Release Date: Feb 11, 2017
Sangenjaya, or “Sancha” as it’s commonly known, is a popular tightly-knit community to live in as well as a destination for those wanting a drink or two when the sun goes down. It’s also home to a ton of really good coffee shops, both new and old. I used to live in Daizawa, a stone’s throw from the Sangenjaya area, and going back to visit all the shops for this column was a really nostalgic experience. Lots of new ones have popped up too. I’d never realized it before, but funnily Sangenjaya translates as “three tea houses”. Anyway, here is seven coffee shops in Sangejaya worth having coffee time at.
1. CAFÉ OBSCURA
Welcome to Obscura Coffee Roasters; one of the most respected coffee shops in Sangenjaya for serious coffee drinkers. Business as usual on a Friday afternoon here; all of the tables are taken. Popular cafes and restaurants around Tokyo use Obscura roasted beans including Cobi Coffee, Toranomon Koffee and Coffee Valley – and there’s a reason for this; the coffee is consistently good. 2016 World Siphonist Champion Narumi Sato will serve your coffee if you’re lucky!
2. OBSCURA LABORATORY
More of a coffee stand than a café, the award for best take-out latte in Sangenjaya goes to Obscura Lab. In my opinion, it’s right up there with the best in Tokyo. The baristas are super well-informed and are happy to recommend a variety of beans and flavors on the menu to suit your preferences. Each time I’ve been I get the same high standard of coffee and service Obscura is known for. There’s always someone in there, which is yet another sign of a good coffee stand in Tokyo.
3. CAFE MAMEHIKO
Just a short walk from Sangenjaya station, Café Mamehiko opens early and fills up quickly. Just like the two other Mamehiko stores in Shibuya, you can always depend on them for a good cup of coffee, and the café itself is rather spacious. The coffee is not cheap, but it’s definitely one of the better coffees in town. Their famous circle bread and their coffee beans are available to purchase next door.
4. SEVEN KISSATEN
For something a little different, check out Seven, a spacious kissaten nearby the station that has been serving up siphon coffee with lunch for the past 54 years. The interior is a real color explosion! All the staff are super friendly and happy to chat! Today they’re recommending the curry and the napolitan pasta for lunch. We down the delicious coffee, and a free refill is offered and accepted. Ghibli fans will feel right at home here. I really like the vibe.
5. COFFEE WRIGHTS
One of the newer shops in the area is Coffee Wrights. It’s on a corner in a very residential part of town. In the shop window, coffee roasting takes place, and there’s a serious but friendly coffee aura among the staff. There’s seating on the second floor if you want to chill. Coffee Wrights is owned by the same company which runs Café & Hall ours, Ampere and Comma Coffee. They know what they’re doing.
One of my good friends is a musician and the first thing he notices about a café is the music they’re playing. He’s always telling me how good (usually how bad) a café is pretty much based on their playlist. It’s now a habit of mine to take a note of what’s playing. At Beastie, you’re well looked after. Jazz music permeates out of the speakers. The coffee is roasted in house and drip coffee or espresso based drinks are on the menu. Alcohol is also served. There’s something very sophisticated about having coffee time here.
7. MOON FACTORY COFFEE
Last on the list is Moon Factory Coffee, a real hidden gem in the Sancha area, and a personal favorite of mine. It really doesn’t look like anything at all from the front. Step inside and there is this unmistakable aura of Japanese charm. It’s simply stunning. Hand drip coffee is served with a variety of beans to choose from. I had a really well balanced Peru with good body. If you’re ever in Kyoto, be sure to check out Elephant Factory Coffee – it’s equally impressive.