Kaido Books & Coffee was just down the street from my third (and final) hotel during my first trip to Japan in 2017. I’d done extremely well when it came to good coffee near hotels/work on that trip and Kaido (plus Blue Bottle Coffee at Shinagawa Station) was the icing on the cake. It was also a surprise, a random discovery as I explored the rather lovely residential street I was unexpected staying on. I made a few visits during my stay in 2017, popping back again on my return to Tokyo in July 2018.
Kaido Books & Coffee does what it says on the tin: a book shop combined with a coffee shop. In fairness, though, it’s more like a coffee shop with plenty of books. In fact, I didn’t see anyone buy a book the whole time I was there! It seems that the books are more for the customers to browse while lingering over coffee.
Kaido serves coffee from And Coffee Roasters and Ishikawa Coffee, with a choice of three single-origins on pour-over through the V60, one of which was also available on espresso. Kaido does a limited range of food, which includes a small cake selection.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Kaido Books & Coffee is in Kitashinagawa, a lovely, quiet residential area about 10 minutes’ walk from Shinagawa train station. Kitashinagawa’s narrow, central street is packed with local shops, restaurants and housing, with Kaido Books & Coffee, very much a local establishment, fitting in perfectly.
Occupying the first two floors of a narrow concrete structure, Kaido goes back a long way and is perhaps three times as deep as it is wide. The front, slightly set back from the street, is all glass with a sliding central door. Inside it’s mostly concrete, although the right-hand wall is painted with an interesting mural. The overall effect’s much more warm and welcoming than it sounds though, especially since it’s lined with books, the wooden furniture and comfy chairs only adding to the interior’s warmth.
The front is entirely glass, effectively one large, multi-part sliding door which opens from the left. There’s a two-person window bar in the right-hand part of the window, while a padded bench runs the length of the wall, two thin, four-person and one thin two-person tables in front of it. The left-hand wall, meanwhile, has a set of minimalist bookshelves with coffee-table books and magazines. In the middle of the room, offset to the left, is a large, square table/box, with small stools around the front/left-hand sides, while behind that a pair of armchairs, backs to the door, complete the seating.
At the back, Kaido narrows ever so slightly, two wooden steps leading up to a brick-floored area, where you’ll find the coffee part of Kaido. Dominated by the counter on the left, this brick-built beauty has the till at the front, followed by a hulking Nuova Simonelli espresso machine, then a small pour-over station for the V60s.
Right at the back, a set of stepped, square bookcases cleverly masks a concrete flight of stairs leading to the gorgeous upstairs. The atmosphere here is very different, quieter and more studious, akin to a library. The single space has been transformed by bookshelves which line every wall, also subdividing it into a series of smaller spaces.
At the back, there’s a central six-person communal table, while there’s a larger space at the front with two communal tables, six-person one followed by a four-person table. Finally, by the window, a gorgeous sofa faces into the room. There’s also a small balcony accessible via the sliding window/door, although you can’t sit out here, only stand and admire the view.
Upstairs and downstairs share the same concrete shell, but upstairs has lovely, wooden floorboards, the walls masked by the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. There are multiple power outlets too. Both floors have lots of natural light from the windows at the front, which is supplemented by multiple spotlights, particularly at back.
I made multiple visits, mostly on my first trip in 2017, although I also popped back to say hello on my return in 2018. As a result, I tried quite a lot of the coffee, including the espresso and pour-over, which was some of the best I had on both of my trips. Both times, I was sufficiently impressed to buy a bag of the respective beans to take home with me, a Yirgacheffe Wolleka in 2017 and another Ethiopian in 2018.
July 2018: this is an updated version of the original post which was published in April 2017. You can find details about the coffee in had on my initial visit in 2017 in my original post, as well as reading more about how I came to find Kaido. For details of the coffee I had on my return in 2018, as well as what had changed between the two visits, check out my Coffee Spot Update on Kaido.
December 2017: Kaido Books & Coffee was a runner-up for the 2017 Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.
|2-3-7 KITASHINAGAWA • TOKYO • 140-001 • JAPAN|
|http://kaido.tokyo||+81 (0) 3-6433-0906|
|Monday||10:30 – 17:00||Roaster||And Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||CLOSED||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs|
|Wednesday||10:30 – 22:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||10:30 – 22:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:30 – 22:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||10:30 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:30 – 19:00||Power||Yes (upstairs)|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 23rd April 2017|
|Update: 25th July 2018|
For a more local take of Kaido Books & Coffee, see this peice by Tabi Labo.
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