The Best Cafes in Nasushiobara, Tochigi

Some of the best places to eat in Japan are located in Tochigi prefecture – specifically in the city of Nasushiobara.

While Nasushiobara and Kuroiso are not often mentioned in the same breath as Tokyo or Kamakura, Kuroiso cafes carry a charm that Tokyo cafes could never imitate. Located roughly 1 hour by bullet train, or 3 hours by local train, Kuroiso is the last stop on the Utsunomiya line. Kuroiso is known as a gateway to the popular resort area that even the Heisei emperor is fond of.

I was lucky enough to live in Nasushiobara, a place with beautiful nature, warm hot springs, and lively cafe culture. I absolutely love and miss Kuroiso dearly and I will forever be grateful for how living there for three years changed me as a person. One of the things I gained from my time in Kuroiso is an appreciation for Japanese cafes, particularly those in the countryside.

This list is divided into 2 main areas of Nasushiobara: Kuroiso and Nishi Nasuno. Here are the best places to eat and have a coffee!


Kuroiso is a located on the Northern side of Nasushiobara. Kuroiso is famous for cafes, so much so that people come from Tokyo to enjoy them. I was lucky enough to live here for 3 years and it changed my life and how I feel about food. Kuroiso is often known as the gate way to Nasu, the famous onsen, restort, hiking, and nature area. If you plan on visiting the Killing Stone then you’ll most likely go through Kuroiso!


6-6 Takasagocho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0045, Japan (Google Maps)

Built in the second floor of an old apartment building, SHOZO is an iconic cafe that is known for being a part of the beginning of modern day cafe culture in Japan. This cafe is an important player to the country’s transition in popularity between kissaten and cafes. SHOZO is important to me on a personal level because it introduced me to coffee! I didn’t used to drink coffee because I am incredibly sensitive to caffeine, but when I went with a friend and saw them order a Viennese Coffee, a hot coffee topped with a glorious amount of my greatest weakness, whipped cream, I had to have it. From there I have been expanding my coffee horizons and I have learned so much!

Exterior photo of 1988 Cafe Shozo overhang

SHOZO’s drink menu is a coffee based menu, with a focus on drip coffee. They have a food menu with an iconic pine nut tart, chiffon cake, and their famous scones. They also serve pizza toast, a kissaten staple, and seasonal cakes. My go to order is a Cafe Vienna, black coffee with a small amount of sugar and whipped cream on top, and their Cake Siesta, your choice of cake with one of their iconic scones.

This store is incredibly popular, it’s common for people to come from Tokyo to visit it, so depending on when you visit, there might be a wait list. It’s worth the wait. While you’re waiting, there are plenty of small shops around the area to look into. They also have opened multiple concepts that are more in a modern day cafe style throughout the Kanto region.

kanel bread

5-2 Honcho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0056, Japan (Google Maps)

kanel bread is a Kuroiso staple and one of my favorite bakeries in Japan. You can find anything from sandwich bread to pastries to pre-made sandwiches and cookies. Everything they make is delicious and I absolutely love it. This bakery is located directly across from Kuroiso Station, so it can sell out fast; be sure to stop by when you leave the station!

Iris bread&coffee

5-2 Honcho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0056, Japan (Google Maps)

Iris bread&coffee is a coffee shop concept by the owner’s and creator’s kanel bread. Iris serves specialty coffee, bread-based food, curry, and tarts and cakes. Located directly next door to kanel bread, you can also bring your purchases to Iris to sit down and enjoy with a coffee.

With Iris’s warm welcoming atmosphere and staff, it was one of my favorite places to study or hang out with friends. Below we have photos of some of their savory menu items, including a sandwich and their curry, as well as some of their seasonal fruit tarts. I absolutely will be visiting as soon as I can.

Café de Grand Bois

5-19 Honcho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0056, Japan (Google Maps)

Located near Kuroiso Station, Café de Grand Bois is a beautiful cafe located inside the old Kuroiso Bank building. Having been featured on NHK, the cafe is quite popular. This is also one of the few cafes in Kuroiso that is opened around dinner! I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in for a late night treat!


2-14 Miyacho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0055, Japan (Google Maps)

Holiday holds a special place in my heart, since I used to live nearby and frequented it often for alight meal and studying. Holiday is an NPO with a mission of employing and supporting people with disabilities, and aims to be a safe space for those with disabilities to gather.

Their menu has a couple of light meal options, with sandwiches and veggie or egg curries. Their dessert menu is always great, with a small sampler plate, cakes, and a tomato ice cream. My favorite dessert is their seasonal sakura chiffon cake! They also have a beautiful patio diner area which I highly recommend sitting at!


6-9 Takasagocho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0016, Japan (Google Maps)

hakubotan is a beautiful cafe located along one of Kuroiso’s main roads, near 1988 CAFE SHOZO. They have a full dining menu that features the metabolic diet and entrees with a heavy focus on vegetables. Their desserts are also great. I absolutely adore this cafe and their food and you should for sure try to get lunch there!


6-3 Takasagocho, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 325-0045, Japan (Google Maps)

Chus is a modern cafe, hostel, and store. Their menu changes frequently, but I highly recommend stopping by for lunch or dinner! They host a lot of events and pop-ups, so check social media to see what is happening! I know next time I’m in Kuroiso I’ll be staying at Chus’s hostel!

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Chus (@chus_table) • Instagram photos and videos


Japan, 〒325-0046 Tochigi, Nasushiobara, Daikokucho, 1−1 1F (Google Maps)

If you’ve spent any time in the Japanese countryside, you’ll start to miss the simple foods from home. For me it was pizza. MAD PERROS PIZZA is the place to scratch your New York style pizza itch in Kuroiso. This is a fun poppy restaurant located near SHOZO, if you got a pizza itch you might want to stop by!

Nishi Nasuno

Nishi Nasuno is located on the west side of Nasushiobara. It’s more of a younger family oriented area with fewer cafes but there are still some gems!


3 Chome-183-276 Nishimishima, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 329-2756, Japan (Google Maps)

If you’re looking for a modern bakery in Nishi Nasuno, SHŌPAIN ARTISAN BAKEHOUSE is the place! They have amazing sandwiches, cakes, baked goods, and coffee! It’s an excellent treat and a wonderful place to enjoy!

Y’s Muffin

502-44 Iguchi, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 329-2763, Japan (Google Maps)

Y’s Muffin makes amazing muffins and has great pancakes and French toast! They have a wonderful chili and corn bread that really hits the spot. It’s a great place to stop by if you’re on your way to Nasunogahara Park!

Nasushiobara and Kuroiso will always be special as a place with a thriving cafe culture that inspires me. I highly recommend taking the train out of Tokyo to give it a visit and see a part of the Japanese countryside.

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