Overseen by a World-Renowned Barista, SANTOMI CENTER Connects People Through a Love of Coffee and Art
SANTOMI CENTER is as its name suggests, a coffee shop at the center of Sanjo-dori and Tominokoji-dori streets.
The name SANTOMI is derived from the SAN in Sanjo-dori, a street located close to the Karasumaoike subway station, while TOMI is taken from the first part of Tominokoji-dori street.
The CENTER part of the name – along with the literal meaning of being at the center of these two streets – also signifies the fact that this place is a center for people to connect and communicate.
SANTOMI CENTER is overseen by Hiroshi Sawada, the owner barista of Sawada Coffee in Chicago. In 2008, Sawada became the first Asian World Champion Barista of "Latte Art World Championship," held in Seattle. SANTOMI CENTER is set apart by its unique offering of coffees only found here, such as "HOMEMADE CHEESE COFFEE" and "SAWADA STYLE LATTES."
In addition to their dedication to quality and unique menu items, SANTOMI CENTER is also home to a highly valued White Eagle espresso machine, one of only two in the whole of Japan.
They also painted it the same scarlet red as Shinto torii gates, in the image of Kyoto, making it truly a one of a kind.
For the interior of the cafe, SANTOMI CENTER decided to pay homage to the building's past life as a hair salon and created a stylish space with large mirrors and a barber's pole outside.
However, although the cafe may be modern and stylish, SANTOMI CENTER also made sure to add uniquely Japanese aspects to the cafe to make it homely for not only customers from overseas but Japanese customers as well. These Japanese design aspects help bring a relaxed atmosphere to the cafe and include things such as an indoor/outdoor Engawa-style bench and a Kamidana household altar.
SANTOMI CENTER is run by an event planning company, so originally opened with the intention of being home to art not often seen in cafes and somewhere with new, people connecting values. In order to realize this, artworks are displayed throughout the café, and an art gallery was opened on the second floor.
Additionally, the large windows in front of the Engawa bench also feature cool drawings by both the staff and the artists who display their pieces in the upstairs gallery. All these aspects lend to the overall feeling of art that the café was going for.
SANTOMI CENTER is a wonderful little coffee shop that perfectly balances the atmosphere of a café with that of an art gallery.
We recommend both those looking for authentic full-bodied and rich coffee, and those interested in trying something new and unique, to check out SANTOMI CENTER!