5. Butter (Toyosu)
People flock this café/restaurant for its famous soufflé pancakes made of the highest quality butter. Patrons come to Butter not only for desserts, but also for its filling meals and refreshing interiors. Its branch in Toyosu is an interior designer’s playground, with books stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves matched with colorful lamps and accents. Fronting Butter Toyosu is a commanding bay view, perfect for sunset-viewing.
Based in Osaka, Butter boasts a clutch of branches along the Osaka–Kobe corridor, as well as a valiant outpost in LaLaport Yokohama.
4. Le Ciel Blanc Garden House Café (Harajuku)
This quiet, unassuming café is tucked into the northern end of Cat Street, the peaceful avenue that connects Harajuku’s fashionable yang to Shibuya’s busy yin. It’s a good place for quiet reflection and book reading, as its whitewashed interiors and vintage-feel decors transport a tired wanderer to a peaceful place. As a bonus, Garden House Café also offers some of the more affordable donuts and espresso-based drinks in the area.
3. Café Studio (Harajuku)
There aren’t many big spaces in Tokyo, but this one has enough ceiling room and even private rooms for big groups. This café has a wide selection of drinks and desserts—even seasonal flavors like citrus-inspired desserts for summer, as well as some really savory dishes that salarymen usually get for lunch. The modern, Scandi-style interiors are a break from the kitschy and kawaii happenings in Harajuku, with the welcome accompaniment of MacBooks (with Internet, of course) that can be used by customers.
2. Taverna Rondino (Kamakura)
This one may not exactly be a hop skip and a jump from the Yamanote, but it’s worth the leap. This brimming yellow-painted café is a must for its tasty pear tart and creamy cannoli—but it’s actually a full-service Italian restaurant. Aside from the fact that the food tastes authentic and oh-so-orgasmic (the Margherita pizza and carbonara are melt-in-your-mouth choices), the view is stunning—it will make you feel like you’re in Malta or the hilly side of Greece. A sunset stroll by the beach right across the road is a perfect ending to a visit at the Taverna!
1. The Canal Café (Iidabashi)
This café will instantly transport anyone to Venice, Italy. During spring, you can enjoy a great view of blooming sakura (cherry trees) right on the café’s premises. On ordinary days, the canal, with gondola-like boats, would already give any weary soul a feel of an instant holiday. Desserts from the restaurant side are perfectly plated—too pretty to eat but really too luscious to forget. Just make sure you exit from the west side of Iidabashi Station or you’re in for a long walk to the water!