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15 of the Best Cafes to visit in Kyoto

Kyoto is perhaps most identified with elaborate traditional tea ceremonies, but it is also home to its own distinct cafe culture that can be dated to the country’s embrace of European modernity at the turn of the 19th century into the 20th.
In the early 20th century, cafes, coffee shops, and kissaten represented swinging, sophisticated modern life for a generation of Japanese urbanites.
Now, a century on, cities like Kyoto host a mixture of old-school cafes, where men puff Peace-brand cigarettes and drink pour-over coffee, and austere third-wave-coffee establishments whipping up cold brew and artisanal snacks.
The fact is that both often do the same thing with the same tools and the same beans, but with a very different esthetic and ethos.
The latest cafes in Kyoto cater to the new thirsts for espresso and cold brew of Kyoto coffee connoisseurs and the flood of international visitors, while also trying to make a home in the ancient capital.

15 of the Best Cafes to visit in Kyoto

Index

  • Walden Woods

  • Weekenders Coffee

  • Starbucks Ninenzaka

  • Wanderers Stand

  • Kaikado Café

  • Kissa Soiree 喫茶ソワレ

  • Omo Café

  • Ninigi Gion Main Store 仁々木 祇園本店

  • Café Bibliotic Hello

  • Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

  • Blue Bottle

  • Sarasa Nishijin さらさ西陣

  • WIFE&HUSBAND

  • Salon de Royal KYOTO

  • PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

  • Walden Woods

    Walden Woods

    Walden Woods

    Named for Henry David Thoreau’s wilderness escape, Walden Woods in Sakaecho is certainly a fine place to contemplate the simple life. Walden Woods shares with traditional Kyoto cafes the commitment to a fine cup of coffee, with a rotating selection of single origin drinks on the menu—but all resemblances end there: this is a cafe at the cutting edge, with a minimalist esthetic that strips away all that is unnecessary, including tables. After ordering a cup, guests head upstairs to a square room with amphitheater seats. Walden Woods takes the design ideas of the third wave cafe to their avant garde conclusion.

    Walden Woods

    Walden Woods

    Walden Woods Kyoto
    rating 6 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoto-shi Shimogyo-ku Sakaecho 508-1
    Phone
    0753449009
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.walden-woods.com/
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  • Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee opened in 2005 as one of the first espresso shops in Kyoto. Since then, the area has seen an explosion of coffee shops, but we still think that the shop that started it all is one of the best around. Since 2011 they also run their own roaster - the quality of their beans is truly excellent. In 2016, they opened a new small shop on the Tominokoji Street. The shop is tucked away in the corner of a boring parking lot but has a tiny garden with a few seats in front of it, making this place an excellent stop while you’re checking out the rest of the shops in this interesting neighborhood.

    Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee

    Weekenders Coffee

    WEEKENDERS COFFEE Tominokoji
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoto Nakagyo Honeyanocho
    Phone
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.weekenderscoffee.com/index.html
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  • Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    The third wave of coffee gave birth to Starbucks—and Intelligentsia, Stumptown and Counter Culture, Blue Bottle, on and on—and the firm’s tens of thousands of locations have been the driving force behind getting folks to try espresso-based drinks. With that defense out of the way… The Ninenzaka branch of the chain, located in one of the most famous preserved districts of Kyoto, has been set up in a renovated building. The interior is furnished with tatami, although the menu is mostly unchanged. Like everywhere in the neighborhood, expect a long wait to get in.

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Niyasushizaka Yasaka Chaya
    rating 85 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Kodaiji Minami-dori Shimogawara Higashi Ino Masuya cho 349
    Phone
    0755320601
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.starbucks.co.jp/store/search/detail.php?id=1476
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  • Wanderers Stand

    Wanderers Stand

    Wanderers Stand

    West from Walden Woods across Karasuma Dori, Wanderers Stand strikes a balance between hard-edged avant design vibes and the wood-and-smoke atmosphere of the local kissaten. Like all third wave shops in Kyoto, Wanderers Stand is fairly young, with only a few years under its belt. This is ideal neighborhood cafe or a great place to drop in on, if you just happen to be in town, with banana sandwiches, espresso, and baristas that look like they’d have an encyclopedic knowledge of Touch and Go Records releases or the films of Bruce LaBruce. Order a drip coffee to enjoy alongside an order of pizza toast, and watch the baristas go to work.

    WANDERERS STAND
    Address
    京都府京都市下京区八百屋町58 イチハタビル1F
    Phone
    075-353-5958
  • Kaikado Café

    Kaikado Café

    Kaikado Café

    At Kaikado, the natural light that pours in through the front windows play off the shop’s copper fixtures and honey-colored wood. There’s coffee on the menu but the carefully curated selection of tea is the real draw here, ranging from the cafe’s own Earl Grey blend to an iced matcha latte. This is a comfortable spot to relax with a warming bowl of stew and a cup of good tea.

    Kaikado Cafe
    Address
    京都府京都市下京区河原町通七条上る住吉町352
    Phone
    075-353-5668
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.kaikado-cafe.jp/
  • Kissa Soiree 喫茶ソワレ

    Kissa Soiree

    Kissa Soiree

    Kissa Soiree has a long history. Established in 1948, this retro, western-styled building offers a touch of nostalgia from the Showa era. The blue light inside makes you feel like you are in a dream. Their most popular menu item is jelly punch for 650 yen. The owner’s wife came up with this idea! The colorful jelly and fruits in their pretty, clear glass will remind you of a shiny jewelry box! This is definitely an Instagenic item. Try to view it through the lights. Not only will your camera be filled with joy but your heart will be too! Its taste is refreshing, with the accent of fizzy soda popping in your mouth.

    Kissa Soiree

    Kissa Soiree

    Kissa Soiree

    Kissa Soiree

    Soiree
    Address
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Nishikiya-machi District Shijyo Kameru Makamachi 95
    Phone
    0752210351
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.soiree-kyoto.com/
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  • Omo Café

    Omo Café

    Omo Café

    A lovely café and restaurant located in an old townhouse (Machiya) that dates back over 100 years. The interior has been tastefully renovated, keeping many of the original details intact including a tiny garden next to the windows at the back of the building. Omo serves delicious traditional Japanese food. We strongly recommend their “omo plate” for 1550 yen. The contents vary depending on the season, but we can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

    Omo Café

    Omo Café

    omo cafe
    rating 33 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Nishiki Koji Road Ueshiya Town Kamiya Umeya Cho 499
    Phone
    0752217500
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.secondhouse.co.jp/omoya2_cafe-top.html
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  • Ninigi Gion Main Store 仁々木 祇園本店

    Ninigi Gion Main Store

    Ninigi Gion Main Store

    Ninigi is located pretty close to the Higashiyama Yasaka Shrine. It’s the perfect place to allow yourself to have a little break from walking around the city, even at nighttime. As it’s in Gion, the famous night-time district of Kyoto, their door is open until 2 am on weekdays. The most popular item at Ninigi is their rich custard pudding that’s served in a cute milk bottle. This smooth, vanilla-flavored pudding almost tastes like cream and will melt in your mouth. Moreover, the aromatic bitter caramel on the bottom perfectly matches with its sweet custard. This pudding is available for 450 yen and is especially popular among the ladies.

    Ninigi gionhonten
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachikitagawa 347-115 Inside the Banquet path
    Phone
    0755412120
    Remarks
    【URL】http://ninigi.co.jp/
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  • Café Bibliotic Hello

    Café Bibliotic Hello

    Café Bibliotic Hello

    This spacious café is located a few blocks away from the most crowded shopping areas, yet still in the heart of Kyoto. Set in an old traditional wooden building, filled with books, plants, stylish furniture and the smell of delicious coffee, this place is worth taking the small detour. The books are focused on art and design, and of course all patrons are welcome to take their time reading
    them while slowly sipping on a coffee.

    Café Bibliotic Hello!
    Address
    Unsupported.
    Phone
    0752318625
    Remarks
    【URL】http://cafe-hello.jp/
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  • Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop is a young operation but they’ve had Kyoto on lock for the past couple years, opening locations across the city and even a satellite operation in Bangkok. The tiny branch beside a 250 yen a bowl soba spot, down a side street in Shinkyogoku, might be the most charming, but the largest of Drip and Drop’s outposts is their setup near Ginkakuji. Drip and Drop has all the bells and whistles and squeaky clean sheen of a corporate operation, but the menu is pure third wave, with single origin aeropress, strong espresso, and baristas that can walk you through your order.

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Address
    京都府京都市左京区浄土寺東田町55-1 1F
    Phone
    0757416411
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.drpdrp.com/
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  • Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle

    It seems perverse to queue for Blue Bottle in a city like Kyoto. By comparison, the many Tokyo locations of the shop are usually fairly busy but you can still get a cup of cold brew at the branch in Shinagawa Station and still make your train on time—not to mention, there are plenty of coffee shops in the city! But it is very good, the line moves quickly, and Japan does host the only overseas Blue Bottle outlets. The opening of the Kyoto shop, near Nanzenji, is a sign that Kyoto coffee culture is coming into its own.

    Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoto Sakyo Nanzenjikusagawacho 64
    Phone
    Remarks
    【URL】https://bluebottlecoffee.jp/
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  • Sarasa Nishijin さらさ西陣

    Sarasa Nishijin

    Sarasa Nishijin

    Sarasa Nishijin is one of a half-dozen Sarasa-branded shops in Kyoto but is perhaps the microchain’s most iconic location, in a former bath house a brief stroll west of Kuramaguchi Station. The shop’s regularly rotated set lunch menu is popular, and there are also modern takes on kissatenclassics like Napolitanand omurice. Sarasa also offers vegan and vegetarian options.
    Sarasa is as far as one can get from chain shops like Starbucks (or smoky salaryman hangouts like Doutour and Excelsior). The charming interior is unique and inviting, and there are many hints at the former use of the space, like the tile mosaics and rough walls. Spending an afternoon in Sarasa, it’s impossible not to imagine dropping everything to take up a new life as a Kyoto hipster.

    Sarasa Nishijin

    Sarasa Nishijin

    Sarasanishijin
    rating 62 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Murasakinohigashifujinomorichou 11-1
    Phone
    0754325075
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.cafe-sarasa.com/
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  • WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE & HUSBAND is an antique cafe located near the Kamogawa river where you can feel the warmth of trees.
    Like the store name, it is owned and operated by a couple and offers a particular coffee.
    On sunny days, the shop will prepare a mug, a cup of coffee in a thermos bottle, and a basket of small sweets for a picnic on the riverside of the Kamogawa river. If you would like to spend a slow time, why not stop by once by all means.

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE&HUSBAND

    WIFE & HUSBAND
    rating 3 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Koyamashimouchikawarachou 106-6
    Phone
    0752017324
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.wifeandhusband.jp/
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  • Salon de Royal KYOTO

    Salon de Royal KYOTO

    Salon de Royal KYOTO

    The history of Salon de Royal began with its establishment in 1935. What’s gorgeous about this sophisticated chocolatier is not only its delightful chocolate but also its location by the Kamo River where you can enjoy the shower of sakura petals during spring. You can enjoy their chocolate with a cup of coffee or champagne on the terrace during the warmer months. The views from the terrace seats will surely entertain you whenever you visit. Feel the nice, refreshing breeze in early May or enjoy the sound of water cooling you down during the summer.

    salon do Royal Kyoto
    rating 17 Reviews
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nakagyou-ku Kiyachou Through Oike Agaru Kamikoriki cho 502
    Phone
    0752114121
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.s-royal.com/
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  • PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    Philosopher’s path is one of Kyoto’s most famous districts.
    Situated near the renowned temple Honen-in 法然院, PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO is a stylish coffee truck style stand that’s located on this path.
    Walking around Kyoto in the hot and humid summer months might make you tired but this is an ideal oasis! Order one of their popular drip coffees to recharge your energy. Their fruit soda (which is available only in certain seasons) is another great choice. They also offer snacks and alcohol drinks if you’re in the mood. There are a couple of seats available in front of their truck but you can, of course, take your drinks to go.

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO

    PHILOSOPHERS KYOTO
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Shishigatanihouneninchou 41
    Phone
    0757417323
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.instagram.com/philosopherskyoto/
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