Photo: Sue Ann Kunath

Chilling at The Tokyu Hands Cafe

For once, you don’t need to come to buy ‘necessities'

By Sue Ann Kunath    - 3 min read

A name that is ingrained in both the Japanese as well as the small foreign community here in Tokyo: Tokyu Hands. I often go to the one in Shibuya, where it is always bustling with people on the lookout for that certain necessary part or component, tool or just to browse for a fun gadget. You can easily spend hours checking out the many floors that are also separated in A, B and C sections, which makes it even harder to find your way around.

Lately, I haven’t gone to Tokyu Hands because I “needed” to buy something—I go there to chill out on floor 7. Yes, chilling out at the chaotic Tokyu Hands shop IS possible. The English website mentions that you will end up in the Science lab supplies and Miniature models and hobbies section. Yawn. This figures perhaps why the Tokyu Hands Cafe is still not as clogged up as an average Excelsior, Starbucks or Doutor. If most people knew there is a laid-back Cafe located up there with an outdoor terrace, I’d bet we’d all be queuing to get to the Science Lab floor!

The Cafe reminds me partly of the magical shop described in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” (a children’s movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman). There are shelving units stacked up when you enter the Cafe displaying all types of glassware, colorful sands and liquids, miniature models cars and trains, alternated with a section where plants, garden tools, and stuff of which you had no idea they existed but somewhat seem useful are shown. To the left, a collection of books is stacked up against the wall, and a study/living room area has been created to be able to sit down with a book or to browse the internet on one of the many Mac Pc stations. Cut figures of plastic and paper, a huge plastic earth ball and various lamps bulge out of the ceiling giving it all a messy, but very cozy and warm atmosphere.

Head over to the order counter and grab yourself one of the sandwiches, some chili fries, a Belgian waffle, soup or one of the fresh seasonal drinks. My favorite item is the tuna, potato and cheese melt sandwich on sesame bread-set. Very tasty, with an emphasis on ‘melt’! Tokyu Hands Cafe is truly an enjoyable and laid-back place where you really don’t need to head to only buy your necessities. Hanging out is just fine.

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Sue Ann Kunath

Sue Ann Kunath @sue.ann.kunath

In September 2010 I came for the first time to Japan on a look-and-see visit. I didn't know much about the country nor its people, let alone had any clue on what it really meant to live here. One day, after renting bikes and stopping at a construction site, a worker came up to me, smiled, bowed, picked up my bike and carried it to the other side of the road, after which he helped me get on it again. Right there and then, I was sold! Up till now, I am still amazed how friendly Japanese people can be, how lovely this country also is and I look forward to sharing more of these enjoyable experiences with you.

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