you liked this post, check out my list of East Tokyo Cafes.

Athena Lam

A content marketing strategist and consultant. Passionate about storytelling for great teams and products. Co-founder of Business 3.0 (https://b3p0.org), LGBTQGlassdoor.com. Personal blog at https://thecupandtheroad.com.

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