© Yusuke Seki / Photography: Takumi Ota

Japan‘s extreme industriousness never fails to impress, and if you ask us, the abundance of coffee parlours secretly pitches in to sustain this reputation. The offerings are varied, ranging from mainstream coffee brands with flagship locations, to niche products by independent roasters serving their concoctions at tucked away spots. Obviously, Tokyo has its fair share of coffee parlours of any kind, but elsewhere in Japan the appreciation is just as high, spawning cool new hangouts where to daily indulge in freshly ground brews.

Let’s have a look at Voice of Coffee, a newly opened opened café nestled in the maze of streets in downtown Kobe. The venue occupies the ground floor of a modest three-storey structure with a brick façade, and features an interior design, created by architect Yusuke Seki. The setting can be best described as raw and basic, but also takes into account a traditional sense of aesthetic. The façade may still be adorned by faded 理容 AAA lettering, the name of the barber shop which previously occupied the space, but the inside has been completely transformed. A traditional engawa has been created, a buffer space between the street and the actual interior, allowing patrons to sip coffee outdoors.

Behind a partition, made of glass framed by steel and glass bricks, and replete with a doorway, Voice of Coffee’s service station and sales counter is situated. Right behind it is a matching wall-mounted cabinet, and when advancing into the space, a small seating section can be found. The back of the café accommodates the roastery. The café’s backdrop boldly flaunts exposed walls and ceilings, laying bare bits and pieces of the building’s history. Location: Voice of Coffee, 3-1-17 Sakaemachidori (Chuo-ku).

© Yusuke Seki / Photography: Takumi Ota