One of Tokyo’s most unique, beloved coffee experiences is coming to an end: Omotesando Koffee, tucked in a tiny, traditional Japanese house a few blocks from the bustling Omotesando shopping street, will close at the end of the year, the shop confirms to Quartz.
Omotesando Koffee launched in 2011 as a pop-up and became a big hit, thanks to both great espresso and a charming, minimalist set-up. To reach the shop, you need to walk down a narrow, quiet residential road for a few blocks, then duck into a small, subtly marked garden. The shop is situated inside sliding glass doors, up a short step.
Once legitimately hard to find without a smartphone, it has become easier over the past couple of years, as there’s usually a line of international tourists waiting for a cappuccino and one of the store’s small, cube-shaped custard cakes.
“Omotesando Koffee started as a pop-up shop for only one year at the beginning. Thanks to the landlord with their great support, we have been able to continue the shop for five years,” owner Eiichi Kunitomo—who has become somewhat of a coffee celebrity—says via email. “However, due to the aging of house and its renovation, it is with heavy hearts that we have to let you know [the shop is closing] and sincerely apologize for this sudden news.”
Kunitomo says his next shop will open in Hong Kong early next year; there’s also a larger location called Toranomon Koffee, which opened in a new mega-building development last year, at the head of the boulevard that Tokyo hopes will becomes its “Champs Élysées.”
Change is no stranger to Tokyo, which is in the process of tuning itself up to host the 2020 Olympics. Earlier this year, the iconic Hotel Okura closed its classic, fit-for-James Bond lobby, which will be renovated. Tokyo is also moving its historic fish market to a new facility, and an autonomous “robot taxi” service is in the works.