Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital city, is virtually live 24/7. As the most populated city in Japan with over 14 million people, Tokyo is constantly riding the trend waves in their creative and cultural scene, in addition to the people’s high appreciation for tradition. The metropolis, albeit a little chaotic and overwhelming, is still a lovely place to have fun on the weekend.
Explore beyond the urban facade and unveil some places that show the warm and comforting side of Tokyo. Read on for weekend recommendations and how to get the most out of Tokyo’s endless captivating corners in 72 hours!
Morning Coffee at Kopi Kalyan Tokyo
Walk into the smaller parts of Omotesando’s shopping district and enter Kopi Kalyan, an Indonesia-themed coffee shop in the heart of Tokyo. Originating from its hometown Jakarta, this coffee shop offers a variety of beans and menus to enjoy.
The entire store is filled with natural light coming through the large windows and warm-hued lighting. Kopi Kalyan has a spacious seating space that is minimalist with a touch of modern industrial. As customers walk into the store, the striking decoration of Indonesia’s five main islands greet them, prominently displayed on the wall.
Visitors will be able to taste Kopi Kalyan’s arabica coffee beans that are sourced directly from their roastery in Indonesia. A selection of lattes are also available, alongside with their special edition drinks: Tolak Angin latte and Indonesian kopi susu with palm sugar. The most popular snack and dessert would be fried tempeh with truffle sauce and pandan sponge cake.
Shop secondhand at Oi Racecourse Flea Market
The biggest weekend flea market in Tokyo is a perfect destination for thrift hunters. With almost 300 vendors lined up selling in their vehicles, the market offers a wide range of selection from clothes to home goods. The price for clothes can go as low as 100 yen ($0.71). You can spot oversized blazers, leather coats, even vintage Coach bags here for a much lower price. This market opens every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The sellers are also friendly and welcoming!
Walk through the process of coffee brewing in Ogawa Coffee Laboratory
Walk inside Ogawa Coffee Laboratory and enter a caffeine haven. The coffee shop, which is more of a “laboratory” like its name, serves their coffee in a unique way.
Ogawa’s baristas will personally welcome and escort you to their respective working spaces with a warm smile and an enthusiastic greeting. Then, they will show you a selection of their coffee beans from a detailed graph and your preference of coffee. It could be a glass of latte, americano, or aero-press. The graph contains various kinds of beans from different parts of the world, with additional information on the leaning flavor, acidity, and level of bitterness. Then, before starting the brewing process, they will show you your bean of choice. These friendly baristas will also invite you for a chit chat during the brew.
The shop is rectangular with warm-hued, small lighting decorating the space. The atmosphere instills a cozy feeling, mixing minimalistic design and concrete colors with wooden ornaments. Acting as a limelight in the lab is their huge island where the magic happens. The baristas will brew your order as you sit in the front row of the brewing theater. Overall, Ogawa is an unmissable destination.
Unwind yourself and have a bowl of ramen in Menya Kaijin
Spotting Menya Kaijin in Shinjuku, Tokyo could be a bit of a handful due to its unassuming facade and compact space. This ramen shop is one of the most popular in the area, known for its salt-based soup ramen.
The soup base of their ramen is made of fish broth, resulting in a light and delicate taste with a nice, aromatic smell. Although light, it leaves a warm and fuzzy sensation in your stomach. There are two choices of ramen: regular or spicy. When served, the bowl comes with chewy noodles topped with shrimp, fish ball, and chicken ball. You can also add an extra soft boiled egg and grilled rice ball.
Chatters of people add to the cozy and warm sense of the shop. Menya Kaijin, although small and hidden, leaves a great impression for their customers.
Seize the day at Odaiba seaside
Visiting Tokyo would not be complete without sightseeing at the seaside. Located in the southern part of the city, Odaiba is the perfect spot to enjoy the clear skies and watch the sunset.
Feel the cold wind hit your face as you enjoy a beverage or snack of your choice by the bay, where a small beach restaurant stands.
Yakitori-ya Torikizoku, where everything costs 298 yen
Yakitori are chicken skewers made from all parts of the meat, such as thigh, skin, breast, liver, and innards. Yakitori-ya Torikizoku, a chain Yakitori restaurant in Japan and its bright yellow sign, is an unmissable destination. This restaurant functions like an izakaya (Japanese pub), but is more affordable.
Although each dish only costs 298 yen, the meals and drinks are still outstanding. Each bite of the yakitori is mouthwatering. A sensation of juicy, tender, and flavourful taste. Aside from yakitori, you can also enjoy other dishes such as salad, fried chicken, vegetable dishes, even ramen and dessert. Just like the typical izakaya, this restaurant also offers various types of beer.
Stroll in the friendly neighborhood of Ebisu
Renowned for an area of cozy and small restaurants and pubs, Ebisu leaves a nice impression, perfect for lazy strolls in the evening. Located strategically near the Shibuya area and Yamanote subway line (Tokyo’s main subway line), this place is laid-back and gives a break from the bustling atmosphere of Tokyo.
One of the notable shops of Ebisu is Janai Coffee. In particular, the term “Ja nai” refers to “not,” so “Janai Coffee” translates to “not (selling) coffee”. You can clearly see that they sell coffee, so why is it called “Ja nai”?
While it appears to look like a usual take-out only coffee shop, a whole speakeasy-styled bar is hidden behind the cafe. To get inside the bar, you will need to crack a riddle on their website. The baristas will be very keen on saying that there is no bar, so you must be able to solve the riddle. Only then will the barista guide you to the secret door.
Looking for a Japan-infused trip outside of Japan? Read our Ultimate NYC Anime Survival Guide Article here!