Release Date: Jan 7, 2017

Nicotama – Cafes in focus

2 years ago, when I turned onto a TV channel about the fresh and hot areas to live in Tokyo, the very long station name “Futako-tamagawa” (“Nicotama” for the local cats) was crowned in the top 3. In 2014 I moved back to Tokyo for a new start and decided to live close to the area.

After almost 10 years living in Japan, I have found myself shift away from the crowd and almost thought my curiosity had died dry. Until the young cafes/shops at Nicotama have emerged in the past few years, which contribute perfectly to the Tokyo subcultures that I used to fall in love with.

Green, charming and understated. Good coffee for a couple, a family and a solitude soul. What not to love about Nicotama.


Margaret Howell Cafe


Originally the classy, minimal chic British fashion label, this is their 2nd cafe in Tokyo.

Nested inside the Rise Shopping Center, 2nd floor, the cafe will be a little tricky to find at first. Once you see the cafe sign, a roomy, relaxing space will hit your eyes with plenty of sunshine. Do not be blinded by their minimal, relaxing aesthetic sense because their coffee is very intense and robust. I always love me a strong double latte from Margaret to start a day.


As a weekends brunch favorite of many locals, they also serve deli plate, seasonal organic food and sweets. Their carrot cake is fantastic and I’m not even a sweets person. And of course there is British high tea, surprisingly.


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Good Meals Shop

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I once came in the shop just for their crazily yummy ice pops to celebrate my friend’s last day of being single. Only to realize they also have very good coffee. Good Meal Shop serves their own original blend (%Arabica roasted beans from Brazil, Ethiopia and Guatemala). Smooth but zippy.

The location is a plus point, inside Tsutaya Electrics 2nd floor, facing a plant shop. That means you always can take a book or magazine next door to read at the cafe.

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A winter cult favorite of mine: Dip their pumpkin pudding ice pop into your latte for a subtle dessert pumpkin drink. In my opinion, this is the most fusion cafe you can find at Nicotama. Here you can also find a lovely selection of Mikkeller beer.

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The North Face Standard Cafe

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Nicotama is the 2nd Standard Store, which is a Japan-exclusive collaborative retail space from the renowned outdoors company The North Face. Located 5 minutes away from Rise Shopping Center towards the Tama River, the store appears as a strong, concrete silhouette softened by a wooden terrace filled with sunshine. The cafe space has a rustic feel and the friendliest staffs.

We talked to Kohta-san, the man in charge of the cafe and learned about the concept behind their food and coffee, which are 100% local-made, local-harvest. The coffee beans are roasted by IFNi, Shizuoka and the food ingredients are supplied by a local organic farm. Everything is non-GMO and non-preserved, safe for family and kids.

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The coffee is not too strong, has a nutty flavor and seductively smooth. The double shot latte i had was not overwhelming at all. A safe double shot. Their donut also changed my attitude towards sweets forever. I usually cannot stand sugary food yet swallowed the whole donut in a minute. North Face Standard’s legendary donut is served warm, perfect fluffy inside without being too greasy. Buttery goodness.

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Re:CENO is an interior product company originally from Kyoto. The Nicotama shop is moderately roomy, has a little coffee area where you can order a cup of coffee and enjoy it while sitting anywhere inside the shop.

Besides their house blend, the cafe also serves the famous Fuglen beans from Tokyo and a Circus blend from Kyoto. I went with a cup of hand drip black Circus coffee. Obviously French roast, not bitter yet rich in flavor and easy to drink. They also serve a wide range of healthy juices and teas.


At this point this was my 4th cup of coffee of the day and Circus coffee from Re:CENO was a pleasant ending note to my cafe hopping tour with Nik and Vaughan. The sunset came just in time when a 4 year old kid got so intrigued and hooked on by Vaughan’s little musical show that his mother had to drag him out of the store.


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Column by : Paya Do @payathedo / http://payado.me

Photography by Nik van der Giesen (@nvdg81)

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