5 Wi-Fi Friendly Tokyo Cafés (that aren't Starbucks!)
Anyone who enjoys coffee shops knows that the best ones offer more than just a good cup of joe--let's face it, these days you can make pretty good coffee without leaving your home. No, a coffee shop is supposed to provide a tangible representation of the comfort you get from its coffee--a reflection of the coffee itself, as it were. My favorite coffee shops are warm, inviting (often quirky and unique in some way) places that have cozy seats with enough table size to plop down a computer so I can work or read at leisure while enjoying my life-giving brew (almost always a simple black coffee or Americano for me). Of course, anymore nowadays a necessary element of comfort is the ability to stay connected, so wi-fi is a must. That said, today I aim to introduce you to five excellent coffee shops that give you all of those elements.
The first coffee shop I'll introduce you to is also the most modern in appearance. Located in Harajuku, the Roastery is a coffee shop that also serves excellent espresso soft serve ice cream (the perfect treat for these hot summer days we are still experiencing here). Its name comes from the fact that all of their coffee beans are roasted on site. Not only does it mean that you are getting the freshest of the fresh, one of the best things here is that they run you through what coffee beans they have to choose from daily--so that you can pick the kind of coffee that best suits your tastes. Now that is truly made-to-order!
Like most stores in Harajuku, the Roastery is busy which can be inconvenient at times, but the staff are friendly and many speak English well, eliminating an intimidation factor when visiting a bustling shop.
The store has free wifi, and most of the inside tables and the counter seating spots do have outlets near them so it makes it easy to charge your devices if you need to do so. As I said before, a good coffee shop should be unique and inviting, and the concrete floors and exposed brick walls with wooden accents make for a trendy but homey atmosphere.
The Roastery is located at 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae, 5−17−13 (prime real estate location), so weekdays are a better time to snag a comfy spot there than weekends. It is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 to 9:00 on Sundays and Holidays. The shop is about 2 minutes on foot from the Meiji Jingumae Tokyo Metro Station.
Next up is a Norwegian coffee company (based in Oslo) that has been brought over to Tokyo. For you hipster types out there, this will probably be your favorite of the five I talk about here. The vibe is very cool without trying to be too cool, with decor that has nods to mid-century modern design. The staff also like to keep pleasant jazz music playing in the background. This vibe lends itself well to a cozy atmosphere that lots of folks like to take advantage of by either reading or quietly chatting with friends.
The coffee here is excellent and offers many seasonal varieties (in line with Japan's love for all things seasonal). Fuglen also offers great pastries like danishes and croissants, so your tummy will thank you for visiting.
Meanwhile, the interior is relatively small, but there is seating outside (perfect for when the weather starts to cool a bit), and the Wi-Fi signal is strong, fast, and reliable. The only downside is a lack of power plugs, so if you plan to camp out, either power up or bring a portable charger along! Further, the baristas here are some of the friendliest you'll come across in Tokyo, and its location around Yoyogi Koen Station (Green "Chiyoda" Line on Tokyo Metro) makes it a perfect spot to stop if you're heading to Yoyogi Park (which I also highly recommend).
P.S. as an added benefit, Fuglen serves alcohol and cocktails at night for those of you who enjoy coffee and a night cap.
Fuglen is located at 1 Chome-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0063, and you can check out their Facebook page for more details.
Streamer Coffee Company
The next coffee shop has grown in popularity and now boasts multiple store locations. Starting out in Shibuya in 2010, Streamer Coffee Company expanded to other tourist hotspots like Akihabara and other metropolitan areas (for a full list of stores, see their website here). Still, the fact that there are multiple shops doesn't mean that any of them have lost their individual charm or appeal, though if you get the chance, I say head to Shibuya to go to the original.
The Shibuya location is accommodating for those who want to hang out for a while, as it has lots of electrical ports and free, strong wi-fi. I find that it is a great place to camp out after a full day of exploring when your devices (and your body) need some recharging. (By the way, don't forget your international adaptors in case your devices don't use the two prong plugs).
The best coffee feature from Streamer is the tasty seasonal menu; for example, Streamer's remedy for the hot summer was their iced coconut island latte. The donuts are also popular here, and if you enjoy sweet treats and are so inclined, I recommend trying the military donut (it's one of their most loved menu items).
Just like anywhere in Shibuya, Streamer Coffee can get pretty busy on weekends, so if you want to pay them a visit, weekdays might be best (especially if you need to snag an electrical port while you're enjoying your caffeine fix!).
"God from a machine" is a quirky name for a coffee shop, but I reckon it is a way for the shop-owners to pay homage to their favorite machines: motorcycles. Yes, Deus Ex Machina combines a motorcycle shop with a coffee shop, conveniently offering Wi-Fi at the same time.
Located on the backstreets of Harajuku in what looks a bit like a warehouse location, Deus Ex Machina boasts a coffee shop on the first floor while devoting the second floor to a motorcycle showroom (and, interestingly, the basement has a bar decorated with surfboards that you can purchase if you so desire).
The shop offers free wi-fi, with outlets along the walls, making it another spot that is convenient if you need to get online and you'd like to charge your device, too.
In addition to tasty coffee (their straightforward blends are the best), they have food as well--the best of all the shops mentioned in this article, in fact. One of the best things are their range of grilled sandwiches. Deus Ex Machina offers pulled pork, steak and roasted onions, a veggie and smashed avocado sandwich, or for the sweet-toothed travelers they also have a PB&J or a Mocha and Marshmallow toasted sandwich.
Deus Ex Machina has both indoor and outdoor seating. Given the strong wi-fi signal and the location, I recommend snagging some of the outdoor seating if the weather is fair so you catch up with emails and watch the world go by all at once.
The shop is located at 3 Chome-29-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, and is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekdays, and 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekends.
The last coffee shop on the list is in a trendy back street location, but in a quiet spot away from all the hustle and bustle that Omotesando and the surrounding area can sometimes bring. As a testament to how good this coffee shop is, Lattest opened in February 2012 and has survived all this time--a good sign in an area where businesses come and go frequently.
Lattest has friendly staff that speak English well, adding to the cozy, unintimidating atmosphere. The interior of the store is really trendy, with a combination of wood, metal, and concrete contributing to a minimalist, clean, and chic look.
Last but not least, a fun reason for visiting here is the latte art. The shop prides itself in adorning their lattes with fun and unique designs at no extra cost.
Lattest is located at 3-5-2, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, and is open daily from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
So there you have it...
...5 awesome cafes in Tokyo boasting great coffee, cozy atmospheres, and (perhaps most importanly) wi-fi for you intrepid travelers looking for a great cup of joe and access to networks. If you're in Tokyo and looking for your daily pick-me-up, I say zehi, check out one of these five awesome spots!
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