History of Coffee in Japan. When did it come to Japan?




What do you think Japanese drink?

Do you think they like Japanese green tea?


They do drink green tea, black tea and other kinds of drinks but coffee is most popular.


You will be surprised that there are coffee shops everywhere in Tokyo and other cities.


Today I’m going to briefly talk how coffee became  popular in Japan.



History of Coffee in Japan. When did it come to Japan?


Edo Period

It is said that first coffee came to Japan at the beginning of Edo period (1603-1868).

The Dutch introduced coffee in Nagasaki prefecture.


It was, however, not popular at first.

One of the reasons was that coffee was not for everyone.

It was only available to the governors, translators and business owners.

The other reason was that Japan was Sakoku period, when government restricted communications with foreign counties.

Therefore it made Japanese citizens almost impossible to have access to foreign items during that period.



Meiji Period



In Meiji period (1868-1912), Japanese government changed foreign relations policy and more people had access to coffee.


The first coffee shop was opened in Ueno, Tokyo in 1888.

The owner hoped to popularize coffee in Japan.

People tried to get familiar with Western drinks and food and made efforts to accept Western culture.

It was still, however, way too expensive and only upper class citizens could try those drinks and food.

Consequently, the first coffee shop closed after few years.



Taisyo Period

During Taisyo period (1912-1926), a coffee shop opened and welcomed younger generations.


The owner of the Cafe Paulista had access to Brazilian coffee beans.

He opened the coffee shop and it popularized coffee among Japanese.


Coffee was cheaper, which was about 1/3 of other coffee shops, and more and more people tried coffee.

Since then, the number of coffee shops gradually increased.



As of 2016, Starbucks is the biggest coffee shop in Japan followed by Doutor Coffee (ドトール).

You can drink coffee in restaurant, fast food restaurant, coffee shops and everywhere!

I think we’ve got enough in cities.




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