Culture: Japanese Coffee Shop | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Culture: Japanese Coffee Shop

By Guidable Writers Aug 1, 2016

In Japanese cities, we can see foreigners who seem to like our culture, especially Nipponbashi may be the spot that even we Japanese are also being surprised to see the culture there. According to the famous guidebook, there is a sentence as follows. “Otaku is geek, nerd or freak in English. The Otaku hang out mostly in the Akihabara area, Tokyo and Nipponbashi area, Osaka”. Maybe this expression is right. But, precisely the expression ”Nerd” or “Freaks” is not enough words to express the nuance of Otaku itself. You must be surprised at the wide diversity of Japanese Otaku in itself. I recommend you to have a skim through this book. ”One-minute English Speeches about Japan”


スクリーンショット 2016-08-01 2.30.10(Reference:


Near the area of Nipponbasi in Namba, there is an area many coffee shops standing around. The picture below is the coffee shop called “Oranda”. In Japanese word “Oranda” means the Netherlands. You can find this kind of many curious names. This ordinary coffee shops are called “Kissa-ten” in Japanese.



To add a short introductory story about coffee shops, Kissa-ten is divided into two different style. One is Kissa-ten, which means a tea room, the other one is Jun-Kissa which means ordinary coffee shop in English. Generally, Jun-Kissa provide only coffee and others menu is also something to drink with coffee. On the contrary, Kissa-ten provide not only coffee but also alcohols. The Chinese writing (Kanji), “Jun” concludes the meaning of “pure”. This must be something we can guess about it. (Above is just my point of view.)

And interestingly, sometimes we can find a very strict shop owner at Jun-Kissa, she (or he) offers a one kind of discipline to the customers. Some strict shop owner may say, ”Do not leave a food on your plate, please.” This kind of atmosphere in the shop is totally different from other franchised coffee shops. Of course, you don’t have to argue with shop owners. So what shall we do? You do not have to be too much politely. You only have to be in a civil manner.


And, there is a phrase, “master”, this is a typical Japanese English. If I would translate it into English. “A shop owner” supposed to be an appropriate one. When elder men or ladies talk with owner in their coffee shop, they sometimes call owners “master”, with a nuance of little respect and familiarity. This phrase is also little bit different from compellation like “Sir” or “Mir”.

If you call the owner, “master”, one gentle owner may smile on you and be curious about you or your country. It may be a big moment in a small “Jun-Kissa”.