Kyoto, Japan – The charming old capital of Japan has no lack of cafes. I am especially fond of cages housed in old historic buildings, so here is almost of some of my favourite cafes in Kyoto. Watch out for the best matcha latte in the city!
Another matcha house located not far from Nishiki Market, Yugen is located on a small road away from the hustle and bustle of Gion. The small space makes it a grab and go concept, though it is tempting for me to linger longer just to watch the tea experts making each tea order. I tried the Iced Matcha Latte and Iced Hojicha Latte, both prepared with some whisking. The tea to milk ratio is perfect, as the flavours are intense. It is easily one of the best versions of Matcha and Hojicha I ever had.
Where: 266-2 Daikokucho (Bukkojidori), Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8043, Japan
Pass The Baton Kyoto Gion
Located in Gion, the brand is more than a cafe space. The majority of the space here is dedicated to recycled products at the retail space, while there is a small section carved out for the cafe arm. Be expected to put your name on a waiting list as seats are limited, though it is all worthwhile with a lush view of the adjacent river by the window. With a minimum order of one item per diner, go for the shaved ice with matcha syrup.
Where:７７−６ Sueyoshicho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0085, Japan
Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe
This is one of my favourite coffee chain and I really miss Blue Bottle Coffee. Unlike Tokyo where there are multiple outlets, the main outlet in Kyoto is close to Nanzenji Temple. As with each Blue Bottle cafe, the first thing I usually notice is the design. Similar to Starbucks at Ninen-zaka, this Blue Bottle outlet is also housed in a machiya, or a traditional townhouse. There are ample space for coffee drinkers to chill over their drinks, with an awesome old Kyoto vibe in the air.
Where: Japan, 〒606-8437 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Nanzenji Kusagawacho, ６４
Walden Woods Kyoto
I walked my way to Walden Woods, an extremely white-washed and modern minimalist cafe about 1km away from Kyoto Station. The cafe is located in a quiet neighbourhood, dominated mainly by a young crowd who is out to seek some quiet space to enjoy their coffee. I had the Iced Coffee which has a fruity undertone, with a menu mainly consisting of single origin coffee. Make your order at level 1, and you will be surprised by the spacious and open concept of level 2 where there are no tables. Sit, relax and drink your coffee.
Where: 508-1 Sakaecho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8194, Japan
The cafe is only a few months old in Kyoto. I was attracted by the zen space here, small and cosy with a minimalist look. Malda doesn’t specialise in coffee per se, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking for some serious filter coffee. Instead, the menu is a mix of various snacks like cookies, muffins and teas.
Where: Japan, 〒604-8106 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Marukizaimokucho, ６８４ 中京
This coffee space is extremely out of sight. It is very close to Nishiki Market yet not at all touristy. I was on the waiting list for about 30 minutes, but it was all worthwhile for some zen moments with a coffee in hand and a view of a Japanese garden. The space is co-shared with a boutique shop, and I highly recommend the tatami style seats with a view of the garden. Otherwise, there are also limited tables available with partial or no garden view.
Where: Japan, 〒604-8083 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 三条通富小路東入中之町26
Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Nineizaka-Yasaka-Chaya
The only reason to visit this particular Starbucks in Kyoto is because it is housed in a 100 year old Japanese townhouse. From Kiyomizu-dera, it is a mere 10minutes walk to Ninen-zaka, the street where the wooden exterior Starbucks is housed. Make your orders at level 1, before proceeding to level 2 which you get to enjoy your beverages in traditional Japanese tatami style.
Where: 京都市東山区高台寺南門通下河原東入桝屋町349番地, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0826, Japan
Dandelion Chocolate Kyoto Higashiyama Ichinenzaka
Originally from San Francisco, my first encounter with Dandelion Chocolate was during my visit to Tokyo last year. If you are in Kyoto and love your chocolate, you must check out this outlet in Higashiyama which only opened in April this year. The gorgeous two-storey space, similar to the Starbucks, is housed in a traditional wooden building with a nice modern interior. Go for the classic hot chocolate or iced mocha, which will not disappoint.
Where:３６３−６ Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0826, Japan
% Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama
This list is incomplete without mentioning this coffee brand, since it all started in Kyoto back in 2014. There are a number of outlets in Kyoto, though the one which I visited is the Arashiyama outlet. Housed in a beautiful semi-glasshouse space, the small Arashiyama outlet is meant for takeaways instead of a conducive space to chill. I would say try it once for the fact that it is a local brand, though my experience at the Arashiyama was dismal. My iced coffee was bland and lack the punchy coffee notes, coupled with bad and rude service from the staff.
Where:３−４７ Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8385, Japan
Ranted by The Ranter