Oyokogawa-Shinsui Park is a long park walkway that runs alongside the Oyokogawa River in Sumida, eastern Tokyo. It's a gorgeous park where you'll find fishermen, children, joggers, the elderly, dog-walkers, and an entire range of people who live in and around the tall apartment buildings that dot both edges of this narrow but winding green space. The Sumida area of Tokyo might be more residential than central Tokyo but this park is alive - and safe - twenty-four hours a day, with all-night police patrols.
Towards the northern side of the park is the Sasaya Gallery and Cafe. Admittedly we only went in because they offer free WiFi, but even after just a single visit we became very regular regulars.
The staff are not entirely multilingual but they are incredibly warm, friendly, and welcoming. The menu is in Japanese and English. The cafe specialises in organic vegan food. Not usually my preferred menu but the kitchen but a great deal of care and delicacy into creating wonderful little creations - salads and tiffin-style eating, as well as homemade cakes, all made with with ethically- and locally-sourced ingredients.
The decor is functional but pretty (think MUJI meets Charles and Ray Eames), with both tables and sofas. The music can be a little loud, but when we visited it was mostly jazz and soul, so I wasn't too bothered about the volume. The prices are reasonable, and they have refill (organic) coffees.
If I were to make Sumida my base, this would be my Central Perk.