Japan's oldest coffee shop closes down

Cafe Sakan shuts its doors after 44 years of business

Japan's oldest coffee shop closes down

Japan's self-proclaimed 'oldest coffee shop' has closed, over a century after the original branch opened. Cafe Sakan served its final cup yesterday, making way for the redevelopment of the Asagaya mall that it had called home for the past 44 years. Originally known for serving 'French coffee', the shop was notable for its celebrity customers, including philosopher Tetsuzo Tanikawa.

While its closure is indeed sad, it should be noted that the shop's claims of antiquity are somewhat spurious. While it's indeed true that Cafe Sakan originally opened in 1888, it actually closed four years later. Service would not resume until 1967, when a descendant of the original shopkeeper relaunched in a completely different part of the city – relocating from Ueno to Suginami-ku.

Neither is it the end of the story: the owner hopes to relaunch again, though the location is as yet undecided. In other words, Japan's kind-of-oldest coffee shop may live to kind-of-become older still.

Jon Wilks
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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