Kissaten, Japanese retro cafes 喫茶店

A Japanese-style teahouse

In the land of green tea, there is no shortage of coffee enthusiasts or "Kissaten", coffee shops. Imported to Japan in the late 1800s and the first cafe opened in the early 1900s. But it was at the beginning of the Showa era that the craze for coffee gained popularity with the emergence of kissaten, recreating the atmosphere of European cafes.

Who frequents the kissaten?

At first, these "Western" cafes were mainly frequented by young people, especially students, attracted by novelty and dreaming of the distant West. They spent hours there sipping a drink while reviewing their lessons. It was also a place where lovers dared to venture as a couple, which was still very rare in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century.

The young clientele was joined by the "salarymen " (office workers) who, having left their homes very early, often came to have a Western-style breakfast: toast, butter, jam, and coffee for a modest price. At a time when few people could listen to music at home, the kissaten also attracted music lovers who, for the price of a cup of coffee, could stay for hours listening to the selection of the owner of the place.

Nowadays, the clientele of kissaten is mainly made up of elderly people, mainly men, regulars who like to come and enjoy their coffee while smoking their cigarettes and reading the newspaper.


Coffee Shop

coffee shop

Nathan Dumlao

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