In early July of this year, I finally had a chance to go to hygge when I met up with Katalin while she was in the process of moving before going on a month-long trip of Japan…being into machiya cafés in Kyoto, I’d been wanting to go since seeing it in a magazine at a café last year. I knew that it’s near Tambaguchi Station but I didn’t have the confidence to find it easily and the Kyoto summer heat was going to make it harder. I asked Katalin to meet me at the station so that there’d be no trouble in us meeting up. Just as I had expected, Katalin led me through a maze of little streets which she knew pretty well from living in the area, sharing information about shops when she could. At one point I remembered walking through a particular shopping street with Laurel early last year on our way to church one Sunday afternoon.
We eventually arrived at hygge…with only a little sign to indicate that it’s a café, it would take an effort to notice it, even with it being a charming machiya style.
The owner and his family (his wife and newly born daughter) live on the second floor; they’re originally from Tokyo.
There is another table for two in the area in the back…you need to take off your shoes and put on slippers supplied by the café for that area. I highly recommend the slippers because I almost got a splinter in my foot from the flooring going barefoot.
a closer look at the area in the back…it is also used to display goods, some for sale. The restroom is outside as well as a small garden like in most machiyas.
the view of the café from the back area…hygge is a Danish word that describes the coziness and intimacy felt through a sense of comradery from the people in the environment; that’s the type of place that the owner wants to create for everyone at the café.
Katalin got the なすのオリーブオイル漬けnasu no oriibu oiru-dzuke (eggplant pickled in olive oil), ￥400, because she’d had a bite to eat earlier.
The only food available was カレーkaree (curry), ￥800, so that’s what I got…this one was more Japanese-style and had chicken in it.
I was really hot from the walk to the café and I never really cooled down while being there; it didn’t help that everything that I ordered was hot, too. Although the curry was good, I can’t recommend it to those with big appetites because the portion is quite small for the price that I paid; I think that Katalin would make a similar comment about her dish as well. hygge is actually more of a tea house, seeing that the list of teas was longest in the menu; needless to say, the chai was good…I’d like to try the other teas sometime. The owner’s wife helps with the cooking and serving in the café but since she had been busy with child-rearing when we went, the owner was manning shop alone. Maybe the next time that I can make it there, alone (I though that it was very hitori-sama-friendly) or with a friend, there’ll be more goodies to eat.