The "kissa", Japanese cafés from another era

The "kissa", Japanese cafés from another era

Tokyo, a city in perpetual motion, seeks to stop for a moment, only to set off again. Zen escapes. Amongst them, havens of affection: the "kissa", short for "kissaten", those Japanese cafés from another era which became popular after the war because they offered rare access to music.

Imagine yourself in the Lion Café, a sanctuary of classical music in the heart of the bustling Shibuya district, among the love hotels, erotic shops and clubs. Ask for the programme and let yourself be swept away. The red seats are reminiscent of theatres, all facing the customized 3D speakers that rise majestically like a church organ and provide remarkable acoustics. No modern minimalism here, just retro architecture. Ionic columns with volutes. Dark and patinated wood furniture. 

These places vibrate with a happy nostalgia. The warm crackle of vinyl records and the aroma of coffee, mingle together to create a unique sensory experience.  There are few places like this. 

Take a seat and the waiter will bring you the day's programme and menu before taking your order, sotto voce. The staff will discreetly usher out those who are too noisy. Conversation is discouraged and photography is not allowed. No paparazzi of the soul. An invitation to slow down, to enjoy a few precious minutes with yourself and, today, with Glenn Gould playing Beethoven. The room is completely soundproofed to preserve the mystery of the music, the inner life that comes alive and the emotions that are released.

Photography 1: Aya Ishizaka; 2 et 3: The Vinyl Factory 

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