Lurking behind Ikebukuro’s neon-lit towers, karaoke bars and shopping mall temples of consumption is an incongruous gem: a café devoted to all things creative. Café Pause attracts designers, artists and writers from across the capital with its events, exhibitions and down-to-earth atmosphere. And the café successfully fuses cosiness with creativity: a higgeldy-piggeldy collection of plants and a blackboard mark the entrance while artworks and design exhibits line the wall.
The café even recently launched its own Pause Original Tea Blend – with packaging designed by five artists of course. But activities are not confined to tea drinking and navel gazing. With gallery director Jean Snow at the helm, there is a creative rostrum of events: from monthly Pause Talks by Tokyo creatives and regular exhibition openings to live art performances and book launch parties. But if there is nothing on, it’s a peaceful place simply to sit, flick through design mags and sip a cup of tea. Worth the trip to Ikebukuro.