Hidden in Tokyo – Books and Coffee

Sometimes fate leads us to unexpected discoveries, the chaotic Tokyo, for example, hides, in the folds of its neon clothes, places out of time and far from everything around them, such as the special café I am telling you about today.

I got off by mistake at the previous station, maybe it was the desire to arrive at my destination or maybe it was just my Japanese full of holes. Out of the station I quickly realized that I was not where I should have been but I had time to waste and I launched myself to the discovery of the small shopping arcade.


After a few steps my sense of orientation, already almost non-existent, has began to falter and I thought I’d get my bearings with the phone’s GPS except noticing, as the map was loading, a side street of shops leading straight to a nice temple with a lovely garden to sit and make order in my geographical situation. After realizing where I was, and how eventually go back to the station, I saw a girl with a beautiful and wide skirt slipping into a small entrance hidden along the way. Normally I am not curious and I go straight my way but that day, after the wrong station and the discovery of the temple, I felt particularly attracted to the place and I went over deciphering the inscription on the sign which stated “café second floor” . How to say no to a coffee that is so kindly offered by fate? Hesitantly I entered and I climbed the stairs to the second floor. Before me a closed door with a peephole and a note in Japanese “外 か ら の ぞ け ま す” meaning “spy from outside”, I approached the eye and I realized that the café was right behind that door.


A quiet place where you feel just the gurgling water of aquariums and sometimes the tinkling of spoons that customers turn into coffee cups.


Each table is unique and different and it’s like a small island protected by the leaves of plants, a place to hide from the world and enjoy the silence in a suspended time.


Orders are made whispering and time went by as I explored the objects on the desk that served as coffee table and opened the drawers founding out that they may contain the entire worlds. I stifled a little cry of astonishment putting my hand over the mouth when I opened the drawer under the desk and found a lighthouse and a cliff by the sea.


The Aru Cafè, that’s the name of this small place out of the world, is a literary cafe where you go to read your own book or read one of the books stored in the library that occupies a whole wall of the room. I had no books with me and my Japanese does not allow me to read a book without consulting the dictionary every three words but I used the time and enjoyed the silence writing postcards to my friends and resting a bit before riding the train again and losing myself in Tokyo crowd.


If you also want to run away from the world and retreat in the Aru Cafè you can find the map below.


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