Healthy Food and Free Play at Organic Cafe Lulu
Located just a three-minute walk from Kiba station on the Tozai line, Organic Cafe Lulu is what the Japanese call an "oyako" cafe, meaning it is designed specifically for parents and children. It even has a spacious play area—a rarity in Tokyo—for kids to stay entertained while the adults eat and socialize.
Softly lit with high ceilings, Organic Cafe Lulu is carpeted with soft, fake grass and littered with wooden tables and chairs of different sizes and shapes, giving it a natural, organic feel. Guests remove their shoes at the entrance, ensuring the floor remains clean enough for little ones to crawl around on.
Kids have free reign to wander the spacious room, and there is a small playhouse with a mini kitchen set and a soccer foosball game, perfect for imaginary play. There are not many toys in the cafe, but there are enough books and cozy sofas and chairs to keep avid readers and parents who love reading to their kids occupied for hours.
The cafe opened last year, and is downstairs from an international school, Learning Tree, that is in its 14th year. According to cafe staff, the owner of the cafe and president of the school, Fumi Masaki, increasingly found that students who were enrolling in her school had food allergies. In order to create a healthy environment at the school, Masaki decided to provide healthy, nutritious lunch food to her students.
The school began offering an all-organic lunch menu, and in 2014 Masaki expanded this to offer the same food to the public, and thus Organic Cafe Lulu was born. All the food served in the cafe is organic and free of dairy and eggs.
Lunch plates start at ¥1,500 for adults, and kids’ plates cost ¥1,000 (¥500 if ordered with an adult plate). The cafe seats 80 people, although on the Friday afternoon I visited with my two daughters only five of the 20-odd tables were filled.
Students in Learning Tree uniforms drifted in and out of the cafe greeting staff members, parents and fellow students in a mixture of Japanese and English. There are two bilingual staff members, and after 4 p.m. assistant teachers come down to the cafe and are available to read English books to children.
My older daughter, who is a blooming reader, and I were pleased to find a good selection of English books lining the walls all around the large cafe space. There were the usual bestsellers but also a very nice assortment of interesting reads.
We settled in to a cozy nook to read some books including the gorgeously-illustrated The Rainbow Goblins and a heart-warming The Princess Who Had No Kingdom. An assistant teacher also delighted my daughters by reading The Smartest Giant in Town.
Some Saturdays there are parent-child workshops offered such as yoga, cooking and arts and crafts workshops. The cafe is also outfitted with family-friendly bathroom facilities, including child-sized toilets and sinks and a diaper-changing table.
Address: 5-6-30 Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Open: Mon–Sat, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (last order 4:30 p.m.)