Even in these days of limited attention spans and built in obsolescence, the speed at which Tokyo transforms itself can still be dizzying. Buildings often go up and down at a startling rate, plus the businesses in them seem to change hands regularly. And yet at the same time, some things do mercifully stay the same. Like this old coffee shop for example. A fantastically cluttered little place that unapologetically offers little more than a tentative nod towards any kind of modernity.
You find some amazing places. That looks like the perfect spot for a pot of coffee and a good book.
I’d actually seen this online, and was very pleased to find it still in operation. And yes, it really was a wonderful place to relax for a while. Lovely owner too.
Lee you mentioned how businesses “seem to change hands regularly”. It appears this one could transform from coffee shop to antique store with a new sign out front.
That’s very true. So much stuff in there. The guns were perhaps the most intriguing.
Lovely find, good thing it’s not in the US, it’d be filled to the brim with hipsters and it’d lose its charm instantly.
Happy to say that apart from my stubbly face, there wasn’t even the slightest bit of facial hair to be seen, let alone any of the overgrown or elaborate variety.
I would be so happy spending some time there! 🙂
Definitely a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Looks like some of the old book/curio shops you used to get in the back streets of charing cross many years ago.
You can’t “dress” a new venue like that – though some awful places do try.
The mounted set of bagpipes caught my eye, as did the combination of a 40s reel to reel tape deck behind what appears to be a set of manga books. The pile of stuff at the back warrents a closer rummage too 🙂
One thing that sets it apart from the old kitchens is that it looks so clean and dust free.
Is the grain due to the low light or something you specifically went for?
Another great photograph, and another that features green and bown like the Japanese fast food post a week or so back.
Definitely not something you can just create, is it? Rather a place that has gradually evolved over many, many years. And yes, there’s an eccentric mix of stuff in there. I’d have liked to have a proper rummage around, but there was a steady flow of customers, so didn’t really get the chance. Hopefully next time.
Unusually the grain wasn’t intended. A combination of it being pretty dark, and me not really nailing the exposure. Would have preferred a bit less, but it’s never something that really bothers me.
Cheers. Hadn’t though about the fast food place, but yes, a very similar colour scheme. It was perhaps all the rage at one time…
Great looking place! Where exactly is it? We’re planning a trip to Tokyo in April and I would really like to visit it in person. 🙂
It really is. The owner is lovely too. Have a photo of her that I’ll probably post soon. A place that genuinely feels like stepping back in time.
Here’s the address: 1 Chome-6-11 Kamiogi, Suginami, Tokyo 167-0043
Just head up the stairs, and choose a seat. Then she’ll come up with a menu. The Italian coffee is worth a try. Won’t spoil it, but it’s interesting. Certainly not what I expected.
Great! Thanks for the Info, Lee. Now we have one more thing to see. 😉
You are very welcome. Enjoy!
What was the “master” like? A fascinating little joint. I can practically smell the comfortable mustiness of it. Always strikes me as curious that folks can manage a living running a place like this, but then I guess what it really amounts to is how Japanese have hundreds of these special “living rooms” they can visit.
My eyes were drawn to the (likely) replica firearms over the door – seems like unusual decor, but perfectly fitting. They have a nice patina, but if that Tanegashima flintlock in the middle were genuine, it’d be worth thousands of dollars. I’m guessing genuine antique firearms as decor is prohibited in Japan.
It was a lovely old mama-san. Well into her 80s but still amazingly sprightly.
I guess she owns the place and so isn’t paying rent. That said she did have a surprisingly steady flow of customers. To be honest, I expected to have the place to myself which would have been ideal for photos, but it simply wasn’t the case.
Interesting. I was similarly intrigued with the guns, but my knowledge of such things is non-existent. Not sure where the law stands, but I’ve seen plenty of swords on display, so it’s possible they could be real. Next time I’m there I’ll ask if I get the chance.
Wow! Believe it or not this brought back memories of a cafe I used to frequent when I lived in Belgium. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂 Seems like an amazing place. I’ll put it on my to do list for when I visit Tokyo.
Good to hear it brought back some memories. Not at all surprised either, as in many ways it had a much more European feel than Japanese.
Definitely worth a visit.