By Tara Milk Tea
Everyone is always asking about Tokyo food, and I figured if I’m going to do this, why not make my first food list about all the Instagrammable spots. So here you have it! Below is a list of what I’ve tried, when I tried it, where it is, and roughly how much it costs. I hope this will help for your next Tokyo journey!
I would also love to know, what are your Tokyo favourites for ‘Instagrammable cafes’? There’s a whole range of others I’m dying to check out! Perhaps I’ll do a part two in future!
Dominique Ansel Bakery (Omotesando)
I remember my first visit to a Dominique Ansel Bakery. It was NYC’s Soho shop with my friend Patricia. It was the first time I was able to taste Dominique Ansel’s world famous creation – the cronut! I’ve since visited the Dominique Ansel Tokyo Café twice, once in summer, and most recently in winter. I love that they always have themed sweets to try, such as the Valentine’s specials you’ll see below. While we were there, there was a Central Park Winter special for two on the menu, which included lobster rolls (amazing ones), soup, pastries, and biscuits, all served in the cutest little picnic basket, complete with blanket! I find that the quality of the food here is always next level, which is why I keep coming back for more.
The Omotesando shop is the larger of the two Dominique Ansel Bakeries in Tokyo. Downstairs is usually for take away/on the go diners, while upstairs is reserved for those who wish to have the full, and quieter experience. There is also a shop in Ginza, however I have not been to this one, I just know that it is smaller.
Must try: Their cheese toastie is to die for! You also need to order a blooming hot chocolate to be mind blown, and also a cronut is a must if you’ve not had his before! Oh, and a cookie shot too. And the pastries of course – at least one! Sorry if this over complicates your order!
Time of visit: August & February (Summer & Winter)
Cost: A tart/dessert from Dominique Ansel Bakery will cost roughly 1000yen. A standard meal will set you back by about 3000-4000yen, depending on your order.
Address: 5-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Alfred Tea Room (Omotesando)
Originally from LA, Alfred Tea Room is the cutest café thanks to its girly charm and cute slogans. Here, you can order from a large selection of teas and coffees, all served in very Instagrammable cups! Not only are they pretty, but they taste good too! The famous ‘pink drink’ tastes like cinnamon, but we also ordered the strawberry (very very sweet), which was my personal fav. Aoyama has a spacious interior upstairs, where you’ll find so many local Tokyo women dress so elegantly and sipping their lattes. Oh how I love Tokyo for this!
You can also find a store in Shinjuku.
Time of visit: February
Cost: roughly 600-800yen per drink
Address: 1F/2F La Porte Aoyama, 5-51-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Hours: Open every day 9:00-21:00
Ice Monster (Omotesando)
This is probably less Instagrammable than others on this list, but Ice Monster still looks really good and tastes even better! Originally from Taiwan, Ice Monster serves up a range of amazing shaved ice desserts. It’s the kind of dessert that melts instantly in your mouth. My personal favourite was the chocolate one that we ordered, which was a Valentine’s special.
At the time we visited Ice Monster, it was called ‘Hot Monster’ to promote seasonal hot winter desserts and a collaboration with the famous chocolate brand, Van Houten.
Time of visit: February
Cost: A dessert here will cost you roughly 1000yen
Address: 6-3-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00-21:00 (last order 20:30)
Reissue Cafe (Harajuku)
I’ve been to Reissue café four times this past year. We usually make a stop here after a full day of shopping in Harajuku/Omotesando. Why? You can get latte art here, and pretty much any design you like! Prior to your visit, I recommend looking up online what you would like, because they are very skilled at recreating pretty much anything.
This café is cash payment only. And they do expect each person to order a drink, not one between two. On one occasion I found the staff to be quite cold, but that hasn’t stopped me from going back for my latte art!
You can order your latte art in a range of drinks from hot chocolate, to honey lattes, to regular lattes. Someone had noted that you can’t get soy milk here, but that’s usually not part of my order so I can’t confirm this.
Time of visit: February
Cost: A drink here will cost you roughly 600-1100 yen, the higher end for if you choose to get latte art.
Address: 3-25-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Hours: 10:00-18:00 (last order 17:30)
Eddy’s Ice Cream (Harajuku)
Located in Harajuku, Eddy’s Ice Cream allows you to choose the cutest ice creams, or create your own. I find these to be so, well, Japanese! It’s Harajuku in an ice cream, basically. Everything is pastel and cute here, including the interior of the shop. You can select from their regular menu, where they have ice cream designs all ready to go, or make a custom cone, with a range of chocolate and cookie motifs, including unicorns, bows, and cat themed treats, and even letters. I’ve seen many people spell out their name. I think the customisation element is also part of reason there’s usually a line out the door.
The ice cream itself is not the best I’ve had, you can choose between vanilla and strawberry, or mixed. The chocolate is also quite waxy in texture. However, I still eat all of it every time. I like to dip the cookies in the ice cream while we walk through Omotesando!
Cost: An ice cream will cost you roughly 900-1300yen (quite expensive), depending on your order and customization! Don’t forget to bring cash as they don’t accept card payments.
Address: 1F 4-26-28 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Hours: 11:00- 20:00
Urth Caffe is another Los Angeles special that has been brought to life in Omotesando. I had tried the one in LA before heading to the Tokyo shop, knowing it to be famous for the green tea boba from my LA pals. Little did I know that the Tokyo Urth Caffe has so much more to offer, like fruity parfaits, and Japanese style fluffy pancakes.
You’ll want to head here early if you don’t want to wait too long! It gets very busy during the afternoons, even on weekdays. If you are dining in, you have to line up first to grab a table. Once you are seated, you have to line up again to place your order. If you are ordering a parfait, or one of the highly requested dishes (pancakes, waffles etc), sometimes it takes an hour for the food to come out. I suggest sending a friend straight to the order line, while you wait in the first line for a table. Hope that helps!
Cost: The price of two desserts and two parfaits at Urth Caffe is 7290yen. A strawberry parfait alone costs 1890yen.
Time of visit: August & February (Summer & Winter)
Address: SO-CAL LINK OMOTESANDO 4-9-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0001
Hours: 10:00–20:00 (last order 19:00)
Santa Monica Crepes (Harajuku)
All throughout Takeshita Street, you will find delicious crepes to be had! There’s a huge selection, but I’m simply recommending Santa Monica Crepes for the Instagram element. The shop front is really cute, so it’s perfect for snaps if you’re there just before it opens/a line develops.
Cost: From around 400 yen for a Regular Crepe, more for a Whip Cream Crepe Brulee
Address: Je m’appelle Harajuku Building, 1-16-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001,
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-21:30, weekends and public holidays 9:30-22:00
Totti Candy Factory
Probably one of the most Instagrammed spots I’ve seen on Takeshita Street. Totti Candy Factory serves up Fairy Floss, aka Cotton Candy! It comes out looking like a rainbow fluffy cloud, now tell me that doesn’t sound like it was made for Instagram. The flavor is berry. It’s perfect for winter because it won’t melt, but if you get in in summer you better eat it real quick!
Cost: From 450-900 yen for cotton candy, 400 yen for a cake pop
Address: RYU Apartment 2F 1-16-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0001
Hours: Weekdays 10:30–20:00, weekends and public holidays 9:30-20:00, weekdays during winter (Nov-Jan) 10:30-19:00
Starbucks (Shibuya Tsutaya)
Starbucks? What? So why is it on the list? Well my friends, Starbucks in Japan is a little different to Starbucks in the rest of the world. Firstly, if you enjoy people watching, you need to get a seat at the Starbucks on the corner of Shibuya crossing. It’s weirdly mesmerizing and worth a photo/timelapse video. Secondly, if you enjoy a drink, check out the seasonal specials that they have to offer. They currently have an offering of a Sakura Strawberry Pink Mochi Frappuccino! And while I’ve been there during Christmas and Halloween, they also have awesome specials.
Time of visit: April, December & February (Spring, Autumn & Winter)
Address: QFRONT Udagawacho 21-6 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042
Not going to give you the full lowdown on this one because McDonald’s is what it is. But just like Starbucks, if you happen to walk past, check out what drinks they’ve got going on because they’ve also got a whole bunch of seasonal offerings. See last year’s Sakura special below!
Cafe Kitsuné (Café Kitsuné at Aoyama)
While shopping in one of the must luxurious areas for high end designers in Tokyo, we made a visit to Cafe Kitsuné. Originating from France, Maison Kistuné is a famous brand known for their simple but quality designs. At the cafe you can order a light meal, but everyone is known to take a photo with the iconic type logo, usually holding their branded coffee or iced latte to go.
Address: 3-17-1 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Hours: ⋅ Mon-Sun 9:00–19:00