A hidden refuge deep within Araki-Cho

Mi Refugio, which means “my refuge” in English, lives up to its namesake. Once you manage to find this cozy hideaway, deep within the Shinjuku neighborhood of Araki-Cho, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world.

2018-09-05   Bars & Restaurants, Arakicho, Tokyo,

Variety is the spice of life. The meal in the background features stewed, thinly sliced beef, while the meal in the foreground features vegetables and chicken soup.

Stepping into the small café—discretely located on the second floor of a small, plain office building—is a Narnia-esque experience. One moment you’re scouring the urban side streets of Araki-Cho, and then, almost in an instant, you’re transported to a warm, nostalgia-filled home in a fictional land where cultures from around the world collide.
The background music is distinctly American—classic jazz tunes, to be specific. The décor evokes Showa-era Japan and the books and classic decorations that fill the room are a feast for the eyes. Mi Refugio is the perfect hideaway for writers and artists who are seeking inspiration for their creativity.
Even at dinnertime, you’ll notice patrons curled up with a good book or hunched over an artistic work while nibbling away at their food or sipping freshly ground coffee. It’s the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to bump into someone like Hayao Miyazaki, working away on his latest masterpiece.

Mi Refugio even has its own “bookstore,” the perfect place to pick up some unique souvenirs.

To only describe Mi Refugio as a café would be selling it short. The traditional, homemade Japanese dinners here are simply amazing. A typical dinner costs around 1,000 yen per person and a light desert can be added for an extra 200 yen. In traditional Japanese style, both the beef- and chicken- based meals offer a wide of assortment of tasty treats to sample. From the pickled vegetables to the chicken soup, each item was brimming with flavor. The portion sizes are perfect and will leave you with that impeccable “hara hachi bu” feeling.

The chocolate cake, one of several light desserts.

If you don’t read Japanese, finding and entering Mi Refugio can be a little intimidating. Fear not, however, as the kindness of the staff will overcome any language barriers. Wherever you come from, Mi Refugio will quickly become your home away from home.

If you have trouble finding Mi Refugio, just look for the owl.

If you’d like to visit Mi Refugio, you might be interested in our ‘Vegetarian in Arakicho‘ exclusive food tour.

For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website that includes the place information:

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Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.


Address エミエール四ッ谷2F 6 Arakicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0007
Hours 12:00 – 22:00
Price 999 yen – 1,999 yen
Close Sundays and Thursdays
Access Five-minute walk from Yotsuya-sanchome Station (Exit 4) via the Tokyo Metro Marunouichi Line
Phone +81-3351-9129
Language Japanese
Website -