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Kiyosumi-Shirakawa – Tokyo’s Coffee Capital! Explore 6 Must-see Shops Where Nostalgia Meets Modernity

Kiyosumi-Shirakawa – Tokyo’s Coffee Capital! Explore 6 Must-see Shops Where Nostalgia Meets Modernity

Date published: 6 June 2019
Last updated: 10 July 2020

Kiyosumi-Shirakawa in Tokyo’s Koto City is part of the older Fukagawa neighborhood, and also belongs to the even more ancient working-class shitamachi area.

These ancient roots can be seen in the local temples and shrines, and the Kiyosumi Garden. The area is also home to Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and the beautiful scenery of the Sumida River. Many the hundreds of shops throughout Kiyosumi-Shirakawa have been converted from old warehouses and factories giving the area new life as a blend of classical and modern neighborhoods.

Since the arrival of American-based Blue Bottle Coffee in 2014, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa has become home to numerous coffee shops, further shaping the area’s unique charm. However, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa’s modern attractions certainly don’t stop at coffee shops.

Here you’ll find six more shops and restaurants that will allow you to discover more of the culture and essence of Kiyosumi-Shirakawa!

How to get to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa:
Take the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line or Toei Subway Oedo Line to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station.

The must-visit sights and shops of Kiyosumi-Shirakawa
This article recommends that everyone come to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa not to be missed, must visit the attractions, shops and food:

Must visit stores and attractions:
・Kiyosu Bridge – Exotic European style craftsmanship with nearly 100 years of history
・KAWA TERRACE – A cool platform on the banks of the Sumida River
・Aobado – Beautiful ceramic serving ware in a variety of styles

Must eat food:
・TEAPOND – The place for specialty black teas
・PITMANS – BBQ and craft beer specialists with stunning views

Excellent Coffee and Brunch:
・iki ESPRESSO TOKYO – Popular for creative coffee and high-quality brunch

Excellent Coffee and Brunch: iki ESPRESSO TOKYO

Excellent Coffee and Brunch: iki ESPRESSO TOKYO

From the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line or the Oedo Line Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station Exit A1, take a stroll along the quiet street and you’ll soon find iki ESPRESSO TOKYO.

Originally a popular coffee shop located in Chigasaki, Kanagawa it relocated to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa in January 2016 where it quickly gained notoriety through word of mouth.

The owner, Mr. Hara, met his wife in New Zealand and they decided to bring the coffee and brunch culture popular in New Zealand and Australia to Japan. In addition to professionally prepared coffee, iki ESPRESSO TOKYO serves a variety of excellent choices including hot muffins, French toast, Eggs Benedict, cinnamon rolls, cakes, and pies.

Flat White, 450 yen (tax included)
Ricotta Hotcakes, 1,350 yen (tax included)

One of the more popular beverages served in the shop is flat white. Loved by coffeemakers in New Zealand, Australia, and the world over, flat white is is espresso with steamed milk microfoam added.

It’s similar to a latte, but uses less milk. The offerings of iki ESPRESSO TOKYO aren’t limited to coffee – their foods and desserts are amazing!

The thick Ricotta Hotcakes soufflé are cooked to order, and freshly baked are very satisfying and mouth-watering. Iki ESPRESSO TOKYO is a lovely place to find a comfortable corner to sit and relax, or read a book, and enjoy a quiet moment of serenity.

    • Address 2-2-12 Tokiwa, koto-ku, Tokyo 1350006, Japan
    • Hours: 08:00 - 19:00

A Black Tea Paradise: TEAPOND

A Black Tea Paradise: TEAPOND

In the afternoon, the warm sunlight reflects off the window of the TEAPOND shop front and invites one to enter and browse their ample variety of fine black teas. The interior isn’t large, but has the elegance and taste of an English teahouse. It’s a small pocket of coziness in the heart of a busy city.

The proprietors of TEAPOND, Mr. Mita and Mr. Fujimoto, have more than 10 years of experience working with black tea. Utilizing their professional knowledge and experience, they carefully select some of the finest black teas from all over the globe and sell more than 60 varieties in the store.

The enchanting aroma of tea fills the shop, and both caffeinated and non-caffeinated teas are available. Should you have any questions, Mr. Mita and Mr. Fujimoto are happy to explain in detail the characteristics of each tea, which are suitable for hot or cold drinks, which to drink with or without milk, etc.

TEAPOND sells tea by the bag or in elegant hand-painted tins. Their many seasonal teas and tea collections are perfect for personal use or for gift giving!

Top, left to right: Earl Grey Series – EARL GREY ROYAL MILK (アールグレイロイヤルミルク), 907 yen; EARL GREY BLUE BIRD (アールグレイブルーバード), 972 yen; EARL GREY AUTHENTIC (アールグレイオーセンティック), 972 yen Bottom, left to right: Flower Fruit Tea Series – NORDIC BERRIES (ノルディックベリー), 972 yen; RUBY NILE (ルビーナイル), 972 yen; WINTER LAND (ウィンターランド), 972 yen; GARDEN OF FRAGRANCE (香りの庭), 972 yen (Prices for bagged tea, including tax)

One of the most popular TEAPOND seasoned teas is “Earl Grey Bluebird.” With classic black tea leaves as a base, it blends the fresh aroma of bergamot, the fainter aroma of cornflowers and the aromatic oriental fruit to give it a rich, fruity aroma.

When brewed, the tea is a clear, rosy amber color, pleasing to the eye. It warms the body, produce a relaxed mood, and can even sooth stomach discomfort. Earl Grey Bluebird is also great for making iced tea during the heat of summer. If you prefer low- or no- caffeine tea, the flower and fruit tea series is an excellent choice, the most popular of which is “Garden of Fragrance.”

Made from pomelo, lemon, and mandarin orange, it has a sweet scent and has a refreshingly gentle, slightly sour fruit flavor. Bright pink when brewed, it’s perfect for hot or iced tea, with a bit of sugar or honey, or before bedtime.

    • Address 1-1-11 Shirakawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo 1350021, Japan
    • Hours: 11:00 - 19:00, closed Monday

Artistic Modern and Traditional Dining Ware: Aobado

Artistic Modern and Traditional Dining Ware: Aobado

Aobado is a ceramic tableware shop located on a quiet street in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa. The small store space is filled with the warmth of the owner's warm hospitality.

Looking through the large windows at the front of the store, passers-by will get a great view of a softly-lit shop filled with elegant dishes and utensils.

The owner, Ms. Shibata grew up in the area and has been in business for over 15 years. She presents her customers with traditional serving ware gathered from all over Japan including Arita, Kyushu; Kyoto; Kutani, Ishikawa; and Mino, Gifu.

Many of the cooking dishes, bowls, tea sets on sale are produced by artisans with over 100 years of history, and all feature the exquisite craftsmanship and aesthetics of Japanese handmade porcelain.

Top left: Large sake flask, 2,592 yen; Small sake flask, 1,944 yen; Sake bowl, 1,296 yen; Sake cup, 1,404 yen Top right: Dinner plate, 1,620 yen; Soup, 1,836 yen Bottom left: Medium Plate, 3,888 yen; Mino Simmering Dish, 3,780 yen; Modern bowl, 2,160 yen Bottom right: Majorca pot, 2,700 yen; Kazura pot, 4,536 yen (All prices include tax)

Whether you’re looking for traditional Japanese, minimalist, or European styles or something cute and colorful, Aobado has the perfect ceramic dining ware to bring warmth and exquisite beauty to your table. And with seasonal items for sale at a good price, you’re sure to find an excellent balance of quality and aesthetics that will bring a smile to your face.

  • Aobado
    • Address 1-1-1 Shirakawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo 1350021, Japan
    • Hours: 10:30 - 19:00

Engineering Romance With Nearly 100 Years of History: Kiyosu Bridge

Engineering Romance With Nearly 100 Years of History: Kiyosu Bridge

As a counterbalance to the natural beauty of Kiyosumi Garden, Kiyosu Bridge is wonderful example of man-made beauty.

Only a 5-minute walk from Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station’s Exit B1, the bridge was modeled after the Deutz Suspension Bridge spanning the Rhine River in Germany.

One of the most distinctive landmarks in the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, this prestigious bridge has been in use since 1928 is listed as an important cultural property, and has featured in numerous Japanese films.

Kiyosu Bridge is an excellent place to appreciate many facets of the Sumida River. Nearby riverside parks and trails are ideal for leisure with friends, family, or pets. From the bridge you can take in a view of Tokyo SkyTree, or just watch the boats travelling up and down the river. The slow pace and depth of beauty surrounding Kiyosu Bridge should not be missed when you’re in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa.

  • Kiyosu Bridge
    • Address Chuo-ku, Edo-ku Tokyo

Cool Breezes and a Panoramic River View: KAWA TERRACE

Cool Breezes and a Panoramic River View: KAWA TERRACE

In addition to the park and trails on either side of the Sumida River, the KAWA TERRACE observation deck is a great ways to appreciate the scenery near the Kiyosu Bridge.

Found on the 2nd floor of THE SHARE HOTELS LYURO TOKYO KIYOSUMI, the terrace is open to the public; not only hotel guests.

Open from early morning until midnight, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the river throughout the day, whether it’s the afterglow of the golden sunset or the dazzling lights along the riverbank at night. In summer, it’s a great place to catch a refreshing cool breeze!

    • Address 2F 1-1-7 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 1350024, Japan
    • Hours: 07:00 - 24:00

BBQ and Craft Beer Specialists: PITMANS

BBQ and Craft Beer Specialists: PITMANS

Also located on the 2nd floor of LYURO TOKYO KIYOSUMI, PITMANS opened in the spring of 2017. The restaurant’s name is a reference to barbecue experts, known as “pit masters,” and specializes in BBQ and craft beer.

PITMANS insists on using fresh and superior ingredients to provide healthy and delicious BBQ prepared with professional smoking techniques. Their relaxed dining terrace is an ideal place to take in the view of the Sumida River all while enjoying the sumptuous buffet or à la carte menu.

Left: PITMANS LUNCH (11:00 – 14:30 on Weekdays) (Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken Steak, Grilled Pork Ribs, or Pizza + Fruit and Vegetable Salad), 1,000 - 1,800 yen; KIYOSUMI Amber Beer S 600 yen, M 900 yen, L 1,200 yen (excluding tax)

All the dishes are made with high-quality fresh meat with just the right amount of seasoning. It is tender, sweet, and juicy, and every bite is the epitome of dining satisfaction.

The lunchtime salad bar includes about 10 kinds of pesticide-free vegetables and fruit organically cultivated by trusted producers and delivered fresh each day.

PITMANS also features 7 craft beers including “Kiyosumi Amber Beer,” which is light and smooth with a slightly bitter aftertaste that’s accompanied by a faint fruity fragrance. Kiyosumi and the other 6 varieties of beer can also be sampled during the August Beer Tasting (2,000 yen).

If you like a relaxed dining atmosphere and want to enjoy a variety of healthy vegetable meals, succulent barbecue, and superb beer, please make PITMANS an unforgettable part of your Kiyosumi-Shirakawa tour!

    • Address 2F 1-1-7 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 1350024, Japan
    • Hours: 7:00 - 10:00, 11:00 - 14:30 (L.O. 14:00), 17:00 - 22:30 (L.O. 22:00)
      *Noon meal time on weekdays 11:00~14:30
      (The above prices do not include tax)

Full of the centuries-old history and rich regional characteristics of the Edo period, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is a place both humanity and history. With the intimacy and enthusiasm of the residents, the slow-paced life, many high-quality coffee shops, specialized shops operated by passionate professionals, old shopping streets, art galleries, and scenic spots, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa will provide you with many fond memories. You’ll find that only one visit is definitely not enough – come and explore the style, sights, and stories of every lane!

Text: Yu. English by Gabriel Wilkinson.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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