In a consumer-based society where we are constantly subjected to materialistic goods, the idea of minimalism may be an act of rebellion. While there are many interpretations, the general idea is releasing yourself from materialistic possessions and living with only necessary items that bring value to your life.
MInimalism isn’t just about owning less, it’s a lifestyle. With Marie Konn’s, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing becoming an international bestseller, the idea of minimalism has gone mainstream, and It’s pretty much everywhere.
Many industries have adopted minimalism, such as fashion, food, and technology to name a few. With the rise of minimalism, clean and sleek aesthetic can be spotted in these industries, along with your Instagram feed. Personally, I am a huge fan of this so-called minimalist aesthetic. While I’m not completely ready to ditch my pretty impressive shoe collection, move into a small house or own only 20 items of clothing, I do appreciate places that have nailed minimalism aesthetic to a T.
The core of minimalism has a lot of similarities with Buddhism doctrine, such as the emphasis on having an uncluttered mind. As Buddhism is strongly rooted in Japan, it’s no surprise the country has a surplus of minimalism inspired cafes. Many cafes have managed to merge the essence of both minimalism and Buddhism to create a calming environment for their customers.
Whether you’re already a minimalist, transitioning to becoming a minimalist, or just looking for a place where you can get a piece of mind in the bustling city, (because honestly aren’t we all !?) I’ve got you covered. Here are 3 cafes in Tokyo where you can experience the essence of minimalism.
1. Tokyo Saryo
Think of this place as a third wave coffee shop for green tea. Inspired by coffee culture, this place is considered as the first hand-drip green tea shop. What does that mean?
It means that the tea masters will prepare your tea in front of you.
Similar to coffee, the flavor of green tea can greatly differ depending on the type of tea leaves, where the tea is produced and how long it’s been roasted. Customers can choose tea leaves from a selection of tea leaves collected from all over Japan. Having your tea served here is like an experience no other. The tea masters at Tokyo Saryo take their time to explain each type of tea leaves in great detail and preparation techniques. Along with your hand-drip tea, they serve delicate Japanese sweets that compliment the tea.
The decor at Tokyo Saryo is the epitome of minimalism. They’ve stripped away every excess, leaving nothing but a bar counter and wooden chairs, so their customers can focus solely on their high-quality tea.
Even if you ’re a die-hard coffee lover at heart, you have to try the tea experience at Tokyo Saryo.
- Address: 1 Chome-34 to 154-0011 Japan, Kamiuma, Setagaya, Tokyo 154-0011,Japan
- Website: http://www.tokyosaryo.jp/
2. Toranomon Koffee
This minimalist cafe can be found in the most unexpected place: inside a 52-story building. If you’re a coffee snob like me, you steer clear from major coffee chains and coffee shops located inside big buildings at all costs. However, there are some solid reasons to try the coffee (or shall I say Koffee?) at Toranomon Koffee. When Tokyo’s much-loved cafe, Omotesando Koffee shut its doors back in 2015, people were unwilling to say their farewells. Founded by the same founder as Omotesando Koffee, it’s no surprise that Toranomon Koffee serves exquisite coffee. Picky about your coffee? Don’t worry. At Toranomon Koffee, the baristas will customize your drink according to your taste, meaning you’ll be guaranteed with the perfect cup of java. If you want something that’s easy on the eyes, try their iced cappuccino. With adorable bubbles on the top, their iced cappuccino is nothing but your average cappuccino. For those with a sweet tooth, you can customize yours by adding sugar or ordering their matcha version.
The whole experience at Toranomon Koffee is something special. From their simple wooden decor to lab coat-wearing baristas, the experience will exceed your expectations. So the next time you have a dreaded work meeting in the business district, why not stop by Toranomon Koffee for a pick-me-up?
- Address: 1 Chome-1-23 Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
- Phone: +81 3-6268-8893
- Website: http://ooo-koffee.com/
3. Cafe Ki
Cafe Ki is what I would describe as the “minimalist cafe of your dreams”.
It’s the kind of cafe you see on your Instagram feed thinking it’s located a million miles away. Lucky for us, it’s not. Nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Setagaya, Cafe Ki offers refuge to city dwellers. “Ki” in Japanese means tree and that’s pretty much all you’ll be seeing in this cafe. With white walls, white furniture, and steel poles that look similar to bare trees in the winter, the beautifully designed cafe resembles a winter forest. This cafe is the perfect place to hit up when you need to declutter your mind or read the latest Murakami book.
- Address: 5-9-5 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
- Phone: +81 3-3413-4678
- Website: http://www.ki-cafe.com/