When visiting Tokyo during the last week of March and the first week of April, the one thing that visitors absolutely have to do is experience the natural beauty of the city’s numerous cherry blossom trees (or “sakura” in Japanese) which are in full bloom during this period.
While Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen are ideal places for picnics with a large group of people, one of the most rewarding locations, especially for those strapped for time, would have to be along Sumida River which, in addition to being lined with cherry blossom trees, is just a few minutes walk from the popular site seeing spot, Asakusa and provides one of the best views of Tokyo’s tallest building, Tokyo Sky Tree.
Located on the river in a section called, Sumida Park are two cafes called Café W.E and Tully’s Coffee.
Both prove to be quite the exception for Tokyo cafes by featuring lovely outdoor seating options with amazing views while also being completely smoke free. Where they differ though is in their food and drink options.
Café W.E (The “W.E” stands for “Wall for Everyone”) really focuses more on its food options, making it an ideal café to go to for lunch. They offer both eat in and take away options and feature a good choice of food such as fish and chips, smoked salmon, fried chicken, a variety of sandwiches and a few salads, all of which go for around 600 yen each. The food won’t have you writing home about it but it definitely isn’t bad either.
The coffee at Café W.E leaves a lot to be desired though. I ordered a café mocha for 400 yen and was given a very small paper cup of milk that looked more like a chocolate milk bubble bath than a well steamed milk and espresso shot. Thankfully Tully’s Coffee was right next door so having finished my fish and chips at Café W.E, I abandoned my café mocha and ordered a tall size café latte (also 400 yen), which was twice the size of the café mocha and was sitting outside Tully’s Coffee under a cherry blossom tree enjoying this much better coffee in under a minute.
While I usually avoid writing about large café chains like Starbucks and Tully’s in favour of much more interesting smaller or niche cafes, I find this Tully’s Coffee is worth including due to its unique location (just look at that view!) and how well it complements Café W.E. If you’re after a real lunch, check out Café W.E but if you’re after coffee and a smaller snack (Tully’s also offers a good variety of cakes, desserts and sandwiches of its own) check out Tully’s.
Tully’s Coffee also offers numerous power outlets on the scenic window seats for recharging your electronic devices and its outdoor seating provides a good view of the nearby children’s playground, giving caregivers an opportunity to relax and their children a chance to let loose a bit.
Train Line: Tobu Sky Tree, Toei Asakusa, Tokyo Metro Ginza
Features: 100% no smoking, outdoor seating
Menu Language: English & Japanese
Hours: Cafe W.E 9am – 9pm, Tullys Coffee Sumida Park Store 9am – 9pm
Address: 〒111-0033 東京都台東区花川戸1-1-31 隅田公園内
Tokyo, Taito Ku, 1-1-31 Hanakawado, Sumida Park 111-0033
Map: View on GoogleMaps
Directions: If coming from either the Toei Asakusa or Tokyo Metro Ginza lines, head out of Exit A5, turn left and walk until you get to a large intersection. Cross this intersection and immediately turn right and cross over a small street. You should see the entrance to Sumida Park on your left which runs parallel to Sumida River. Walk along this park for about 4 minutes.
Should you be coming from the Tokyo Sky Tree line, use Exit 7 and cross the road. Turn left and then right again down a small street on your right. Sumida Park should be right in front of you. Walk along it for a few minutes until you see Cafe W.E and Tullys Coffee.