Nakano, which can be accessed in less than 5 minutes by JR Chuo Line Rapid from Shinjuku Station, is a famous area known as the "town of subculture" dotted with stores selling Japanese manga, anime, games, figures, and many more.
Opened on the 2nd floor and the 4th floor of Nakano Broadway in April 2023, "Coffee Zingaro" and "Tonari no Zingaro" both produced by Takashi Murakami are two top picks. Get ready to discover the new landmark in Nakano, where Showa retro and cutting-edge technology and art are fused!
The cafe produced by Takashi Murakami is full of photo spots! An art space where Showa retro and cutting-edge technology are fused
"Coffee Zingaro" is a trendy cafe produced by the contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, merging the world of his works with "Showa Retro". Originally, it was operated as "Bar Zingaro" in a different location within Broadway, then reopened in April in 2023 after a temporary closure due to the COVID pandemic. The interior of the store was handled by Yoshinori Hamakura of Hamakura Produce Inc., who worked on "Ebisu Yokocho" and "Shibuya Yokocho".
Highlight 1. Showa Retro signboards and Japanese-style interiors such as Karesansui
The interior of Zingaro is reminiscent of the 'pure coffee shops' (純喫茶 / Junkissa - cafes that do not serve alcohol) that were common in Japan in the 1970s and 80s. It combines a Showa retro design with a sense of the near future. As you set foot in, you will be greeted by a retro signboard with the words 'Junkissa Zingaro' and neon flower signs!
*In Japan, there is a recent trend among the younger generation to revive shops and goods that were popular during the Showa era (1926-1989), and things that evoke the atmosphere of that time.
The ceiling is adorned with numerous colorful glass lights. From the counter seats to the back of the shop, a karesansui (dry landscape) river flows with a vermilion bridge, creating a unique atmosphere where pop culture and Japanese aesthetics blend seamlessly.
Highlight 2. Classic games at the game table!
The seating area faithfully recreates the laid-back groove of a Showa-era coffee shop with leather sofas, floral carpets, and ceramic tiles on the walls. What's more, all the tables are video game consoles!
These game tables were popular in Japan from the 1970s to the 1990s. You can purchase special flower coins (500 yen each) in the store, and by inserting them, you can play classic retro games like "Street Fighter" and "Xevious".
These game table seats are extremely gaining popularity among all generations, from generations of those who actually enjoyed games in coffee shops back then to the younger generations. The coins are also cute in design, so many people buy them as souvenirs without using them.
Highlight 3. Artworks produced by Takashi Murakami
In the back of the store and on the oversized CRT-style monitor, you can also appreciate the NFT art pieces that Mr. Murakami has released since the COVID pandemic. In particular, the wall on the right side of the monitor exhibits "Murakami.Flowers", which was sold as his first NFT work. This is a piece that expresses his representative "flower" art in 70s TV game-style pixel art. At the storefront and the 4th floor shop "Tonari no Zingaro", you can purchase goods featuring this artwork.
The reason Mr. Murakami started creating NFT works was inspired by the fact that online games became very popular during the COVID pandemic where people were enjoying communication by finding beauty in the digital world, such as watching fireworks with friends in the game, just like in real life.
This Coffee Zingaro, where Showa retro and the latest WEB technology NFT coexist, is indeed a place where reality and digital world go back and forth.
Highlight 4. Cute, delicious and authentic sweets and drinks!
So far, we've introduced the exterior and interior, but what really matters in a cafe are the sweets and drink menu. At Zingaro, flower-motifed sweets and drinks created by the patissier of "Tonari no Kaikado" are served. The coffee menu uses beans roasted in the store also shows their commitment to quality!
We tried the popular flower pudding and cafe latte this time. The pudding, served with a flower cookie, is a firm and solid pudding that is typical of traditional coffee shops. It is said that the patissier steams each one in the oven for 60 minutes and makes them by hand. Scoop it up with a spoon and you can enjoy the rich taste of the egg and the smooth texture in your mouth.
Aside from the "flower" cafe latte we had this time, the drink menu is abundant with various types of coffee, not to mention matcha latte, melon float, coffee float, banana shake, kombucha, and more. The sweets menu is also Instagram-worthy, with items like "flower coffee jelly" and "flower pancakes"! In addition, you can also purchase the popular flower cookie cans, which are a hit online and make great souvenirs. Be sure to check them out.
From Japanese-style knick-knacks to POP goods and apparel, Tonari no Zingaro has it all!
Tonari no Zingaro, located on the 4th floor of Nakano Broadway, is a shop where you can purchase Takashi Murakami's goods and apparel.
The Flower Cushion, with its various colors and expressions, is particularly popular. Two sizes (60cm and 30cm in diameter) are available, and many people purchase items in different sizes and colors to match their interior. The front and back are different, while there are many items with smiling expressions, there are also items with different expressions as well - the place is just full of playfulness! There are also familiar figures of parent and child pandas from his paintings.
Right at the entrance, in front of the cash register, there is a display window featuring confectionery brand "Tonari no Kaikado"'s "Murakami.Flowers Rainbow Cookie Can", puzzles, keychains, and "Flower Go Walk", a flower-shaped game console where you can raise "Ohanachan". There are also items that are uniquely Japanese, such as Kokeshi dolls, so why not take a look at the store?
The former site of the Junkissa Zingaro on the 4th floor!? The shutter of the passage is also a spot that looks great on social media
On the 4th floor, there are other photo-worthy spots where you can enjoy the world of Takashi Murakami. These include the site of the former Junkissa Zingaro on the opposite side from Tonari no Zingaro, and the shuttered corridor.
In particular, a "CLOSE" sign is hung on the door of the former Zingaro site with notices in both Japanese and English stating "Notice of Store Relocation" posted on two glass sections. In fact, this is a complete dummy site, and it is created to set the story that the store that was originally on the 4th floor moved to the 2nd floor and became the current Zingaro. The author was actually fooled during the on-site report too, but it seems that they are using a vintage-like processing to create an atmosphere like a real cafe site, making it a perfect spot for photos!
Lastly, check out the shutter of the passage decorated with Kaikai Kiki and flowers. If you take a photo with the colorful smiling flowers and Kaikai Kiki with various expressions in the background, you should be able to boast to your friends!
- Coffee Zingaro (Junkissa Zingaro), Tonari no Zingaro
- 2F (Coffee Zingaro), 4F (Tonari no Zingaro), 5-52-15 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
- Access: 6 minutes walk from JR Nakano Station
- Business hours: 12:00-19:00 (Coffee Zingaro), 12:00-17:00 (Tonari no Zingaro)
- Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday (Coffee Zingaro), Irregular holidays (Tonari no Zingaro)
- The cafe produced by Takashi Murakami is full of photo spots! An art space where Showa retro and cutting-edge technology are fused
- From Japanese-style knick-knacks to POP goods and apparel, Tonari no Zingaro has it all!
- The former site of the Junkissa Zingaro on the 4th floor!? The shutter of the passage is also a spot that looks great on social media