Japan has long been the mecca for green tea with its elaborate chado ceremonies, but it has also come to wholeheartedly embrace the coffee movement.
It was in the late 18th century that coffee first landed in Japan courtesy of Dutch merchants who had been trading in the south-west port city of Nagasaki. Coffee would quickly find its way across the country, leading to traditional kissatens (coffee houses) that satiate the caffeine needs of Japanese folk early on.
Fast forward till today and such kissatens still coexist alongside the stylish bespoke roasteries that have come to symbolise Japan’s vibrant third-wave coffee movement. Even Starbucks has been trying to muscle in on a piece of this pie: Kyoto is now home to the world’s first Starbucks outlet with tatami mat seating. Over in Fukuoka, a store designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma has become a tourist attraction.
Little wonder that Japan is now one of the world’s top consumers of coffee. We look at some of the best that Tokyo has to offer.
Written by: Walter Sim, The Straits Times