Written by Merilwen Horseback
Café and Igo Hidamari - A Gathering Place For Go Lovers!
Go is an extremely engaging game that has been fascinating players for centuries. At Café and Igo Hidamari in Tokyo, you can enjoy this game while sipping on your favorite drink. They also have exciting events welcoming players of all levels!
Have you ever tried playing Go (Japanese chess)? At first sight, it may seem a difficult and time-consuming game, but it is actually very exciting and extremely popular among people of all ages.
Let us introduce to you Café and Igo Hidamari, a cafe where everyone can experience the charm of this ancient game!
What Kind of Game is Go?
Go is an abstract strategy board game with a history of more than 2,500 years starting in ancient China. Nowadays, the game has spread worldwide and is most popular in China, Japan and Korea. Especially after the publication of the popular manga series Hikaru no Go, the trend of playing Go has escalated quickly, motivating many people from all over the world to start playing.
In contrast to other board games of the same kind, Go has a relatively simple set of rules. However, it proves its extreme complexity and wide range of move variations once players start using the full-width board (19 x 19). Though this may make it sound difficult, the game is really interesting!
You can imagine you are a military general and the stones in your hand are your underlings. The battle’s outcome depends completely on how wisely you lead your soldiers.
Café and Igo Hidamari - A Gathering Place for Go Lovers!
Picture courtesy of Cafe and Igo Hidamari
Being a passionate Go player herself, Pandora innovated her grandfather’s shop and turned it into a space where everyone can enjoy playing Go while relaxing in a room filled with the aroma of coffee. This is Café and Igo Hidamari, located on the second floor of an elegant building in the Kamiikedai area in Tokyo.
Combining café and Go was indeed a great idea. A tense game of 2-3 hours might indeed make you feel thirsty, so a sip of coffee or tea will come as a blessing!
There are a couple of other Go-themed cafés in Tokyo, but Hidamari is truly unique.
First of all, you will be able to notice the open and relaxing atmosphere of this cozy space with large windows filled with sunlight. If you use your observant eyes, you can discover other signs showing that this place is completely devoted to the game.
With the exception of the obvious Go boards, you will notice that the counter is decorated with black and white dots, just like Go stones.
These cute coasters have questions related to Go printed on them. While enjoying your drink, you can take up the challenge to answer these questions.
The furniture design at Hidamari is also inspired by Go. There are two kinds of tables - for diners and for players. The dining tables have a plain surface and a niche where you can take out the board and stones to play after finishing your meal.
On the other hand, the Go tables have the 19x19 lines of a Go board drawn directly on the surface and two drawers for players to keep their drinks and stone boxes.
As for the menu, you can choose from a wide range of rinks and sweet treats to enjoy. In the picture below you can see Igo-zenzai and Matcha latte. To imitate the black and white stones on the board, this Igo-zenzai contains black and white mochi in the sweet red bean soup.
You may be curious about the ingredients that make the black mochi, but it’s the shop’s secret! Just kidding, if you ask Pandora, she'll be happy to tell you.
Tips on Visiting Hidamari
Hidamari is usually open from 13:30 to 20:00 on every day of the week except Wednesdays. However, three times a week, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (from 18:00), an event called Igo Night is held until 23:00.
Every time, information about the upcoming events is published on their Facebook page, Couchsurfing and Twitter in both English and Japanese. Don’t worry if you have never tried Go before. The staff at Hidamari will teach you how to play, starting with the smallest board of 9x9 lines. This service is free of charge!
Picture courtesy of Café and Igo Hidamari
During daytime, Hidamari is visited mostly by senior players. However, in the evening, it's not a rare sight to see people from other countries playing Go with the locals like this. I actually made friends with a French player after joining in a match with him here at Hidamari.
To all the fans of Hikaru no Go - Doesn’t it look like the Go club where Hikaru met Touya?
Hidamari is exceptionally foreigner-friendly! Their staff can speak English fluently and they also have an English menu. Moreover, they have English announcements on their website regarding their events.
And that’s not all! Non-Japanese guests are exempted from paying the table charge of 1,000 yen! So you can just order something and start playing!
A final tip - people from other countries and young people mostly gather on Thursday night. There are beginners, as well as strong players, so if you are worried about coming alone, just know that there are always friends waiting for you there.
Play Go and Make New Friends at Hidamari!
They say that through a game of Go you can take a glimpse at your opponent’s personality. Everyone has their own unique style, and even during the long match in silence, two players keep communicating with each other via their stones. This is only one among the many interesting aspects of Go. We'll leave you experience all the rest for yourself. Do visit Hidamari, try this fascinating game, and make new friends!
|Address||Tokyo, Ōta, Kamiikedai, 1-32-7 TIFFANY132 R.201|
|Business Time||Monday, Tuesday, Sunday 13:30 - 20:00 |
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 13:30 - 23:00
|Required Time||3-4 hours|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages||English|
|Nearest station||Nagahara Station|
|Access||1 minute walk from Nagahara Station on Tokyu Ikegami Line|
|Website||Cafe and Igo Hidamari (Japanese)|
In cooperation with Café and Igo Hidamari