the back streets.
WIFE AND HUSBAND
This tiny coffee place in north-eastern part of the city opened not too long ago. It's hidden on a backstreet a short distance from the Kamogawa river bed. Not only do they serve truly excellent coffee but you can also rent a picnic set (full with stools, table, coffee and snacks) and head over to the river to enjoy a cup out in the open on a sunny day. The café itself is tiny and filled with small antiques selected with care. The couple running Wife & Husband felt that they had too little time with their family in their everyday life and so they decided to turn things around and put family first. So they started roasting coffee beans and has since spent every day together. Here you can get a glimpse of their everyday life.
This is one of the best restaurant experiences I've had in quite some time. A communal eating space with room for around ten people at a time. I biked to Tan early on a Wednesday morning (they only have two sittings, 8 am or 9 am) and had a truly wonderful, traditional Japanese, vegetarian breakfast. Everything from the Tsukemono and Chawanmushi to steamed vegetables and a mushroom/tofu salad was deliciously prepared and served beautifully on unique wooden or ceramic plates - very Kyotoesque. With a few exceptions most meals in Japan are served individually, so this is a really nice and different experience. Not to mention the space itself. Nothing that forced itself upon you, but a very pleasant and architectonically well-thought through room. After having hade a second and third serving of most things on the table everyone is invited upstairs for a coffee looking out over the small river. I bet the dinner and lunch is just as good. Oh, and remember to call and book beforehand.
106-13 Gokencho (Sanjodori)
Located in one of the temple buildings around Motoyama Bukkō-ji is D&Department. A crafts and design concept with a café across the courtyard. They mostly sell new designs on traditional products but also a few vintage gems can be found here and there. Worth a visit even if you're not in the mood for shopping, the location is splendid.
Kyōto-shi, Japan, 〒600-8084
A modern Japanese restaurant in with the social media kids in Kansai. Behind the opaque exterior is a restaurant with sleek design (by Yuko Nagayama) serving Obanzai, Kyoto home-cooked dishes, on colorful plates from 6.30 am and onwards. It's located centrally in Karasuma overlooking an old storehouse and courtyard. However the large brass table is what captures your attention on entry, always with seasonal flower arrangements leaving nothing more to wish for.
Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei 1F
361 Rokkakucho, Rokkaku-sagaru, Shinmachi-doori,
UMEZO NO SABO / うめぞの茶房
Go for a modern take on the traditional Japanese sweet Yokan; a kind of jelly made out of adzuki beans and sugar. Not convinced by the sound of that? I promise the perfection in folding in modern flavours together with the fantastic ceramics and beautifully spartan environment will have you captured. And of course, get a pot of perfect Ryokucha to go with your sweet.
11-1 Murasakino Higashifujinomoricho
Kita Ward, Kyoto
Kyoto Prefecture 603-8223
11.30 am - 7 pm
In northernKyoto there is a small but well curated cafe/shop, next door to the flower studio Mitate. Kana has picked out a small but fine selection of crafts and clothes, and if you're getting hungry while getting there (it's a little bit far) she also serves vegan lunches.
41 Shichiku Shimotakedonocho
Kita Ward, Kyoto
Kyoto Prefecture 603-8412
WEEKENDERS COFFEE (TOMINOKOJI)
The perfect spot for a break when strolling central Kyoto. At the back of a parking lot (hence a little tricky to find) there is a tiny place serving mean coffee and a cake or two. They now run their own roastery, bringing out those sweet flavours in the beans. No inside seating but a teeny Japanese garden and a small wooden bench if your legs need a rest. Did I mention it's really pretty?
07.30 am - 6 pm
In a little off part of the city (which however holds one of the best stores for Washi, handmade paper, in Kyoto) is an old Kyoto Machiya turned into small cafe/bar. One out of the two Nishimura sisters behind the counter/in the small kitchen, serving a well executed breakfast/set lunch, and word around town has it that it's crowded in the night-time. No fuss, but a real keeper in my book.
10 am - 10 pm