The Cups Coffee Shop: Nagoya's Best Kept Secret

The Cups is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stagnant coffee shop scene in Nagoya. Coffee shops are hard to miss while going anywhere in the city. This Mom-and-pop shop offers a cup for around ¥400, Komeda Coffee shops lurk at every corner and the usual suspects like Starbucks and Tully’s inhabit the prime real estate downtown.


However a little off the beaten path, in two locations in Fushimi and Sakae, hides The Cups coffee shops. It is everything I want in a modern, young and stylish coffeeshop. Some would call it hipster, I would call it the perfect place for a delicious cup of coffee to break up the monotony of other Nagoyan coffee shops.

We will focus on the Fushimi location and because it isn’t on a main street sometimes people find it hard to find. From Fushimi Station walk towards Sakae on the main street until you can see the planetarium down the smaller street to your right. Turn left on that street, with the planetarium now at your back, and and walk down that street until you see The Cups on your right.

Now that we know where it is let’s talk about why it is a popular choice amongst the young foreign professionals, locals, coffee snobs and tourists alike. It is reminiscent of any swanky coffee shop in The States, and has the same vibes you would think of when you imagine said ‘hipster coffeeshop’. Air plants and cactuses, Edison light bulbs and a giant surfboard as wall art all add to its allure.

This is why it’s cool. And refreshing. Other Japanese coffee shops look like how you would expect them to: a mom and pop shop with the same decor as the day they opened or a Starbucks with the same design as one anywhere in the world therefore eliminating any forms of genius loci. However The Cups saw their niche, and filled it perfectly.

Besides the stylish and inviting interior, with its raw exposed architectural components serving equally as art and function, the coffee is good. Really good. Their baristas are welcoming, English friendly and most of all talented; one even won third place at the Barista Grand Prix in 2016. You really can’t go wrong with that kind of talent pouring anything from their delicious menu.

To accompany the delicious cups of coffee served are heaping scoops of gelato and veggie sandwiches that are equally as satisfying.

I love the Fushimi location because it is two stories, with both floors having different vibes. The first floor is more for the on-the-go, break time coffee drinkers. There are often salarymen stopping in for a break, enjoying the open views of the street outside and taking in the smells and scents of the business behind the bar.

Upstairs is a different story. There are more comfortable chairs, large tables for meetings and even a projector displaying documentaries on the cool concrete walls. Here you are welcomed by the airplants and succulents on the tables to sit and chat, read, draw, or use their facility to work for hours.

Next time you are in Nagoya, be sure to stop by here for your next cup of coffee. You won’t be disappointed.

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