“Kyoto-integrated” is a term I want to use for establishments without true roots in Kyoto yet are noteworthy enough to be a part of Kyoto café culture…here are some of those to which I’ve been.


clockwise from top left: the street on which the café is; the café from outside; the view from the entrance; head barista Yamaguchi-san working on my coffee; stairs up to the staff’s space above; the café’s “Tornado King”, a Japanese roasting machine; the cafe’s coffee-bean dispensers; the supply of coffee beans on display; my ショートブレンドカフェラテshort-size blended caffè latte, ¥400


Occupying a simple yet stylish renovated machiya close to 法観寺Hokan-ji (or also known as 八坂の塔Yasaka’s Pagoda), % ARABICA KYOTO boasts excellent coffee by a staff of barista headed by Kyoto-born world latte-art champion Junichi Yamaguchi. Feel free to have a cup at the counter seating or grab one to go while rambling through 東山Higashiyama.

Kyoto Villa Chocolat BEL AMER京都別邸: Chocolat Bar BEL AMER

clockwise from top left: the view from my booth seat; Mason’s 大西茶園 新宮茶 初採りOnishi Tea Shop’s first picking of Shingu tea, ¥972, which came with a bonbon chocolate of a layer of 70% chocolate made with the Shingu tea and a layer of white chocolate when we went in mid-August 2016; the bag with my buys on the booth seat where I sat; the window that looks out on 三条通Sanjo Street; and my京抹茶とショコラのパフェKyoto-green-tea & chocolate sundae, ¥1296.


Chocolat Bar BEL AMER is on the second floor of Kyoto Villa Chocolat BEL AMER京都別邸 where Chocolat BEL AMER offers lovely chocolate not found in other locations around the country. The simple and sophisticated space is ideal for enjoying luxurious sweets and drinks.


clockwise from top left: the exterior of the shop; the display case close to the entrance; the shop to the left with half of the small counter seating; the other half of the counter seating; all the display cases; the tower of chocolate balls in the center of the shop; a closer look inside the display case; ハムとチーズラタトゥユランチボックス、チキンクリームスープとトルティーヤチップス付ham & cheese ratatouille lunch box with soup (chicken cream soup) & tortilla chips, ¥1050, and ホットチョコレートhot chocolate (スパイシーヨーロピアンspicy European)for ¥400 that I had in mid-November 2013; and raspberry & pistachio brownie from when Maki and I dropped by in late May 2014


CACAO MARKET is the more casual, but charming nonetheless, shop for MARIE BELLE (see below), created to resemble a homey kitchen. I first went in late 2013 and the last time so far was in early 2015…since then, a basement café space that looks like a hidden treasure of a library has been added to accommodate the many customers who want to have the luscious goodies to be found there; of course those who can’t stay can take them to go.


clockwise from top left: some potato salad, coleslaw and curried chickpea salad to go in early July 2014; before opening the deli lunch to go in late July 2014; the deli lunch of キャロットラッペcarrot rappé・ハト麦の梅ドレッシングサラダJob’s tears salad in plum dressing, the pork-based main dish and 有機玄米ごはんorganic brown rice, ¥980+tax, plus カレーcurry at an extra price; Mason’s オーガニックカフェラテorganic caffè latte and my オーガニックアサイーベリーソーダorganic acai-berry soda when we took a break after a busy morning in early August 2014; dinner set of Job’s tears salad in plum dressing, chicken & potatoes, a konnyaku dish, spinach curry and organic brown rice with オーガニックアイスティーorganic iced tea, ¥1814, later that very evening; dinner set of Job’s tears salad in plum dressing, エッグレスサラダeggless salad, 金時豆ハンバーグred kidney-bean hamburg, the konnyaku dish I had last time and 天然酵母パンtennen-kohbo pan (natural-yeast bread) with organic iced tea, ¥1814, with Katalin in early September 2014; the front of the café; along the back of the booth seating; and フォンダンショコラfondant chocolat & スピルリナジェラートspirulina gelato and オーガニックティーorganic tea アフタヌーンセットafternoon set, ¥810, in mid-January last year


COSME KITCHEN CAFE started in Fukuoka Prefecture before opening in Kyoto in Kyoto京都CUBE, a popular underground shopping area; although the Fukuoka café closed in mid-June last year, the Kyoto one is still going strong…besides being close to the entrance to the food corner of ISETAN, they serve healthy and tasty organic and natural fare and have some of the kindest staff I’ve met (and they’re good at remembering regulars☺). If the place is full of customers, one can do take-out which I’ve often done before heading into work.


clockwise from top left: the exterior from 蛸薬師通Takoyakushi Street; the プレミアムハニーラテpremium honey latte, ¥410, that I got to go in early November 2014; a DEAN & DELUCA cookie from Maki  in mid-February 2015; the espresso bar at the front in early November 2014; the espresso bar and kitchen area

American-based grocer DEAN & DELUCA’s reputation proceeded its opening of a shop in Kyoto in late October 2014, in the gorgeous former 北國銀行Hokkoku Bank at the intersection of 烏丸通Karasuma Street and 蛸薬師通Takoyakushi Street,  and although the plan was only to be open a year, the Kyoto shop is still going strong, undergoing a renovation in late November two years later, proof of popularity among the fickle palates of the locals as well as the numerous tourists who flock to Kyoto. Not only can one find merchandise exclusive to Kyoto, it also boasts an espresso bar and a small eat-in space with a Kyoto-only lunch menu.

Len京都河原町KYOTO KAWARAMACHI- Hostel, Cafe, Bar, Dining

clockwise from left: the scone, ¥250, I shared with Ryo and my アイスカフェラテiced caffè latte, ¥400, when we went in late May last year; the kitchen area; the space in the back; seasonal fresh green salad, ¥500, that Ryo, Haruna and I had for dinner in early August last year; French fries with sweet chili sauce & sour cream, ¥500; the area near the front; pumpkin & coconut milk curry, ¥800; 燻製半熟玉子smoked soft-boiled egg, ¥350; and the sign outside at night


The café is basically the lobby of the hostel found on 河原町通Kawaramachi Street north of 松原通Matsubara Street…I like how you can find an interesting mix of both visitors to Kyoto as well as the locals although the crowd tends to be on the younger side. The atmosphere is chill, so it’s easy to relax there; the coffee and baked goodies as well as the night menu are great complements to that time or reasons to visit.


clockwise from top left: the chocolate shop; the view of the dining near the front when I went in mid-April last year; the view of the dining area toward the back when Maki and I went in early May 2013; the charming counter area behind my seat in early May 2013; the nearest waiting area to the dining area; the entrance to the roji that takes one to the shop; the waiting area outside the shop; a closer look at the area in the back (top center); and the small garden area (bottom center)


clockwise from top left: chocolate bars on sale in the shop; different gift sizes; チョコレートローズティーchocolate rose tea, ¥680, I had in early May 2013; ガトーショコラgâteau au chocolat, ¥840, in early May 2013; ストローベリーレッドベルベットstrawberry red velvet pancakes, ¥1404, and コーヒーcoffee, ¥540, that I had in mid-April 2015; and a closer look at the cute bonbon chocolates


When Maki and I met up in early May 2013, we decided to have dessert here…the shop and café having been covered on a few programs, everyone else seemed to have the same idea when we arrived to a 30-minute waiting list but it was a gorgeous experience worth the wait. Remembering that first visit, I went in mid-April last year expecting to leave since I didn’t have much time but probably due to rainy weather, I was pretty much the only customer my whole visit, quite pampered by the staff. It seems ice cream is also available for take-out, worth trying out if it’s as rich as what I’ve had.☺

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