Meikyoku Kissa Lion 名曲喫茶ライオン
In Shibuya, an almost one hundred year old cafe lies hidden behind a simple facade. Having stood its ground since 1926, the property offers a simple but enjoyable drinks menu.
Cozy atmosphere, dim lights, discreet whispers... The coffee at Meikyoku Kissa Lion is drunk in near-silence, under penalty of being called to order by the staff. The cafe offers a simple but quality menu, accompanied by classical music: It's always been the way of Meikyoku Kissa, which once attracted the music lovers of Tokyo in droves.
The golden age of kissaten
Kissaten are directly inspired by European cafes, and their number increased since the Meiji era, corresponding to the opening of Japan to the West. There were kissaten for all musical tastes: classical, jazz, rock; some catered for business meetings by providing phones, while others specialized in preparing unique coffee blends.
The golden age of the kissaten was during the 70s and had much to do with the difficulty of getting certain European products at home (coffee machines and roasting, vinyls...). Despite the fall in popularity of these places in favor of big chains, Meikyoku Kissa Lion remains unshakable in one of the most vibrant areas of the city, proud of its origins, for almost a century.
Unchanged since 1926
Simple decor: wooden chairs, leather armchairs, faded curtains, and an impressive balcony reminiscent of a theater, accessible from the second floor. Note also the presence of the impressive 3D sound system replacing the tabernacle, surrounded by beautiful wooden Doric columns. Everything here is designed to transport customers to a baroque world. Enjoy your beverage amongst the old shelves, antique books, quality sound equipment and an impressive collection of vinyls.
The menu is as short as arietta: coffee, strong coffee, lemonade, and tea. A simple menu, proportional to its quality, which has remained unchanged since 1926. No food is allowed or served, but Chopin, Liszt, and Bach are always at hand, despite the short interlude that marked the destruction of the cafe during the war, and its subsequent identical reconstruction. A treat for classical music lovers: it's possible to request your favorite music. A visit to Meikyoku Kissa Lion is good way to decompress and escape the anthill that is Tokyo. Many students come here, to study in the quiet atmosphere.