Eccentric, neon-lit streets of Tokyo have attracted travelers from near and far for decades. In a league of its own, Tokyo allows tourists to immerse themselves in a fascinating world where new and unusual trends often originate much before anywhere else in the world.
The Japanese capital further enchants its visitors by offering plentiful shopping options, cultural exploration opportunities, and a chance to appreciate design and architecture like nowhere else. Adding to Tokyo’s magnetism is its culinary legacy, steeped in traditions but also contemporary enough to create unique and appealing environments.
Here are four Instagram-worthy cafes in Tokyo that highlight the city’s peculiar nature and act as perfect destinations for food lovers and mavens of quirk alike.
8Bit is one of the best cafés to visit in Tokyo for gamers. As the name suggests, it takes inspiration from classic videogames. Nintendo aficionados will swoon over all the vintage memorabilia scattered around this somewhat atmospheric space, located on the 5th floor of a Shinjuku building.
As expected, there are games you can actually play here, and the collection is quite extensive and varied. So, be ready to find several of your childhood favorites. 8Bit Café does have a ¥500 cover charge, and the food is nothing to write home about. But you can certainly enjoy a few drinks while reminiscing about those good ol’ video-gaming days.
Address: 3 Chome−8−9, 5F, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022
Café Hoot Hoot
Animal cafes are popular throughout the world. However, Tokyo has quite a few that celebrate more than just cats and dogs. Roam around the streets, and you’ll find animal cafes with hedgehogs, rabbits, parrots, and cute Mame Shiba Inu dogs. But for something completely different, head to Café Hoot Hoot, which you would have guessed by now features owls.
Situated in a small side street in Shibuya, Café Hoot Hoot has an unassuming, modest look but still makes for a must-visit Instagram-worthy café in Tokyo because of its permanent residents. The 7 owls are well behaved and a pleasure to play with and feed. Do visit in the afternoon as the birds get tired by evening and might not be as animated.
There is coffee, tea, beer, and wine, but you pay for a package – ¥1500 gets you half an hour of playtime and one drink. A fun excuse to educate children and yourself about owls, Café Hoot Hoot is a delight you do not want to miss.
Address: 10-16 Shinsencho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0045
Aoyama Flower Market Tea House
If it is an Instagrammable café in Tokyo you want, well, Aoyama Flower Market Tea House is the place to be. At first, you might think that the café is actually Poison Ivy’s secret lair. No need to worry because, unlike the Batman villain, the staff here is amicable, and this lush, colorful eatery is the perfect place for a respite during your Tokyo sightseeing tour. Not to mention the plants and flowers are an idyllic background for memorable photos.
The tea house is very popular with the locals, so expect to wait in line if you come around lunch. The menu is equally vivid and, of course, features a variety of teas from around the world. But there are sodas and cold drinks if you’re not in the mood for tea. As for food, try the refreshingly delicious flower parfait and the French flower toast, two of the café’s specialties.
Address: 5 Chome-1-2 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062
Shirohinge’s Cream Puff Factory
You might have to plan a special visit to Shirohinge’s Cream Puff Factory, but for any movie fan, especially Studio Ghibli animations, it’s a pilgrimage worth undertaking. Owned by the great Hayao Miyazaki’s sister-in-law, the two-floor café has a takeaway bakery on the ground and a sit-down area on the first floor. There is a small section on the outside where you can eat on pleasant days.
The highlight of any visit to Shirohinge’s Cream Puff Factory is their cream and custard-filled pastry done up in the shape of the famous animated character Totoro. Other flavors for the puffs include strawberry cream, mango cream, rubus and cream cheese, and caramel banana cream.
The café also serves a mix of comfort food like pasta and salads. Now, the décor is cute and will get you a few Instagrammable photos, but the real money-shot is definitely the Ghibli-themed cream puffs, cakes, and cookies.
Address: 5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0033