Denkiya Hall - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Denkiya Hall

This century-old electronics store-turned-cafe serves comforting, retro fare. 

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Founded in 1903 as an electronics store in Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood, Denkiya Hall transformed itself into a café after its skilled workers went away to fight in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Back then, electricity (or, in Japanese, denki) was considered a trendy thing. Asakusa’s famous liquor, Denki Bran (electric brandy), invented in 1882 at Kamiya Bar, attests to that.

As it turned out, Denkiya Hall was more successful as a café with a quirky name than as a dime-a-dozen electronics store. Lit by an antique chandelier and soundtracked with 1950s music, the warm, charming space is filled with local chatter and character. Some tables have vintage games attached to them, an endangered feature of Showa-era coffeeshops.

Many customers come here not for coffee but for a sweet red bean drink called yude-azuki, which was once popular at shrines and temples but rarely found anywhere nowadays.

Denkiya Hall is also known for its omu-maki, a retro dish that was invented here (and also uncommon elsewhere). On the menu since the founder’s times, it is similar to omurice but instead of rice, yakisoba is wrapped in an omelette. It’s a perfect dish to try at this nostalgic establishment, which evokes an era when electricity was still an in-vogue luxury.

Know Before You Go

The café is located in the so-called Kannon-Ura area, just north of the busier neighborhood surrounding Sensō-ji Temple. It is open every day except Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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June 19, 2024

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