Coffee first was introduced to Japan by a Dutch trader during Edo period (17 century) at Nagasaki. Record shows that, coffee was not so appreciated by Japanese people. Writer Ota Nanpo described the taste of coffee on his prose as bitter and unpleasant. We may say that coffee culture was actually started to developed in Japan after Meiji period. Let’s explore the timeline together.

  • Meiji period
    • 1887
      • Coffee officially entered Japan and spread throughout Japan, along with the yearning of Western culture
    • 1888
      • First establishment of coffee shop Kahi Sakan kahisaten.jpeg***Remain of Kahi Sakan***
    • 1903
      • A Japanese Satori invented instant coffee in Chicago and obtained patent for it
    • 1910
      • Meizone opened. Scholars like Hakushū Kitahara, Kuroda Seiki gathered around here
      • Cafe played an important role on the Salon culture emerged during the alternation of Edo period and Meiji period
    • 1911
      • First waiter appeared in Cafe Printempswaiter.jpeg*** Waiter in Cafe Printemps***

*** Kahi acts as a similar pronunciation to coffee in Japanese

***Sakan means kisaten, which is a Japanese-style tea room, also a coffee shop

  • Showa period
    • 1933
      • Ueshima Tadao established Ueshima Shop at Kobe, which later became the well-known UCC Ueshima Coffee Companyucc.jpeg
    • 1939-1945
      • During Second World War, the import of coffee was limited
    • 1948
      • The first coffee only coffee shop Cafe de L’Ambre opened in GinzaCafe de L'Ambre.jpeg***Report of the founder of Cafe de L’Ambre, Yichirou Sekiguchi***
    • 1950s
      • The influence of WWII on Japanese coffee industry gradually decreased after 8 years
    • 1953
      • All Japan Coffee Association established
    • 1956
      • Instant coffee entered Japanese market
    • 1960s
      • Number of cafe with music themes like Jazz and Swing dance gradually increased in Japan
    • 1964
      • Japan joined International Coffee Agreement
    • 1985
      • Concept of Specialty Coffee became popular
  • Heisei period
    • 2007
      • The eighth World Barista Championship held in Japan. This is the first time WBC came to Asia
    • 2014
      • Hidenori Izaki won WBC championship as a first Japanese who didHidenori Izaki.jpeg***Hidenori Izaki during the competition***



香港咖啡文化促進會. (2019). 日本咖啡文化(2):歷史的年輪. [online] Available at: (2019). 咖啡历史 | 日本咖啡编年史. [online] Available at:



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