Hot Coffee on a Winter Day: Hiroshima’s Best Cafés

ByJustin Hanus
Jan 28, 2023

Hot Coffee on a Winter Day: Hiroshima’s Best Cafés

It’s January. Suddenly, western Japan is a great deal colder than you imagined it would be. You want to go out but don’t want to deal with the cold. What can you do? Whatever the weather, you can always enjoy a cup of hot coffee.

Like the rest of Japan, Hiroshima has experienced a rise in café culture over the last twenty years. Naturally, the chains have descended in full force — there’s even a Starbucks on Miyajima now. Big-name brands are easy to find (if that’s what you like), but other potentially more exciting options are also available.

Obscura Coffee Roasters (Editor’s Choice!)

Obscura Coffee Roasters is one café that’s received much attention. The founders (three caffeine addicts from Hiroshima) made their mark at their Sangenjaya location in Tokyo before bringing their alchemical expertise back home: first to their Fukuromachi café and then (in August 2018) to a second shop, one block north of the Hondori shopping arcade.

With beans from Indonesia, Rwanda, Honduras, and elsewhere — roasted to perfection on site and transformed into what many people say is the best coffee they’ve had in Japan — this is the place to go if you’re ready for a serious latte. Obscura is non-smoking, allowing you to enjoy the aroma of coffee fully. Unfortunately, the food menu is limited — think pastries. This is a place for world-class coffee, not lunch.


Address: 3-28 Fukuromachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0036
Access: From Hondori station, walk south from Andersen — the first major intersection east of the Rijo-Dori streetcars. Turn right at the second corner, past the Yours supermarket. You’ll find Obscura on your right.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Telephone: 082-249-7543


Address: 3-1 Hondori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0035
Access: From Hondori Station, head south and turn left on Hiroshima Hondori Shopping Street. Turn left again before you reach Lawson Hiroshima Hondori. You’ll see Obscura up ahead.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Telephone: 082-258-4110


You’ll find many coffee shops while visiting Miyajima — each, no doubt, with its own charms. However, the best on the island are arguably the Itsuki Coffee shops. There are a few locations, but the most convenient might be their Sarasvati shop, situated at the bottom of one of the stone stairways that leads to Toyokuni Shrine (also called the Thousand Mat Hall) and not far from the entrance of Itsukushima Shrine itself. If you ask, the staff at Saravasti can give directions to the Tenshinkaku location. Its hours are limited, and it’s not the easiest-to-find spot on the island, but you’ll be able to enjoy a truly excellent cup of coffee with some of the best views around.

Like at Obscura, all the Itsuki Coffee locations roast beans on-site, making them almost dizzyingly redolent of fresh coffee at times. The bakeries serve excellent (although small) sandwich and scone sets, as well as pasta and a changing menu of cakes.

Address: 407 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588
Access: To reach Saravasti, continue past the entrance to Itsukushima Shrine until you see a narrow lane to the left. The coffee shop is located at the bottom of a stone staircase leading down from the five-story pagoda of Toyokuni Shrine — the enormous wooden hall on the hill above Itsukushima Shrine.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Telephone: 082-944-2266

Cafe Lente

One more top option for coffee on Miyajima is Cafe Lente. This may be a better option if you also want a more substantial meal to pair with your coffee. However, the highlight of this café is its location right on the waterfront overlooking the floating torii gate, meaning you can admire the views without needing to venture outdoors into the winter cold. You could even book accommodation upstairs if just a coffee and a meal aren’t enough.

Address: 1167-3 Kitaonishicho, Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588
Access: Cafe Lente is a one-minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine, just beyond the Ono souvenir store.
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Telephone: 0829-44-1204

Chamonix Mont Blanc

Finally, let’s not forget Japan’s older — and rightly celebrated — coffee culture. A few of the ‘kissaten’ of yesteryear still exist in Hiroshima. My favorite is the Chamonix Mont Blanc, located on the Ebisu Dori arcade. Mont Blanc is a Showa-era fixture and has been operating since the 1950s. Spanning four floors (though the fourth is used for storage these days), everything from the paintings on the walls and the crystal light fixtures to the classic café menu seems to have arrived via time machine.

A little smoky and a little worn around the edges, this place delivers a decidedly non-corporate atmosphere. Score one of the window seats above the arcade and settle in with a coffee and curry rice for a relaxing hour. Use the chance to start a new book or watch the people pass by below you, including the local business owners who pause to pray at the Ebisu Shrine across the arcade. Both the owner’s English-speaking daughter and her British husband are usually on hand as well, making this a comfortable spot for anyone with limited Japanese.

Address: 3-17 Horikawacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0033
Access: The café is located on the corner opposite the Ebisu Dori shopping arcade, just across from the south entrance to Mitsukoshi Department Store. Turn your back to the Ebisu Shrine or Mitsukoshi, and you’ll be looking at it.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Telephone: 082-241-2726 Free Stock Photos [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

About the author

Justin Hanus editor

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