All posts tagged: japan

Away from Tokyo – Kuroiso Guide

One of my favourite finds is a small town in Tochigi prefecture – Kuroiso. It is connected to Tokyo via local Tokaido/Utsunomiya line (takes about 3 hours) or it can be easily reached via Tohoku Hokkaido Shinkansen in 1,5 hours (change at Nasushiobara). Even some Tokyo neighbourhoods would be the envy of this compact town which is brimming with young energy, coffee shops, top-notch bakeries, concept stores offering a wide selection of local and international fashion items, antique stores and design-minded community.

You might have come across Butter no Itoko succulent waffles in Tokyo or elsewhere that are usually sold out in their pop-ups as soon as they’re open; this Kuroiso-based business is one of the best examples of this area’s potential. I travelled to this town a couple of times, befriended some residents and shop owners and even seriously thought of moving there (affordable house prices are also a big plus). If you happen to hop on the train towards north, this secluded town should definitely be on your radar (before the tourist crowd flocks here).

Tokyo Kissaten Picks

It was about last year that I’ve started looking into the roots of café culture. While it is always exciting to find a new coffee shop before anyone else, I feel the same kind of excitement of finding a local-only café that has been preserved for hundred years. Kissaten, an old-style Japanese coffee house, is a great example of Tokyo deep-rooted passion for quality coffee. Hidden away from any sunlight, kissaten is all about you, the master and a cup of coffee. Here are the Curiosity’s three picks of top-notch kissatens in Tokyo: OLD AND NEW | Kayaba Coffee   Kayaba coffee is a fusion of ancient and modern. Located in Yanaka’s Kototoi-dori behind Ueno Park, this kissaten has been running for over 70 years. The building itself is a worth-seeing spot as it was built during the World War I in the so-called “old downtown” of Tokyo. The coffee house has survived the earthquakes and the air raids during the War and exterior remained unchanged to this day. However, the true charm of this …

Tiny Wonders of Coffee in Tokyo

In between Tokyo’s mile-high skyscrapers, a million passengers pass through every day without recognising each other. This extremely fast pace slows down in coffee shops, the smaller the better. A coffee shop with no more than three stools doesn’t invite you for lingering but rather for a short personal experience. Facing a barista and a fellow caffeine-thirsty customer surely loosens up the atmosphere and leaves you randomly chatting about what brings you here. This time I am settling down in tiny coffee shops with serious-minded coffee makers. … COFFEE AND ICE CREAM | Little Nap Coffee Stand On the back side of Yoyogi park, Little Nap Coffee Stand is not easy to find but people make their way to this side of Tokyo just to sip its coffee. Having featured in many publications, this coffee shop is a popular destination for tourists, both Japanese and foreigners. Little Nap Coffee Stand is run by Daisuke Hamada and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he is one of the most recognised baristas in Tokyo. Hamada is involved in every aspect of running a …

Slowing Down the Pace – Minka Cafe

First-time travellers to Japan usually choose Kamakura, the small version of Kyoto, just one hour away by train from Tokyo centre. Traditional century-aged Zen temples, the Great Buddha statue and Edo period small alleys every year attract thousands of tourists to the city. But those who search for the true roots of Zen in the former de facto capital find themselves in the West part of the town, Kita-Kamakura. Despite being a home to three of the five highest-ranking Zen temples, this part of the town dwells with tranquility without a trace of mass tourism. *** While you would easily find the way to temples here without a map, Minka Cafe is hidden like a well-kept secret in Kamakura’s greenery. In Japanese, a word Minka describes the type of traditional Japanese house building style which could still be found in the countryside. Yet Kita-Kamakura’s Minka represents a literal meaning of the term – houses of the people – which kindly accommodates anyone who steps inside.     The place fills up with customers very quickly as soon as it opens. Usually locals or nearby-living moms with toddlers settle for a conversation and …

The Unique Nature of Green Tea

Myths, Facts and Philosophy A tea master purifies himself by splashing some cold water on his hands and then humbly takes a tea whisk. A sacred atmosphere fills the room when a tea artisan contemplates over a bowl of Japanese green tea, known as matcha. A tea ceremony, Chado, is not dedicated to consuming a tea. This combination of an art and a spiritual discipline is all about aesthetics. … Still an oddity to the West, Japanese green tea slowly gains a worldwide popularity with its claiming health benefits, rather than a cultural practice. While legend has it that green tea was ‘discovered’ in China in 2737 BC, it was only in the 16th century that tea reached the West as explorers visited Asia. Traditional Chinese medicine has been using green tea for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression. Now commonly recognised as a ‘superfood’, green tea has special health-giving benefits because of the way it is processed. Despite that, black tea leaves are the most commonly drunk type of tea in the …

Best Shonan Coffee Stands (コーヒースタンド)

Take-and-go or stay for a while. Coffee stands are extremely popular in busy Tokyo where the pace of life is so fast. However, Shonan is quite newly adopting this idea of coffee shops as beach side folks are much more laid-back. Coffee stands in Shonan differ from urban city ones; they are much more slower and personal. Scroll down for the list of the greatest 5 coffee stands around the coast. 1. 27 Coffee Roasters (27コーヒーロースターズ) Coffee stand + Roasting works + Espresso lab. It is not cramped like usual coffee shops. 27 Coffee Roasters is spacious enough to wander around freely, check magazines, coffee goods and try coffee itself. There are 14 kinds of coffee beans displayed in 3 stages: raw green beans, already roasted and brewed coffee. Feel free to try them! For latte/cappuccino they use fruity Columbia Omar Collazos that is said to be the best coffee match with milk. 27 Coffee Roasters espresso+milk is really extraordinary; sweet, creamy, but at the same time very light and ‘noncommittal’. As for seating, there are 7 seats outside …

A Game With Geometry

The Curioisity presents you one more minimalist house project by Japanese architects – Koya No Sumika. Japanese design company mA-style Architects designed the unique space with a roof as a series of V-shaped frames. Small attic space is divided by a triangular roof at this house extension that creates a spacious and bright atmosphere.

The Sound of 50s

When you first hear the name of coffee shop like LC-1A, it does not stuck to your memory straight away. The mystical letters and numbers do not give you a clue what it is all about. You make a guess, such as LC-1A might stand for ‘Love Coffee – First Aspiration’ but actually you have no clue. It is much more simple than that and this complicated name is a coffee master’s big life passion – vintage speakers.

The simplicity of MUJI

The most famous Japanese ‘No Brand Quality Goods’ company, MUJI, cooperating with Japanese architects created a spacious design house in Tokyo. The house itself looks like a small and narrow building from the outside, but thanks to to clever solutions applied by MUJI, the design fascinates with its light and airy space.

Most Unique Starbucks in Japan

Even if most of us quietly blame Starbucks for being too capitalistic mass production and materialising the precious coffee culture, that is where we go first if quick refresh caffeine needed. In cities like London a great number of independent coffee shops is rapidly growing and Londoners will rather choose their cup of joe in there. However, Starbucks does not seem even a little bit less crowded no matter where it is located. In Japan the image of Starbucks has still not been conquered by local coffee shops. With its great popularity, it is a place of relax, study, meeting and one of those rear places for free Wi-Fi around Japan. Sometimes Starbucks’ ‘fast coffee’ space with just stools and tables transforms into artistic design space. Here is the list of 3 stores in Japan that particularly stand out of the crowd with their uniqueness.

A bouquet of sunshine

Where to start and where to finish. Let me begin by saying that PIPIPI is the most adorable and personal cafe I have ever been to. Japanese are well known for their madness for cute things, also known as kawaii culture. However, when you take a train from Tokyo towards South, the understanding of ‘cute’ is absolutely different. Colourful clothes, hand-made decorations, vintage teaspoons, flowers and anything basically related to beach – those are some of the things that are highly appreciated and referred as cute in Shonan.


Caffeine addicted Tokyoites make their way towards Southern Beach in order to fuel themselves with positive energy and great coffee. Surfers and locals beloved coffee shops’ popularity is growing on a national scale with those who are craving for summer vibes. Let me take you to surfing and beach inspired hidden coffee shop and gallery – YUYU atelier gallery café.