Photo: Kristen F.

Soul, Sweets at Hiratsuka J-Lodge

J-Lodge brings soul, songs, and sweets

By Kristen F    - 3 min read

J-Lodge brings soul, songs, and sweets to Hiratsuka’s Tokai university area. Any students needing coffee for exams week or an outlet for using their ‘natural English’ learned in university classes have just a short walk to the perfect location.

J-Lodge is a student-friendly hangout with a westernized feel, a place for students to relax, take English lessons from native speakers, discuss the meaning of life if they want, and mingle with the foreign staff.

The café opened in October 2006 as a ministry project with the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society as an opportunity to share Christian beliefs with the students of the nearby Tokai university.

Tokai University, a private university in Tokyo, opened its Shonan branch in the 1960s, and now boasts a student body of just under 30,000 undergraduates alone. And like all good academics, these students need coffee. Lots of it.

Café lovers looking to enjoy local music in a quiet environment can have some good clean fun in the tiny café that forbids smoking and serves no alcohol. With a small crew and small space, J-Lodge’s website asserts that the café will always be on the lookout for the next best coffee to bring to its customers. Patrons can feel good and enjoy good coffee as a portion of all sales from J-Lodge go to orphans and charity work in Myanmar.

Anyone attending the regular live performance on the last Friday night of each month, can meet others from places as far and wide as America, Poland, Korea, and of course Japan. With many regulars to the café, and the same staff, J-Lodge feels like a family. The website encourages guests to “read a book, study, talk with friends, and stay as long as you like”.

Much like the diversity of its patrons, J-Lodge offers a simplistic but yummy diversity in coffee blends from Yemen, Indonesia, and Ethiopia, to name a few. The coffee menu features quality over quantity, with a perfected Café Au Lait, latte, and Café Americano. For a sweeter drink, guests can try the savoury mocha or caramel lattes.

Homemade chiffon cake and cookies are served up daily.

In tune with Tokai’s events, J-Lodge occasionally hosts special events for students such as open mic night for graduates or jam sessions--where everyone is encouraged to bring their drums, djembe or electronic percussion to play along.

Guests looking to keep with J-Lodge’s original roots in religion can attend the “worship live” and Bible study held on the second Sunday of every month.

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Kristen F

Kristen F @kristen.foster

Hi, I'm Kristen. I'm a native Floridian. Living between Yokohama and Tokyo. I've worked as a journalist, backpacked the UK, and floated down a few rivers in Mexico. Receiving my degree in Journalism and International studies, I'm always foraging for a good bite or a good story. For a while, I was a food reviewer for some Floridian publications, seeking out family-owned and localized restaurants with one-of-a-kind dishes. These days, I teach English at a little school near the beach—in Japan. I spend my free time staring at sakura, snagging sushi off the conveyor belt, and sampling all sorts of new things. Let's hope that whatever it is-- a lack of peace or overwhelming curiosity--it'll keep me thin and keep you informed. Welcome to curiosity, culture, and cuisine. Be whisked away like I have.

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