The sleepy one, part 3 (Photo: Joe Robinson)

Die Katze Café in Shinjuku

For a charmingly irregular lunch break

The sleepy one, part 3 (Photo: Joe Robinson)
Joe Robinson   - 3 min read

It’s easy to miss Die Katze on your way between Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and famous sites like Hanazono Shrine (in fact I walked past it a few times while navigating Shinjuku’s labyrinthine criss-cross of side streets) but if it does happen to catch your eye, it’s definitely worth taking a break from your hectic itinerary to relax in this charming cat-themed café.

‘Cat-themed’ is indeed more accurate than labeling it a bona-fide cat café, as Die Katze seems to only have two cats, one of whom is a sleepy but friendly tabby and the other runs away from everyone who isn’t the cook bringing him food. That said, the walls of the café are plastered with cats of all kinds; the cat theme even extends to the cups of sugar for your tea and the lace shades on the windows.

The owner seats guests and takes orders (a smile on her face the entire time) while a quiet young man prepares and serves the food. Whether they are related or not, the café has a definite homely feel. From the shelves crammed with books and cat ornaments to the extremely fast service of rough and ready food, one could be forgiven for thinking they were in the large dining room of a cat-obsessed family’s home.

Your best bet is to come between 11:30 (opening time) and 15:00 and order both food and tea, as this combination provides a considerable discount. A beef hash and rice with jasmine tea will set you back ¥880 (this also includes a small complimentary side salad) while the tea alone costs around half that amount. There are a variety of scones and cakes on offer if you’re not in the mood for something savoury (I was extremely tempted by the cat-shaped cakes). The portion sizes are filling but not large, and the cooking basic but tasty – the beef hash contains only a few identifiable ingredients, the sauce is rich and the rice is perfect. The jasmine tea is cheap and cheerful; however with 30 teas on offer there’s bound to be a lot or variation there. The background music was exclusively smooth jazz, adding to the air of tranquil separation from the busy streets outside.

Die Katze is an easy 5 minute walk from Shinjukugyoen-mae station on the Marunouchi Line, so if you’re in the neighbourhood and feel like an affordable and relaxing lunch (and if the shortage of actual cats doesn’t faze you) then be sure to head down.

Joe Robinson

Joe Robinson @joe.robinson

21 year old Chinese Studies student at the University of Sheffield, UK Keen photographer (film and digital) and lover of all things East Asian In Tokyo for July 2016!