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Essential boutiques, plus the best book, music and souvenir stores
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April 19, Daikanyama
April 18, Harajuku
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Open since 1938, from the outside Kabaya looks like the kind of old kissaten (coffee shop) you still find regularly in small towns outside the capital. To the unknowing eye, it appears that it may collapse at any moment, and it's certainly not the kind of place tourists would venture inside without prompting.
The refurbished interior, then, is unexpected. Both the furniture and the young waiting staff favour retro stylings, with a mirrored ceiling giving the initial impression that the shop is much larger than it actually is (it feels tiny again once you've squeezed yourself behind one of the tabels). Barely big enough to wield a camera, the weekend tourist throng makes light work of packing it solidly throughout the day. Try it on a weekday, however, and you'll find it a pleasant stop, perfectly positioned to round off a visit to Scai the Bathhouse.
You won't find anything fascinating on the menu, but the coffee is hot and tasty, and the buttered toast exactly as you'd expect. What more could you ask of an ageing kissaten?
Bill (for one)
Coffee, ¥400 (¥200 refill)
Buttered toast, ¥300