御中MINAKA is a sophisticated reformed machiya on 万寿寺通Manjuji Street (one street north of 五条通Gojo Street), west of 高倉通Takakura Street. I often pass by it on my way to and from work since it opened in mid-April 2012 but it had always appeared too intimidating to enter: I always imagined rich older Kyoto ladies having expensive dainty desserts and drinks while they chatted quietly inside and I wasn’t quite sure if I’d fit in with such a crowd much less be welcomed in…okay, I know I’m overthinking things but it’s quite possible in a few places in Kyoto.

Since it had been on my mind for a while to drop in sometime, I finally did so an hour before work today.

the exterior


I opened the wooden sliding door upon which a subdued voice behind a noren that separated the foyer from the rest of the café called out to let me know someone was around…soon the owner of the voice, a calm older woman of artsy sophistication came to greet me and tell me to take my shoes off before entering.

the foyer area


the gallery of wares on sale at the front next to the foyer


the area between the foyer, the gallery, the kitchen and the salon


the salon with a garden in the back…the restroom is out in that area, machiya-style.


a closer look at the counter space


I just fell in love with the sophisticated retro interior; the mix of Western and Japanese style is just fantastic! And the chairs all looked so comfy that I regretted not coming when I had more time to relax and bask in the charming atmosphere. I found out that the place turns into a bar at night and serves small dishes to go with alchohol; I don’t drink but it would be nice to come have a bit to eat then, though, especially because it would be so cozy at night.

I was surprised at how reasonable the café menu was. After conferring with the owner, I ordered a ブレンドコーヒーblended coffee, ¥450, 抹茶くりーむちーず三笠maccha kuriimu-chiizu mikasa (green-tea cream-cheese mikasa), ¥250, and シンプルチーズケーキ”simple”, or regular cheesecake, ¥300.


The cheesecake had lemon flavoring making it a bit tart than most cheesecake but it was so good with the coffee. The mikasa was the highlight for me…in case one’s not familiar with a mikasa, it’s what a どら焼きdorayaki is often called in the Kansai area. A dorayaki is two round & flat sponge cakes with red-bean paste in the middle but in this case the mikasa was filled with green tea-flavored cream cheese…just heavenly, made even better by the moist and perfectly sweet cake.

Since I was the only customer for a while, I asked if I could take pictures while she prepared my order and she said I was welcome to do so. Halfway through my stay, a group of five jolly older women swung by for tea time; one of them was familiar with MINAKA and had brought the crew. They were so excited checking out the place and when they noticed me watching them, they invited me to join in, haha! Although I had to be on my way, I waited until the owner got everyone’s order out before paying. The owner gave me a shop card and told me that the café had a Facebook page. I told her I wanted to write about the café in my blog and she happily encouraged me to do so, so here it is.☺


Address: 〒600-8405 京都市下京区万寿寺通高倉西入ル中之町Kyoto-shi. Shimogyo-ku. Manjuji-dori. Takakura Nishi-hairu. Nakanomachi 88

Telephone number: 075-342-4868

Access: 地下鉄烏丸線五条駅から徒歩5分minutes by foot from Subway Karasuma Line Gojo Station

Business hours: cafe- 11:30am-5:30pm, bar- 6:00-11:00pm

Cafe holiday: Tuesday night

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/minaka.kyoto

This entry was published on March 20, 2015 at 16:58. It’s filed under Café and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “御中MINAKA

  1. Thanks for the info, it’s so true sometimes you don’t dare enter some Kyoto machiya because they look a bit intimidating, so old and classy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • M-chan, right?! It wouldn’t be unusual to enter a place with no signs outside and come out having paid an arm and a leg for a dainty item because one didn’t have the courage to leave, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes there is a place where I really wanted to sit on the tatami and see the pond with the koi carps but for a long time I thought it was a high class restaurant. Then I realized it was just a café with affordable drinks ^^.
        I miss Kyoto so much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, oh, yeah? Glad you found out in time to have a nice cafe experience! Are you talking about 洛匠Rakushou?


      • Yes !! I love it especially their matcha float!

        Liked by 1 person

      • but shush I don’t blog about this place because it’s one of my favourites in Kyoto so I don’t want to see it overrun by noisy foreigners – even worse French people (I AM a foreigner but I’m not noisy^^ and during my holidays the last thing I want is to hear my own language…. I’m a bit of a savage I guess).


      • Ah, I can understand how you feel, it’s hard when I’m turned away from my favorite cafes because of crowds, but even if there’s few information on it, it’s still a cafe that tourists can chance upon easily while on ねねの道the Path of Nene in 東山Higashiyama, especially with the opening that shows a beautiful view of the garden and 鯉carp pond…there’s always people stopping to look and take pictures. 🙂


      • Yes it’s so obvious though not so accessible.The worst is during Gion matsuri when japanese tourists queue to get in.


      • I can imagine! It’s in many Japanese travel magazines.


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