It’s no secret that Japan has a particularly brutal work culture; long, grueling hours are seen as normal, and for many, they are an inevitable fact of life here in the country. While there are definitely issues to be discussed in regards to this, the constant need for energy has also birthed a fascinating coffee culture in Japan, especially in the bigger cities, like Tokyo. But where can the average joe get their fix? Today, we’ll take a look at some of the most common places to get a good cuppa in the capitol city.
▎The Convenience Store
One of the most common places to get a morning cup of coffee is actually at any of the numerous convenience stores around the city; generally affordable (and passably drinkable), convenience store coffee is generally a decent option for a person in a hurry. Convenience stores will also generally have a few options other than your regular hot coffee blend, including most convenience stores also have iced coffee available. The different chains will have a difference in taste, so if you’re set on conbini coffee, it might be best to try out each brand’s coffee and decide for yourself which is best.
Another good coffee stop is, unsurprisingly, the cafe chains that are scattered about the city. Starbucks, Excelsior Cafe, Tully’s Coffee, and several others litter the landscape of Tokyo, and getting in and out for a cup of joe is generally a snap. Additionally, the coffee at these cafes tends to be of better quality than that of the convenience stores. However, it is worth noting that these cafes can have longer wait times than the convenience stores; unlike convenience stores, cafes do not have self-serve coffee stations, so you will generally have to wait for someone to make your coffee as well as the coffee of others, which tends to add a little bit more to the wait time.
▎Make your own！
Another thing that Japan has going for it is its downright massive selection of easy home coffee options. There are many varieties of instant coffee, both in single-serving tubes and in tiny jars for scooping into a cup of hot water. Coffee makers are also ubiquitous; finding them at new and used electronics shops is like finding water in an ocean. Different blends of coffee, both of the instant and bean varieties, are incredibly easy to find; while you will be less likely to find bean blends at grocery stores than instant varieties, it’s quite common to be able to find unground coffee beans at liquor stores. No matter what your style of home-making, accessible options exist for you.
As you can see, coffee-making options are not difficult to come by in Tokyo; for those living in the city for any reasonable length of time, it can be great to get out of your comfort zone and do some experimentation! Besides the options above, there are hundreds of smaller, local cafes scattered about, and finding your perfect cup of coffee is a feeling unlike any other.