Traditional Shitamachi Kissaten — Sunny Cafe in Asakusa!

There are a few websites about Japan I follow. I stay pretty faithful to GaijinPot and actually not that long ago I read this blog entry over there about kissaten = traditional Japanese cafes (→“Kissaten: A slowly dying part of Japanese culture”). I agree with the author, big cafe chains like Starbucks, Dotour, Tully’s etc. are more visible on the streets of Tokyo than those little cozy places, where you can still feel the inimitable Showa atmosphere. Saying ‘more visible’ might be an understatement even — some people here seem to be living on nothing more than Starbucks everyday, it’s always full and there’s always a line of at least 10 people. And that’s a shame. Why? I absolutely love Shitamachi Tokyo (the less fashionable, older part of the city) and what I love even more is finding those adorable kissaten, often located in some absolutely picturesque neighbourhood, with red paper lanterns, old rusty bikes, old posters with charming ladies dressed in kimonos…

Here’s one I have visited a few times and that I love going back to whenever I’m in Asakusa.

IMG_7645_meitu_5

Sunny Cafe in Asakusa

〒111-0032 Tokyo

Taito-ku, Asakusa, 2 Chome 

IMG_7619_meitu_4

This adorable tiny cafe is in the middle of something that appears to be a newly build shopping arcade with super touristy stuff. I like such places though, because Japan has the cutest souvenirs ever!

IMG_7604_meitu_7

Actually there’s tons of adorable items in front of the cafe too. I’m really glad I didn’t walk past it thinking it was just another souvenir store among hundreds of those in Asakusa.

IMG_7614_meitu_13 IMG_7629_meitu_6

When you step inside, it’s as if you suddenly found yourself in the Showa era. Time-worn furniture and decorative items, old posters with geisha holding a can of cold beer…

IMG_7649_meitu_14

You can really relax here, read a newspaper or watch news on TV while sipping on a cup of coffee. Patrons of kissaten are often elderly people who live nearby and come by every now and then for some juicy gossip, a conversation with the hosts or other customers or for the feeling of nostalgia Starbucks cannot give them.

IMG_7637_meitu_10

You might think that the menu isn’t impressive — and I can confirm it. We can find tea, coffee, maybe juice. Sandwiches and pound cakes. Sometimes curry. Prices might be a bit steep, yes. There’s no Venti size or fancy stuff like wraps, tortillas or sakura flavoured cheesecakes…

IMG_7641_meitu_12

…but what you will find here is the authentic atmosphere of Japan.

I admit I do enjoy hanging out in Harajuku or Shibuya and other hip areas of Tokyo, but what will always be “the real Tokyo” for me is Shitamachi, beckoning cats, the smell of tatami mats, that lovely mish-mash of old and new.

IMG_7634_meitu_11

I do recommend Sunny Cafe, of course. It’s a little charming cafe in the heart of Asakusa. But that wasn’t the main point of this post to be honest. What is it then? If you’re visiting Japan, be sure to stop by a kissaten. Any kissaten! Go explore, the area around your hotel might hide real gems! Price-wise it’s no different from Starbucks really, cafes in Japan rarely have wifi anyway, so it’s not like you’re gonna miss out on something and you’ll see the traditional, nostalgic side of Japan…. The best Japan. 

IMG_7652_meitu_15

Thank you for reading♥

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Traditional Shitamachi Kissaten — Sunny Cafe in Asakusa!

  1. Now that I think about it, I think I have only been to one “Kissaten” in Japan over three visits! I feel bad for only going to Starbucks now. Thanks for the recommendation, I will look out for more places like this.

  2. I loooove kissatens ♡ around here tho there’s more izayakas and thats where everyone gossips, but you’ve made me miss my Kyoto days and the lovely one I found in Fushimi Inari area.
    Must find some in my area ☆

  3. Great post! I will admit that I probably have more good memories in kissaten than in big chains like Starbucks or Doutour, and this one seems like it has a lot of personality :3

  4. Very interesting to read, Thank you for sharing these special places!!! And souvenirs are so cute, especially kokeshi doll and lucky cat magnet!! 🙂

  5. Hi! I’m going to Tokyo in september and I was wondering if you know any clubs that plays K-pop that you could recommend? 🙂 Thanks in advance and I really like your blog! 🙂

  6. I have recently visited sunny coffee shop and I loved it. I do not know if you visited the restroom but there was a tiny pond with gold fish in it. Can you post or send me a picture from this tiny pond? I was so surprised to see the pond in this tiny restroom that I did not take a picture. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s