Blue Sky Coffee

Both the easiest and hardest to find, Blue Sky Coffee is right next to Inokashira Pond but hidden behind lush greenery. Probably the first thing that catches your eye will be the Wizard of Oz painting (it changes with the seasons), and then you’ll make out the cute old wooden house that has been overtaken by greenery. Blue Sky Coffee does only takeaway in its iconic cups depicting the swan boats of Inokashira Pond. The beans are roasted in-house, resulting in deep flavorful almost chocolatey coffee that Blue Sky is proud of. The coffee drinks use high-quality espresso shots but are more affordable than most specialty coffee shops. There’s also cocoa, seasonal flavors such as maple latte, and for a stronger pick-me-up, there’s even a selection of wines and beers. Blue Sky Coffee also offers unbearably cute cat-shaped doughnuts that are entirely vegan.

Note that this store has a policy that you can only take photos only after ordering a drink. During heavy rain, they close even if they are usually open on that day. Additionally, they are often closed during the cherry blossom season because they are located in an overwhelmingly busy spot of the park. It’s best to check their Twitter before going.

Ryumon Coffee Stand

A few minutes walk from Kichijoji station, this sliver of a house serves great specialty single-origin coffee. The espresso-based drinks of Ryumon Coffee Stand are top-notch, served with cakes and muffins in a clean, minimalist space. There are a few seats next to the counter and a comfy sofa on the second floor. Of course, you can take the coffee to go in a highly Instagrammable cup with a cute wonky drawing of the Ryumon house.

Coffee fans can feel free to ask the friendly owner and barista for the single-origin beans used, or ask for any tweaks. Superfans can buy Ryumon merchandise like T-shirts and tote bags, both in-store and online.

Note that this place has recently gained popularity, so expect to line up on weekends. 

Light Up Coffee

This blue beacon signals great coffee at the end of the lively Nakamichi shopping street. Patrons often sit on the front steps, some sipping espresso from Light Up‘s signature blue cups, often combined with the legendary tofu-based doughnuts from Hara Doughnuts next door. Light Up Coffee is one of those coffee shops that know exactly what they’re doing – and they share that knowledge with you. You can choose a preparation method, ask for tweaks, and always get a card informing you of the beans’ origin. Light Up also often does brewing workshops and tasting sessions open to everyone. They are passionate about educating the community on coffee culture. After all, the owners’ motto is “Coffee Light Ups Your Life.”  

Light Up Coffee is all about bravely experimenting too, so apart from classic drinks, they often have seasonal offerings like coffee jelly latte, espresso mikan soda, coffee cola and more. Beans and bottled drinks are sold in the store and online.

Light Up has another store in Shimokitazawa, but Kichijoji is their original location.

Blackwell Coffee

Closer to the classic Japanese kissaten charm, Blackwell Coffee doesn’t do espresso. However, they attract coffee lovers with their high-quality pour-over from carefully selected and in-house roasted beans. If you want in on this, you can create your own custom-made blend that they will serve you each time you visit. Apart from this special service, all patrons have a say in the roasting degree, the master welcomes any coffee-related questions.

Further updating classic Japanese coffee shops, Blackwell Coffee is bravely experimenting with desserts like coffee zenzai – a traditional Japanese dessert that has been newly caffeinated. Their eclectic menu also has proper bagels that are highly recommended and Blackwell Coffee often runs out of them at some point in the day. The shop interior mixes the dark wood ambient of a dimly lit kissaten with modern hipster coffee shops’ big bright windows. Best of both worlds. Perfect for reading a book while people-watching on Nakamichi Street.

B Squared Coffee

The “B” stands for both beans and bread, as this coffee shop doubles as a fresh roastery and a bakery. The flagship store is in Kiyosumi, while this Kichijoji shop opened at the end of October 2022 on the first floor of the renovated Excel Hotel Tokyu. With New Zealander Brandon Sayring as Head Roaster, B² (B Squared) Coffee has devoted fans, and the shop’s flat white leaves no room for criticism. The coffee shop also offers pour-over, espresso tonic, and more. Those who like to sip their morning brew at home can purchase beans too.

And the baked goods don’t lag behind either. Here you’ll find sourdough, focaccia, donuts, and croissant dough cinnamon rolls, to mention just a few popular items. On some days, there’s a scrumptious sourdough bread and avocado toast brunch, as well as other rotating lunch options. Finally, both the inside and the outside terrace spaces offer ample space to drink your coffee in peace.

Honorable Mentions

If you need more Kichijoji coffee recommendations, here is our B-side list. 

Tsuru Coffee Roasters on Nakamichi Street is opposite Blackwell and also offers classic kissaten vibes.

Similarly, there is Kugutsusou, an underground cave-like coffee shop, located in Kichijoji Sunroad, famous for its pour-over coffee and Japanese curry.

Live Coffee is on the way to Ryumon and they roast coffee beans in-store.

Lastly, although Cafe Zenon is not known as a coffee shop and it’s more famous for the manga publisher running it, they serve a great latte that comes close to specialty coffee shops. 

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