Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Secret garden cafe in Koenji

In Tokyo I am always on a quest to find new and exciting cute cafes. Sometimes for something to be "kawaii" it doesn't have to be disgustingly pink, sparkly or pastel, it can just be aesthetically pleasing in a whimsical way, much like the hidden-gem I discovered when vintage shopping in Koenji. The cafe goes by the name of "エセルの中庭" meaning "Ethel's courtyard".

This cafe is not very well known and seldom visited by tourists, the first floor is actually a library, so you can enjoy reading some old, worn books whilst enjoying your coffee. The first thing you will notice when entering is that the floor starts off being made of soil and grass, even though you are on the second floor of a building, everything is made of old wood and the walls are adorned with forgotten treasures and things long dead. There are various plants, statues, fountains and fish tanks which formulate a wonderful secret garden atmosphere complete with old washed out black and white photos that hang from the walls. Stepping in the cafe honestly feels like stepping back in time, it is the kind of cafe I could imagine pirates or adventure seekers frequenting hundreds of years ago.

The menu is pretty small, but unique and changes almost every week. I usually order iced chestnut milk tea, but they also sell sweets and they have a vast array of teas and even cocktails. They always serve their tea in lavishly decorated tea cups and the staff are friendly and always up for a chat. The cafe itself is in the center of Koenji shopping district, just off of the main arcade strip and is a nice oasis from the hustle and bustle.

The only downside is that the cafe itself is quite dark inside and while very relaxing, isn't great for taking photographs. The calm atmosphere and classical decor more than make up for it though and, on the way out, the cafe also sells a variety of colored crystals! I really recommend this cafe if you want to see something that not many people have seen on their trip to Tokyo and have a curiosity for old, whimsical objects.

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