Working in Japan

Tokyo’s 7 Best Cafe Chains for Remote Work (with Outlets + Wifi)

You finally get your overpriced seasonal latte, manage to find a seat despite the lunch rush, and pull out your computer, ready to crank out some caffeine fueled genius. And then you realize… your computer only has 5% battery left and there’s no outlets in sight. And all your excitement, plus the 500 yen you spent goes down the drain.

Every cafe on this list usually has both seating with electrical outlets and free wifi connectivity. And no, this list will not include Starbucks, because you are probably already familiar with it, and because it doesn’t usually have outlets, to my eternal frustration.

Despite Japan’s indoor non-smoking law, Ueshima Coffee, Doutor, Tullys and Café de Crié still have seperate smoking rooms, depending on the location. You can find a list of entirely non-smoking locations on the website of each cafe. Breadworks, City Bakery and McDonalds do not have smoking areas.

1. Doutor

  • Price: $, 220 yen for a small, black coffee
  • Taste: 2/5
  • Seat Availability: 4/5, depending on the location and time of day
  • Outlet Availability: 3/5, at the counter seats of most locations
  • English: 5/5, the menu is translated into English, and, especially in areas that get a lot of tourists, the staff is often used to English-speakers.

Doutor, in a word, is decent: decent coffee, decent sandwiches and decent prices. The food is the usual premade cafe chain fare and the coffee is palatable. It also offers interesting seasonal drinks, like kinako lattes. However, Doutor’s true value comes from its reliable presence in every major city across Japan, its calm atmosphere and the availability of its outlets.

2. McDonald’s

  • Price: $, 100 yen for a small, black coffee
  • Taste: 1/5
  • Seat Availability: 4/5
  • Outlet Availability: at the counter seats of most branches
  • English: 5/5, especially good for allergy sufferers, since they provide English ingredient lists

I know, I know, it’s not even a cafe… but if you are a broke college student, a lost tourist in need of a phone recharge, or a worker who missed their last train, McDonald’s can be a life saver. For a minimum cost of a 100 yen coffee, McDonalds offers the cheapest place to work in Tokyo. So, with branches all over Japan, many of which are open 24/7, McDonald’s is a good last resort.

3. Cafe de Crié

  • Price: $, 260 yen for a small black coffee
  • Taste: 3/5, pretty good meals, cakes and coffee
  • Seat Availability: 4/5
  • Outlet Availability: 4/5 at the counter seats and special work tables of many stores
  • English: 4/5, the menu has English subscript

Another chain with Japanese-influenced European offerings, like pasta with mentaiko ( “cod ovum”, as the cafe’s own menu so helpfully translates). Cafe de Crié is slightly more expensive than Doutor, although not by much, and has much the same atmosphere. It does have slightly more outlet availability than Doutor, though, as some branches have special tables with pull-down outlets.

4. Tully’s

  • Price: $$, 305 yen for the daily blend, although they offer a special “1 More Coffee” deal, so your second coffee of the day, after presenting your receipt, is only 140 yen
  • Taste: 4/5, their coffee is one I can actually drink black, and I also enjoy their desserts and meals
  • Seat Availability: 4/5, depending on the location and time of day
  • Outlet Availability: 3/5 at the counter seats and specific table seats of most stores
  • English: 4/5, the menu is translated into English, since, as a nationwide chain, they usually get a lot of tourists. However, their seasonal offerings are not always translated

With good coffee, empty seats, and interesting seasonal drinks, Tully’s is one of my favourite chain cafes to work at. They have locations all over Tokyo and Japan, and near most major train stations. If you need somewhere to work, or just to charge your phone, Tullys is always a good option.

5. Ueshima Coffee

  • Price: $$, 430 yen for their regular black coffee (no small option listed on their online menu)
  • Taste: 4/5 Delicious coffee and cakes
  • Seat availability: 3/5, the coffee shop can be cozy, which makes it hard to find a place to sit
  • Outlet availability: 3/5, at some table seats and counter seats
  • English: 1/5 Much of the menu is not in English, especially the seasonal specials. However, there are many pictures, which you can point at to order

When I first moved to Japan, I thought this cafe was called “Precious Coffee Moments”, because I couldn’t read the logo. Even now, I love looking for this familiar bit of Engrish. I particularly enjoy their signature drinks, which come with quenelles of flavored milk foam. For a chain cafe, Ueshima Coffee has quite an elegant atmosphere, which makes it a relaxing place to work.

6. City Bakery

  • Price: $$$, regular black coffee for 420 yen
  • Taste: 5/5
  • English: 3/5, the menu is in English
  • Outlet Availability: 2/5, Available at the counter seats and some tables, but there are a limited number of seats in the stores
  • Crowded: 3/5, sometimes it can be crowded and hard to find a seat

City Bakery is for those missing American pastry staples. Enjoy a New York style cheesecake, carrot cake or muffin to satisfy your homesick cravings, all while getting your day’s work done. In autumn, City Bakery is one of the only places in Tokyo to find pumpkin pie, which makes it one of my favourite cafes.

7. Breadworks

  • Price: $$$, regular black coffee for 450 yen
  • Taste: 5/5, the coffee isn’t much to speak of, but the food and pastries are some of the best in Tokyo
  • Seat Availability: 5/5
  • Outlet Availability: At the counter seats, of which there are many. Even during lunch rush, I’ve never had a problem finding a spot with an outlet to use
  • English: 3/5 (the menu is in English, but the staff does not speak much English, and so would probably not be able to handle complicated dietary requests)

This cafe chain only has two locations: one in Omotesando and one on Tennozu Isle. Only Tennozu Isle’s branch, which was built inside a renovated warehouse, has adequate seating, and it is a bit of a trip to get to. And yet, this cafe makes the list for its delectable pastries, lovely canal views and rustic-chic atmosphere. To really make coming here worth your time, I recommend arriving in the morning and settling in for a full day’s worth of work. Don’t forget to try their lunch set, which is both delicious and healthy! Breadworks is one of the more upscale cafe chains in Tokyo, but for the quality and atmosphere, the price is definitely worth it.

Bonus: the Tennozu Isle location is near the immigration office in Shinagawa, so I always go there after doing my paperwork!

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I am a folklore-loving writer living in Tokyo. When I’m not typing away at my local cafe, I’m exploring Tokyo, looking for yokai (supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore)! I create stories, articles and videos about these supernatural creatures as well, which can be found on my site


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