I’m so set to make Kyoto a yearly thing. It has always been that one special place in the world that I hold most dear (besides the Philippines, of course), especially after that life-changing solo trip I did back in 2014.
There’s always something new to see whenever I’m there, but I’ve never done a proper coffee crawl until my recent trip. In all my previous visits, I’ve often prioritized cultural spots over anything else. This time, however, I can’t anymore ignore the dynamic coffee scene happening over there. Seeing Kyoto’s old Kissaten culture evolve into Kyoto’s cafes of today? I’ll surely dedicate my each of my future Kyoto mornings to coffee!
Here are some cafes you might want to visit the next time you’re in Kyoto:
Right after checking in at our hotel (I often stay near Kyoto Station!), we went straight to Kurasu. Seeing their ads on Facebook made me instantly think about them when I started making our itinerary. Once an online store selling coffee-related goods, they finally got to set up shop in a very convenient location. Rg got a flat coffee dripper by Munieq that we now bring with us everywhere.
Near: Kyoto Station
2) STARBUCKS COFFEE KYOTO NINENZAKA YASAKA TEA PARLOR
Chances are, you might have already seen this go viral.
This Starbucks is truly the first of its kind. What an experience, being inside a 100-year-old Japanese house while enjoying your favorite Starbucks drink. The facade blends in with the rest of the buildings in Ninenzaka, and they managed to keep a lot of the traditional Japanese elements like the rock garden on the first floor, and the tatami mats and silk scrolls on the second floor. Enjoyed a delightful Iced Yuzu Citrus Tea (unfortunately a Japan exclusive) after a long day of walking.
It’s a destination in itself, so expect a line!
3) INODA COFFEE HONTEN
The kissaten of all kissatens! This cafe chain has been around for more than 70 years. Everything about it is old school, from the exterior down to the menu.
We already had breakfast when we went so we were unable to try their famous brunch selections, but we made sure to buy some of their coffee beans. Bonus points that they come in beautiful retro-style tin cans that totally matchy the vibe of our place.
Location: Doyucho, near Sanjo-dori (Nakagyo Ward)
We stumbled upon this by accident! It was raining really hard and we didn’t have a choice but find the nearest refuge. Who would’ve thought there’d be a zen garden and cafe at the back of a men’s fashion store? A taste of peace and quiet in the middle of a busy neighborhood.
Location: Nakanocho, near Sanjo-dori (Nakagyo Ward)
5) DRIP & DROP COFFEE SUPPLY
The rain was so strong at one point that we had to stop every 5 minutes to get our bearings. Good thing this neighborhood has a ton of blog-worthy gems. We found this one by accident under a cool designer hostel.
Location: Asakuracho, B1F Piece Hotel Sanjo (Nakagyo Ward)
6) WEEKENDERS COFFEE
Coffee lovers wouldn’t want to miss Kyoto’s Weekenders Coffee. Lots of smaller cafes source their beans from Weekenders, one of Kyoto’s pioneers in specialty coffee. They recently opened their Tominokoji branch that’s tucked in a parking lot somewhere.
There are only 2 seats so expect take-away coffee!
Location: Honeyanocho (Nakagyo Ward)
7) 1er ÉTAGE
Here’s a little something different. 1er ETAGE is a cafe slash dry flower shop a.k.a. a cafe that I wish I thought of. So pretty! I would’ve bought a ton if only there was a way to transport them to Manila without ruining the arrangement.
Location: Funayacho, walking distance from Nishiki Shrine
8) TRAVELING COFFEE
Travel back in time and experience an old elementary school classroom while enjoying tea and coffee. The concept is very unique and well worth a visit if you’re already in the area!
Location: Bizenjimacho, near Kiyamachi-dori and Pontocho
Photos are from November 2017.
Click here to check out my cafe recommendations in Taipei.
Click here to check out my cafe recommendations in Seoul.