Cafe Slow in Kokubunji



Cafe Slow: a Pioneering Organic Cafe and Fresh Vegetables in Kokubunji


Located in Kokubunji, a city in Western Tokyo, Cafe Slow is considered something of a pioneer among Tokyo’s organic cafes. Diners can take in the charming view of densely growing plants outside the window as they enjoy meals made with organically grown vegetables and brown rice.

A cafe where diners can rediscover their connection to nature

The outside of Cafe Slow

Cafe Slow was first opened in 2001 in Fuchu City by a Mr. Atsushi Yoshioka, who had been employed for many years at UNESCO. The cafe moved to its present location, a seven minute walk from the South Exit of JR Kokubunji Station, in 2008.

Living in a modern society that values speed and efficiency, it is easy to overlook the connection between humans and nature. Through enjoying good food, the cafe invites diners to “slow” down for a moment to remember this connection, hence the cafe’s name.

A spacious interior designed for enjoying the greenery outside

The inside of Cafe Slow

Inside the spacious cafe, patrons can enjoy the view of lush plants and even a brook from the windows.

The interior also features unique decorations including a bench made from bales of hay and diatomaceous earth. This particular piece was actually created by store staff and volunteers. Using such natural materials for the decor gives the cafe a distinct personality that is both intriguing and comfortable.

Plenty of thoughtfully chosen vegetables in the Slow Plate

The Slow Plate
The vegetable dishes used in the Slow Plate change daily. This one includes fried eggplant with a dip made of sake kasu (sake lees).

The cafe is extremely particular about the source of its vegetables. Not only do they choose farms that do not use or limit the use of agricultural chemicals, but they go to meet the farmers themselves. Sometimes they even help out at the farm. To prepare these carefully selected vegetables, the cafe uses seasonings and spices made using traditional methods. These are then used to draw out and enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables. Of course, much care is also taken to use as much of the vegetable as possible to limit wastefulness.

The Slow Plate (1,260 yen) is one of the most popular items on the menu. It comes with a variety of brown rice from Yamagata Prefecture called sawa no hana. It is prepared in a pressure cooker and served with four side dishes that use seasonal vegetables. The selection of side dishes changes weekly.

The grains of brown rice, called genmai in Japanese, stick together slightly even as each grain retains its shape. It's pleasantly chewy and very flavorful. The vegetable side dishes have a range of flavors: sour, spicy, bitter. Even familiar vegetables that make daily appearances in your regular meals take on a new, surprising deliciousness.

Popular sweets made from seasonal fruits

Blueberry tart at Cafe Slow
Hirano-san Chi No Blueberry No Tart (Mr. Hirano's Homestyle Blueberry Tart)

There are also sweets waiting for you to try after lunch. While they're all delicious, the seasonal Hirano-san Chi No Blueberry No Tart (630 yen) comes highly recommended if you should stop by in August. The creamy tart made with a tofu and lemon juice filling is topped with plenty of blueberries grown right in Kokubunji. The natural sweetness of the blueberries is a perfect match for the refreshing tartness of the lemon-tofu filling.

Organic coffee and other delicious drinks

Organic maya vinic coffee at Cafe Slow
Organic Maya Vinic coffee with a mildly-citrus aroma.

For drinks, a popular option is the coffee of the day (550 yen). The cafe buys coffee beans grown in Latin America and other Asian countries. They offer a different kind of coffee every day such as Intag coffee from Ecuador and Maya Vinic coffee from Mexico. Even regulars can enjoy a new, delicious variety of coffee every time they stop in.

A store with delicious rice and unique events also attract attention

Cute gifts at Cafe Slow
Woolen toys made in the Ecuadorian Andes.

If you're interested in Fair Trade items or want to pick up some of the seasonings or ingredients that were used in your meal, stop by the store inside the cafe. In addition to dry goods like brown rice and coffee beans, there is also an assortment of Fair Trade magazines as well as gifts that would make lovely souvenirs for friends.

There's also a natural yeast bakery called Kodomo Pan located outside. They have a wide selection of breads and baked goods like their crispy croissants.

The cafe also stages a number of original events. One example is their Kurayami Cafe (lit. darkness cafe). Held every Friday, guests can enjoy a meal and live music by candlelight.
Kurayami Cafe
The Kurayami Café.

A meal of seasonal vegetables and fruits is a great pick-me-up during your trip to Japan. Stop by and see for yourself!


Cafe Slow | カフェスロー
Address: 2-20-10 Higashimoto-machi, Kokubunji-shi, Tokyo
Tuesdays thru Thursday 11:30am~6:00pm (L.O. 5:30pm)
Friday and Saturday 11:30am~3:30pm (L.O. 3:00pm)
*If there is no event, then the cafe will be open until 7:00pm
Sundays and national holidays 11:30am~7:00pm (L.O. 6:30pm)
Closed Mondays
*If Monday is a national holiday, the cafe will be open and close the following day.
Websites (Japanese only)

The information for the article was obtained August 25, 2016. Please be advised that changes to the store’s menu, hours, and etcetera may have occurred.

The original Japanese version of this article was published on co-Trip. 


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