Japan may be best known abroad for sushi and shrines, but a favourite pastime among the locals is café-hopping. People often spend afternoons strolling around neighbourhoods seeking out the coolest hangouts. With so many places to choose from, it’s easy to be lured in by cute decor only to be bummed out by bad coffee. Don’t trust fate, let Culture Trip help you out with this guide to Osaka’s trendiest – and tastiest – cafés.
Nestled right in the middle of Osaka’s trendy Minami Semba area, this bright and airy café feels like a Japanese oasis. This isn’t the place to come for a quick coffee; the highlight is the traditional Japanese teas. The entire space is dedicated to Japanese aesthetics: matcha is prepared in the same style as in a tea ceremony, a small Japanese confectionary called wagashi is served and there are displays of ceramics from new artists each month. If you really want to treat yourself, do not pass up the shaved ice in traditional flavours like green tea or brown sugar.
Simultaneously an espresso stand and a bicycle parts and repair shop, this is a great place to relax, recharge and browse to your heart’s content. Try the famous espresso and enjoy the thick and nutty flavour while meandering among the wares or through the nearby Horie neighbourhood (there isn’t much seating inside). From cycling accessories to ergonomic backpacks to customisable bike frames and wheels, this shop surely has something both bicycle aficionados and casual cyclists can enjoy.
In a country brimming with over-roasted coffee, LiLo Coffee Roasters is heaven for those who want a lightly roasted brew. This tiny café right outside of Amerikamura has some of the best coffee in the region. The beans are lovingly roasted by the owner, who has dedicated himself to good coffee. The cold brew is not to be passed up and you can choose the quality of the bean (and price) for your cup. It’s worth splurging on the premium coffee for 550 yen (£4) if you want to really appreciate how good LiLo’s coffee is.
One of the original hip cafés in town and the brainchild of TRUCK Furniture’s Tokuhiko Kise and Hiromi Karatsu, Bird Coffee may be a little out of the way from central Osaka but it’s worth the trip (plus, it’s near an incredible park). Siphon-brewed coffee and specially made doughnuts are served hot and fresh daily. The new menu, following its renewal in early 2018, also includes hot sandwiches that pair well with coffee or beer. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful Osaka-made furniture both inside the café and at TRUCK right across the street.
Though tucked away in suburban Nishitanabe, Shin Shin Sha has become Instagram and IRL famous for its adorable watermelon flavour shaved ice. While best known for its desserts, the entrées are excellent, too. There are Indian-inspired curries served with whole wheat chapati and fresh salad. They even offer chapati rolls, a cute take on the sandwich wrap. While good coffee is on the menu as well, do not miss the houji (a type of Japanese tea) chai. Shin Shin Sha hosts workshops on metalworking and has some of their own handmade brass pieces available for purchase.
As one of Osaka’s newest and hippest cafés, The Pie Shop is the first of its kind in the area. Besides tasty drinks like lattes and iced matcha, this shop serves one food and one food only: American-style pies. There are a variety of flavours like salted caramel and strawberry balsamic, but the salted honey pie is perhaps their most delicious. Don’t forget to get it à la mode for that extra decadent touch. They offer pies to go, but the cute steampunk interior with its bright neon signs is a nice place to people-watch in the trendy Shinsaibashi neighbourhood.
Green West stands out in a neighbourhood known for hip, independent cafés. Tucked away on a tiny side street in Nakazakicho, the place looks more like a house in the American countryside than a Japanese coffee shop. Inside, it is decorated with retro furniture and vintage wallpaper and you can watch trains go by from the second-floor windows. The menu includes delicious versions of international foods like taco rice and nasi goreng. Green West also has a well-stocked bar and can make quite a few mixed drinks.