This popular cafe is shockingly crowded for being in the most random spot… I’m really not sure how people know about this place on the fifth floor of an unassuming building at the end of a small side street? Perhaps there’s a lot of Yoshitomo Nara fans because this cafe is designed by him. Yoshitomo Nara is a famous pop artist from Japan who has had exhibits in places such as MoMA in NY and Moca in LA. This place was recommended to us by a friend so we decided to check it out since we were in the area.
As soon as you walk in, it’s filled with Yoshitomo’s work and there is a small cottage in the center that has many of his artwork pieces inside. The food was pretty good and we saw many couples and friends who were there to enjoy the afternoon. My only wish is that they differentiated the smoking and non-smoking sections a little better. A quiet neighborhood place to take a break from shopping in the hustle and bustle of Omotesando.
Address // 5F, 5-8-3, MinamiAoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-5464-0281
Website // http://atozcafe.exblog.jp/
Glorious Chain Cafe in Shibuya is owned by the DIESEL store and it’s the first cafe that DIESEL opened world-wide. This hip cafe is a nice spot to tea or to dine. They serve American food such as burgers, pasta, eggs benedict, hot dogs, salads, pancakes, and more. The chill environment with colorful yellow chairs, booths, couches, and friendly staff makes this place a nice place to hangout. It’s right next to the DIESEL clothing store so you can enjoy some shopping as well. The best part was that we had a group of ten of us but they didn’t force us to pay a minimum per person or to order course menus (many restaurants in Japan make it harder to dine with larger groups) so we were really happy about that. Very much enjoyed the good company with the easy going atmosphere :)
Address // 1-23-16, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-3409-5670
Website // www.gloriouschaincafe.jp
Streamer Coffee Company is owned by Hiroshi Sawada, who was crowned “The World’s Best Latte Artist” in Seattle’s free pour latte art championship back in 2008. This coffee shop is located slightly off the main area of Shibuya but it’s definitely worth checking out since it’s a cozy & hip place for anyone who enjoys a good latte and the art of beautifully drawn latte art. Unfortunately the champion himself wasn’t there when we came here for coffee, but the barista still drew the pretty latte art pictured above. Their coffee menu is very small but they definitely do it well. I very much enjoyed my latte and I plan to come back to get my coffee fix whenever I’m in Shibuya.
Address // 1-20-28, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-6427-3705
Website // http://streamercoffee.com
Did you know that there’s a 3-star michelin rated Mountain in Tokyo? It’s called Mount Takao (Takaosan) and it’s hard to believe that such a beautiful mountain is just an hour or two away by public transportation from central Tokyo. It’s a nice getaway from the busy city life and the best part is they have many trails to choose from so all different age groups and levels (from beginner through advanced) hikers can enjoy this mt. Even the ‘Inariyama trail,’ which is supposed to be the most strenuous, is hiked by everyone from elementary school kids on field trips to grandmas & grandpas, so it’s a great way to get some exercise surrounded by nature without going on an all-day hike. If you are not that into hiking but still want to go to Takaosan, you can still take the tram and reach the observatory for a nice scenic view! On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji from the top and it’s a great way to experience nature in the massive metropolis of Tokyo.
I love hiking — I’ve climbed Mt. Fuji and Half Dome in Yosemite, but Takaosan is one of my favorite hikes in Tokyo. Just a tip, I would try avoid climbing Takaosan during major holidays like Golden week as it gets really packed and difficult to navigate. Also, bring a large ziploc bag/trash bag with you as you will have to take your trash home with you. For advanced hikers, you can continue from the top of Takaosan to the Mt. Jimba Trail to extend your hike.
Anyhow, at the top of the tram station is where you can find the delicious treat pictured above called “Tengu Yaki” for 130yen. ‘Tengu’ means a long‐nosed goblin and that’s what the shape is based off of. It has a sweetened black soybean paste inside the crispy waffle and it’s tasty. Surprisingly not too sweet and it’s a perfect snack to pick up on the way. Go on this hike with your family and friends on a nice weekend :)
Takaozan’s English website:
Address // 2205, Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 042-665-1808
Website // n/a
Vegetables in Japan are so good, you can really tell that the farmers here have pride and put their love into their products. We fell in love with this place because 1) they use fresh vegetables from local farmers in Japan, 2) they are totally affordable despite the high quality of their organic vegetables, and 3) it turns out they are owned by Mos Dining which also owns mos burgers.
Surprisingly, they even have a weekday lunch special that starts from 880yen. Everything we had was fresh and good, they didn’t even bother us when we stayed there for more than 3 hours, and there was lots of moms with baby carts there so it must be a very easy going place :) Even though this restaurant is located in the busy Shibuya area, it’s actually less crowded than the scramble cross walk so if you are a little intimidated by the crowds in Shibuya, this might be a good alternative for you!
Address // 3F, 1-23-16, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-3486-7280
Website // www.mosdining.co.jp/green_grill