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Photo By: Manish Prabhune
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kobe
Population
5,550,742

Nishimura Coffee, Kobe

A dash of history with your coffee, sir? Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at the first coffee shop in Japan to serve black coffee.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, a history trivia buff and love old world charm, Nishimura Kobe is the place for you. Maintaining the style of traditional Japanese kissaten, or coffeehouses modeled on European cafes, Nishimura serves elegance and style along with a rich array of carefully brewed coffees from around the world in the heart of Kobe City.

Photo by: Joel Abroad One of the more easily spottable Nishimura Coffee shops in Nakayamate.

A historic cuppa

It was the Dutch and the Portuguese who first brought coffee into the country in the 1600s, and it was in 1888 that the first coffeehouse of Japan opened its doors in Tokyo. And in the consequent unfolding of the love story of coffee with this country, Nishimura Coffee Shop in Kobe plays a significant role. It was the year 1948 when in a small three-table corner shop in the Kitano neighborhood of Kobe that the owner of Nishimura decided to serve the painstakingly prepared blend of coffee straight.

It was the first time in the history of coffee in Japan, that straight black coffee was placed on the menu.

It was the first time in the history of coffee in Japan, that straight black coffee was placed on the menu. This is also the first place in Japan to serve cappuccino and coffee jelly. Interestingly, straight black coffee is still served in the same trademark Arita pottery cup that was first used to serve Nishimura black coffee.

‘Kissaten’ charm

Charming mid-century wooden furniture and courteous waiters in crisp aprons immaculately serving perfect brews all add up to create the unique experience of a Japanese kissaten. The flagship store of Nishimura, on Nakayamate Street, stands at the spot of the original shop and is the most popular of all its ten branches spread across Kobe and Osaka.

Photo by: Manish Prabhune Nishimura Coffee at Kitanozaka, Kobe.

But if you want to get away from the hustle of coffee fans and tourists, head to the Kitanozaka branch. This Nishimura, first established in 1974 as a “members-only” coffee shop, opened its doors to the general public after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake.

Kobe

Now a landmark ivy-covered brick building, it is resplendent with plush antique furniture and has an air of sophisticated privilege.

Carefully controlled elements

A menu boasting carefully selected coffee from Blue Mountain Jamaica, Colombia Narino Supremo to Mocha Sanani and Cuba Crystal Mountain, each aspect of production is vigilantly monitored. Locals insist, however, that it is the miya mizu water (mineral-rich underground water from the Rokko Mountain range) that Nishimura uses for its brews that ensures the taste. If you make it early morning, you can see tankers of this famed water being delivered to the shops.

There are nine Nishimura locations in Kobe and one in Osaka. Each locale is listed below in the “Getting there” section. The precision in crafting each brew, the ambience and the history all make this a must see on your next visit to the Kansai region.

Trivia

Kobe

Sophisticated follower of fashion.

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Things To Know

Hours

Nishimura Nakayamate opens at 8:30 a.m. -11 p.m. Nishimura Kitanozaka opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m

On the menu

Along with a wide range of coffees, Nishimura also offers fresh juices, tea and has an assortment of delectable desserts from their own bakery, Succession. They offer a breakfast set of sandwiches and salad, and a lunchtime gratin and salad set. While the breakfast and lunch sets are for ¥1,050, a cup of coffee will set you back between ¥550-600.

How To Get There

By train

There are nine Nishimura branches in Kobe and one in Osaka:

Nakayamate Honten and the Kitanozaka branches are located in Kitano, which is a 10-15 minute walk from Shin-Kobe station, or Kobe’s downtown Sannomiya station. There are another two branches in Sannomiya, one (Sannomiya-ten) opposite the JR Sannomiya station, and the other (Hankyu-mae) in front of Hankyu Sannomiya station. The other branches are in Harborland, Motomachi, Mikage, Ashiya, Amagasaki and Umeda in Osaka.

Where To Stay

Liberal (Adult Only)
  • Chuo-ku Yamamotodoori 2-2-8 Kobe-Shi, Hyogo 650-0003
  • 6/10
  • 0.1 km
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Capsule Hotel Kobe Sannomiya
  • Chuo-ku Kano-cho 3-4-15 Kobe-Shi, Hyogo 650-0001
  • 7.9/10
  • 0.2 km
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Kitagami Hotel
  • Chuoku Kanocho 4-8-19 Kobe-Shi, Hyogo 650-0001
  • 7.1/10
  • 0.3 km
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Kobe Net&Rental Space Nayuta
  • Chuo-ku Nunobiki-cho 3-2-1 Kobe-Shi, Hyogo 651-0097
  • 7.6/10
  • 0.3 km
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