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Goin’ Japanesque!

6 Popular Coffee Chains in Japan We Recommend For You to Try

A café is a place where people gather together, and it is not just in Japan but the same way all over the world. Nowadays, there are many cafés scattered around town with their unique design concepts, from individually owned stores to chain stores. Today, a café is a community space various people visit, such as people enjoying conversation with friends, businessmen who have stepped out of their offices, or students who are studying.

This time we would like to introduce popular coffee chains in Japan, as they are ubiquitous across Japan and convenient for both local residents and tourists. Title photo by flickr


1. Doutor Coffee

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

This chain is operated by Doutor Coffee Co., Ltd., and it has stores nationwide. They are often located within or near stations in metropolitan Tokyo. This chain has casual atmosphere easy to enter for anyone regardless of age or gender, and reasonable prices are another point of their charm. Rich flavorful coffee made with carefully selected beans and special drinks for limited periods are offered at affordable prices.

Personally I would like to recommend their “Milano Sandwiches”, which has several different types of ingredients. The delicious sandwiches that combine excellently compatible ingredients are quite filling, and the taste is not too strong or too bland to be bored of. We recommend ordering it together with a drink as a set.


2. Excelsior Caffé

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

This chain is also operated by Doutor Coffee Co., Ltd. Their stores offer a wider selection of dishes in addition to soft drinks, such as pasta and hot sandwiches. In particular, the store proudly presents sticky & chewy focaccia, ciabatta, and panini that use brötchen, and ingredients are also wide in variety including cheese, smoked salmon, and roast chicken.

Great deals are available when some sets are combined with salad, soup or drink, making enjoying a hot meal in the store more attractive.


3. Saint Marc Café

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

Saint Marc Holdings Co., Ltd. operates various restaurant businesses including this café, and this chain’s cafés are spread nationwide from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Their menu offers drinks with central focus on coffee but the dessert menu is also extensive.

The bestselling item is freshly baked bread coming out of oven, and their bread is baked within the store. I recommend “Chokokuro” particularly, which is made by wrapping chocolate with croissant dough. They also offer seasonal variation for limited time in addition to the basic chocolate flavor, and it is delightful to eat a few kinds and compare them.


4. Coffee Room Renoir

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

Ginza Renoir Co. operates several coffee chains based on different marketing concepts, and Coffee Room Renoir is one of them. In addition to their specialty coffee carefully prepared with nel drip, they offer a variety of soft drinks other than coffee including Yuzu tea, Uji matcha green tea milk, Melon cream soda, etc.

In addition to the attractive food and drink, this café’s appeal includes the gracious customer service and comfortable and calm atmosphere. The price is higher in general, but this café is great for people who would like to spend leisurely time, enjoying tasteful soft drinks in a large comfortable chair.

With an elegant atmosphere, this café is often used for discussing business and you see many elderly people there, too.


5. Komeda’s Coffee

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

This chain is operated by Komeda’s Coffee with its main office in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. The chain is primarily operating in its local area, Aichi Prefecture, but it has opened new stores in the Kanto and Kinki areas over the years, slowly expanding the business nationwide.

their company, and their food menu is particularly popular among customers. The famous signature item is “Shiro-Noir”, which is a Danish pastry topped with soft ice cream. Though it is a part of a café menu, their food is generously served and filling, including sandwiches brimming with ingredients.

We also recommend their Morning Service, a set of soft drink, freshly browned toast, and a boiled egg. You can choose egg salad or ogura bean pasteinstead of a boiled egg, too. (Some stores may not offer this set.)


6. Caffè Veloce

Photo by flickr

Photo by flickr

This café is the self-service style, and it is operated by Chat Noir Co.  The price of their coffee starts at 200 yen a cup (as of November 2016), and you can enjoy soft drinks and food at reasonable prices.

In addition to the attractive low prices, we would like to recommend Coffee Jelly topped with soft-serve ice cream particularly in their menu. Combination of rich soft-serve ice cream and bitter coffee jelly creates an exquisite experience, and the aftertaste is light, too. When I go to their store, I often see many people enjoying this dessert including the elderly. This must be one of their popular items on menu.


There are many more cafés with unique characteristics and special strengths in addition to what we have introduced this time. When you come to Japan, it might be fun to hop around cafés when you take a break. Maybe you will find your favorite café, just for you

Related Articles:
Fuglen Tokyo: The Best Coffee Praised by the NY Times

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

View all articles by KAWATA