Hikari means “light” in Japanese, and when you step off Swanston Street into this new coffee and homewares shop across from the State Library, it lives up to its name. Local architecture firm Ai Republic did the fit-out, transforming what used to be strictly a retail store within a longstanding building into a light, bright, minimalist space – using Victorian ash timber, Japanese mosaic tiles, white textured paint and rattan.

Inspired by the cafes in Japan he visited while on business trips from China, Derek Yang has joined co-owners Damien Xiao and Steven Yan in opening Hikari. The trio has partnered with a handful of cafes in Japan to import a selection of their single-origin beans. “[They] source their beans from all over the world and roast them in their own way,” says Yang. “The Japanese tend to roast their beans with a very clean taste, so they are light and floral. We are … changing the beans from Japan every two to three weeks.”

A gleaming La Marzocco coffee machine makes espresso with the house blend from Code Black, while the Japanese beans are used for filter and pour-over brews. There are also matcha and hojicha (roasted green tea) lattes; the powders are sourced from Japan, then hand-whisked into a perfectly mesmerising cup by the Hikari team.

To go with your drink of choice, choose from a cabinet full of baked goods; cakes are from Mork, pastries are from Via Porta, and canelés are from Canelé Alain.

Hikari also sells bespoke Japanese homewares, which sit on illuminated shelving that runs the length of the cafe. Pick up a cute ceramic teapot or some retro, nostalgic Kinto Cast Amber cups. There’s also glassware from Hirota Glass, one of Japan’s oldest glassmakers, and ceramics from brands like 1616/Arita Japan and Yumiko Iihoshi. You can see (and shop) a selection of what’s available on the Hikari website.

Hikari
317 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Hours:
Mon to Fri 8.30am–4pm
Sat & Sun 9am–5pm

hikarilife.com.au