Found throughout major cities across Japan (Photo: Todd Wojnowski)

Caffe Veloce - Nationwide Chain

A cheap but comfortable network of coffee shops

Found throughout major cities across Japan (Photo: Todd Wojnowski)
Todd Wojnowski   - 2 min read

Japan has cafes galore. With many local shops as well as many big-name chains, seekers of a cup of coffee or a quiet place to sit and study have plenty of options. What Caffe Veloce offers is all that, at a low price.

Compared to some of the other recognizable names, Caffe Veloce is a fairly bare-bones operation. They shun excess choices and the fancier menu options of their competitors, and in exchange manage to offer somewhat lower prices across the board.

In terms of drinks, they cover the basics: espresso, cafe latte, matcha latte, hot chocolate, cafe au lait, regular coffee, and tea. In the warm seasons they have a few floats - iced drinks with plenty of cream on top. And they have orange juice. If you want anything fancier, go elsewhere; this is not the place for you. While they may not have pages and pages of freshly ground options on their menu, they do offer these drinks at a fair discount compared to their competitors, and for the non-coffee aficionados who are more into the cafe experience rather than the coffee, Caffe Veloce may well be the place for you.

In terms of food, it's a similar story to the drinks. No handmade, designer sweets here - for the hungry, there's pre-packaged sandwiches (not unlike what you can buy in any convenience store) and some pre-packaged Danishes and cakes as well.

In terms of atmosphere, Veloce is a nice place to spend time. The decorations suggest a place a bit swankier than the menu would prove, but that's just fine with me. There are comfortable chairs, lots of counter seating for singles and small tables for pairs. Unfortunately, some Veloce locations have been slow to separate the smoking and nonsmoking sections, and many are simply side-by-side with no barrier in between. Other more updated locations have begun putting in special smoking rooms.

Caffe Veloce can be found across Japan. There are 210 locations nationwide, and while they aren't in every prefecture, there tend to be many in the big cities across the country. Caffe Veloce is the largest branch of the Chat Noir brand, which includes Caffe Veloce, Cafe Chat Noir, and Caffe La Corte.

Todd Wojnowski

Todd Wojnowski @todd.wojnowski

I am an avid backpacker, writer, marathon runner, hiker, eater of spicy foods, watcher of B-movies, and user of the Harvard comma. I'm originally from Buffalo, New York, and arrived in Japan in 2008.