Meet Miura-san, owner and manager of Marumo Coffee, a typical sixties style Japanese “kissaten” coffee shop situated between Nakamachi dori and Nawate Street (also known as Frog Street), on the north side of the city towards Matsumoto Castle.
Kissaten, are a type of coffee shop that became hugely popular across Japan, especially in the cities, in the sixties, seventies and eighties. They were a place where guests could sit in comfortable chairs while sipping good coffee, while listening to the preferred music (often jazz or classical) of the shop Master, while enjoying a smoke. Yup, they certainly were a sign of the times - those places were very smoky!
Décor inside Marumo
Any Kissaten that have survived until today typically have fading sixties décor, and are still playing the same vinyl they were always playing, sometimes on the very same record player! They are slowly disappearing though as several new waves of coffee shop have become popular over the past decade or so, with a different focus.
Marumo Coffee, Matsumoto
Marumo, which has been a family run business since the mid 1950s, is still going strong today. It is very much a no-frills coffee shop, that serves a decent cup of coffee as well as a few snacks – that’s it! The atmosphere however, is like a trip down Memory Lane. It feels as if very little has changed inside, ever! This makes it popular with those who experienced kissaten at the height of their popularity and those from the younger generation who are curious about life in Japan in times-gone-by.
The family also run a small ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), which is situated next door.
Black Coffee at Marumo
Décor inside Marumo
Marumo offer free WiFi for customers, and have decided to go completely smoke-free as well, meaning you can enjoy the taste of your coffee the way it should be!
The menu has basic English explanations too. The website however is in Japanese only, you can see that here http://www.avis.ne.jp/~marumo/index-j.html