EXPLORE TOKYO

A Half-Century-Old Cafe That Roasts Its Own Coffee Beans

INTERVIEW

Tajimaya Coffee
Owner Yuichi Kurata



COFFEE SHOP
1-2-6 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023
03-3342-0881
http://tajimaya-coffeeten.com/
 I was born in Kabukicho and raised in Shinjuku until the fourth grade. After Kabukicho became a red-light district, I moved to Nakano. My impression of Nishi Shinjuku is that it is a business district. There used to be a water treatment plant near Shinjuku Central Park, where the hotel is located, as well as hot springs called Shinjuku Juniso Hot Springs. There are unfortunately a lot of places that relocated or went out of business after the skyscrapers were built.
 This coffee shop was originally a women’s clothing store, but since it was difficult to compete with the Odakyu Department Store, it made a new start as a coffee shop in 1964. Initially, there were a lot of customers who came because it was a new type of coffee shop at the time, but similar coffee shops gradually started popping up, so we decided to start roasting coffee in-house in 1987. Currently, we operate five coffee shops, including four in Shinjuku and one in Kichijoji, and sell various products such as coffee beans and drip bags online as well as wholesale coffee beans.
 Shinjuku is a diverse, rapidly-changing neighborhood, but also one where strong communal bonds remain. This is particularly true between shops. One of our signature offerings is a type of traditional Japanese sweet with red beans called dorayaki that is made by a nearby confectionery, Tokiya, which also served as the inspiration for the dorayaki featured in the popular anime Doraemon. It goes really well with our coffee. We also participate in the local Kumano Shrine festival every September.
 What’s great about Shinjuku is its casual, relaxed atmosphere, and we try to create a welcoming atmosphere in our shop so people can easily stop by. We also strive to offer something special. Every coffee cup that we use is different and unique, and we choose cups based on what we feel suits each customer. I hope they pause from their cell phones and computers long enough to enjoy the experience. I love antiques and put a lot of thought into choosing the shop’s interior decor, just as I do in deciding the menu. We have a lot of regular customers, so we change the paintings and displays within the shop every season so there’s always something new to look at. I hope customers can relax and enjoy some peace and quiet in our coffee shop, which changes with the seasons.