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Cafe 5040 Ocha-Nova
Price: 500 yen
Café 5040 Ocha Nova is a little downstairs house café near Koga Station. While living in Koga, at first I would pass it and wonder what that cute place was – succulents growing from tin cans and vines growing up the house. They open in the afternoon (the strange practice of most Japanese cafes, as opposed to opening at around 7:00am like the early-coffee-drinker American cafes), so once I figured out their hours, I made a visit.
This is the kind of place you see in magazines – in fact it has been featured in magazines and coffee shop books – and wish your home could look so lovely. Hardwood floors and features, beautifully designed furniture and kitchen items, dotted with handmade elements.
In addition, the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting and the staff is very friendly and well-traveled. On my first visit, I went alone and spent some time chatting with the owner in Japanese, but he used a little English and was pretty good at it. Seating is at the bar or at small tables spread around the first floor and on the patio in nicer weather. During winter there were warm blankets available to use.
I found it to be a little crowded on the weekends, but weeknights were more quiet. It’s an easy walk from Koga station, but if you’re coming from out of town, there are free bicycle rentals near the station and Koga Sogo Park (古河総合公園) nearby is especially nice during peach blossom season. This was the first place I brought out of town guests, as long as it was late enough for Ocha Nova to be open.
The menu is bar-café drinks and food like toast and sandwiches. The best element is the lovely latte art and handmade to order menu that makes the higher than chain coffee shop cost worth it. A larger café latte is around 500 yen and French toast or toast with jam, Nutella, etc. and a side salad is about the same.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-5040-Ocha-Nova/142480522460719