On a walk from Osaka Tenmangu Shrine to the nearest station, Words Cafe caught my eye. I wouldn't normally consider going to a cafe for coffee in Japan - I have been scarred too many times. Vending machine coffees, a "cappuccino" with whipped cream and lemon rind on top, convenience store coffees, coffee syrup coffees, cream coffees, cafe au lait, even Doutor coffees - you name the coffee and I've tried, each time with equal dissatisfaction. Yet a proclamation on Words Cafe's window "Damn Good Coffee" made me curious - was it really? I had to sacrifice myself as the volunteer to test this noble claim.
Words Cafe is a cafe true to its name; in the front section of the cafe is a small library, abundant in books of various specialty interests. So whether a bird's the word - or a cat, dog, motorbike, painting in the Louvre (or all in one?) - there's certainly something of interest for everyone to browse through while they sip on their cup of delicious espresso goodness.
Words Cafe is certainly something unique in Osaka, a city with a vibrant and youthful heart. The walls of the cafe are covered with the quirky signatures and scribbles of famous Japanese actors, performers and comedians - perhaps it's one of them who coined the "Damn Good Coffee" slogan? Vintage gadgets are found in abundance for decoration. There are also small postcard-sized pictures pinned at random around the shop. Each one depicts works by famous artists, such as Man Ray, or photographs of Words Cafe's staff and visitors.
About the coffee? Well I'm not sure I'd say it's "Damn Good Coffee", but damn, it's good coffee! You don't know the sound of relief that is the familiar tapping of the bean grinder, or whirr of milk being frothed. I could have cried tears of euphoria to taste a coffee made on milk, not cream, and espresso, not coffee syrup. At last, a coffee in Japan that's full-bodied and caffeinated. You can expect your espresso coffee to set you back a good ¥550 - and it's worth every yen. This may sound like a passionate exaggeration, but Words Cafe has literally been an "awakening" experience.
If you're not a fan of the godly espresso brew, Words Cafe also has an extensive drinks menu from which you can choose between other exquisite beverages. There is also a range of alcoholic drinks available.
For those looking to satiate a ferocious appetite, Words Cafe has a range of specialties to choose from, such as: selected sandwiches, rice omelets, salads, toast, and pizzas. The average price of food items is ¥800. You can get a ¥100 discount if you purchase a meal and drink together. Words Cafe has also pimped out their desserts menu, with an appetizing range of options - the most tantilizing of which is their hotcakes. Hotcakes come topped with ice-cream and your choice of caramel, chocolate, strawberry, or maple syrup - deciding which will be the hardest decision you make all day. And gift of all gifts, Words Cafe also has a comprehensive English menu available.
So if you're in Osaka looking for a good coffee, upbeat place to chill out, or need a morning pick-me-up, make Words Cafe your place of call. You can find it almost directly outside the 3rd exit of JR Osatatenmangu Station. Words Cafe is also right next door to Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, so is a great place to recover from a hard day of sight-seeing.
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Saskia is an obsessive compulsive traveler with Japan as her #1 preferred destination. Her appreciation for Japan's unique culture was cultivated through several years of studying the language during high school and also an otaku phase about which she prefers to no longer speak.