Kyoto is an oasis for coffee lovers, with its unique blend of traditional kissaten and modern coffee chains. It’s like a hidden gem for those in the know – you just have to know where to look! That is why we are here to share the best coffee shops in Kyoto!
From cozy cafes to specialty roasters, Kyoto offers a rich and diverse selection of coffee shops that will suit any caffeine lover’s tastes. Whether you prefer espresso-based drinks or locally-roasted beans, this guide will help you explore all the best coffee spots that this stunning city has to offer.
Table of Contents
- Kyoto has a growing coffee culture with independent shops offering a variety of pour-overs, frothy lattes, and house-roasted blends.
- Some notable coffee shops in Kyoto include Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel, Wife Husband, Weekenders Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee, Walden Woods, %Arabica, DDepartment, and Lilo Coffee Roasters.
- The article provides details about each coffee shop, including their addresses, websites, and unique features.
- The article also suggests ways to make the most of visiting the coffee shops, such as combining a visit to %Arabica with a trip to the Tenryū-ji temple and the Arashiyama bamboo grove, trying the cheese-and-honey milk toast at Wife Husband, and checking out concept store Biotop in Osaka.
Specialty Coffee Scene
Kyoto’s specialty coffee scene is growing, with independent shops popping up all over the city, offering pour-overs, frothy lattes and house-roasted blends for locals and tourists alike to appreciate.
From Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel designed by architect Kengo Kuma, to Wife Husband with its single-roast coffee and cheese-and-honey milk toast, to Weekenders Coffee with its precision roasting process that brings out unique flavors from around the world – Kyoto has something for everyone.
The Japanese brewing techniques used in making each cup of coffee are also worth exploring. Whether a light roast from Colombia or a dark roast from Ethiopia, Japan’s commitment to excellence in their coffee roasting process is evident in every sip.
As Kyoto takes inspiration from other cities’ thriving coffee culture, it creates an atmosphere that appreciates time and flavor of ingredients expressed through gochisousama – allowing visitors to slow down and enjoy a moment away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
With its range of coffeeshops steeped in tradition yet modernizing their brewing methods each day, Kyoto welcomes both café connoisseurs and novices alike on this journey into Japanese specialty coffee culture.
You’ll find traditional Japanese kissatens where you can enjoy coffee in a slow-paced atmosphere and appreciate the art of making coffee.
Kissaten are a part of Kyoto’s rich cultural history, with many places dating back to the early 1900s. These shops are distinct from modern espresso-based cafes as they focus on brewing individual cups of drip or pour-over coffee and infusing them with unique flavors using teas, spices, and other ingredients.
Here are five things to look for when exploring kissaten culture:
- History: Many kissatens have been around for generations, so by visiting one you’re getting an authentic experience that is steeped in its own unique history.
- Atmosphere: Unlike espresso-based shops which often feel rushed and impersonal, kissatens offer a slower pace where you can sit back and savor your cup of joe.
- Taste: Different types of beans are used to create nuanced flavor profiles that aren’t available in regular chain stores.
- Variety: Alongside traditional coffees like black or latte, some kissatens offer inventive drinks such as matcha lattes infused with spices or sweet milk tea.
- Experience: Each shop has its own individual style which adds to the overall experience – from cozy wooden interiors to sleek modern designs.
Kissatens provide a great way to explore Kyoto’s specialty coffee scene while connecting with its rich history and culture. Whether it’s your first time trying Japanese coffee or you’re looking for something new, these quaint shops offer an opportunity to really savor every sip before moving on to another espresso-based shop nearby.
Discover a unique coffee-drinking experience when you visit Kyoto’s espresso-based shops, with their modern atmosphere and an array of specialty drinks. Enjoy the precision of exquisite espresso-brewing techniques perfected by baristas at these local cafes.
The high quality beans are carefully sourced from around the world, allowing for a range of flavors and tastes in each cup. Latte art competitions add to the excitement, testing skills in pouring milk into intricate designs.
At % Arabica, enjoy top-notch drinks made using slow extraction methods that bring out the flavor in every sip. Vermillion is known for its roasts from different parts of Japan, while Weekenders Coffee offers single origin beans roasted onsite.
Brown Eyes Coffee is great for traditional Japanese pour-over coffee served with sweets or cakes, and Inoda Coffee houses several locations with a history dating back to 1940.
Head over to Cafe Bibliotic Hello! – housed in a traditional wooden house – to relax and take in the ambiance while sipping tasty lattes or cappuccinos paired with pastries or cakes. For those looking for something special, try Sarasa Nishijin – formerly an old public bath – which offers a wide variety of café fare such as excellent matcha desserts and smoothies….
Best Coffee Shops
You’ll definitely want to check out the best coffee shops in Kyoto.
For instance, Songbird Coffee is a great spot for specialty coffee and espresso-based drinks with their knowledgeable baristas.
Kaikado Cafe provides a unique experience with its traditional Japanese tea ceremony in addition to delicious coffee.
Café Bibliotic Hello! is an enchanting wooden house cafe with pastries, cakes, and coffee served by friendly staff.
Ichikawa-ya Coffee has been around since 1940 and offers excellent pour-over coffees at reasonable prices.
And finally, Weekenders Coffee has single origin beans that they roast themselves and offers unique flavors for those looking for something new.
Experience the unique character of Songbird Coffee, where house-roasted coffee blends and pour-overs are crafted with precision to create a memorable taste. Songbird Coffee specializes in the art of slow coffee brewing techniques such as Chemex, V60, and Aeropress.
The beans used at Songbird are sourced from around the world and carefully roasted in-house using traditional Japanese roasting methods. Enjoy specialty coffees from Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Guatemala Huehuetenango, or even Mexican Chiapas that have been roasted to perfection for optimal flavor.
With an ever-rotating selection of single origin beans, you can be sure to experience something new every time you visit! Immerse yourself in the nuances of each cup as you explore various coffee bean origins paired with different roasting methods.
Then transition into your next specialty coffee experience at Kaikado Cafe!
If you’re looking for a unique coffee experience, Kaikado Cafe should be your next stop. This traditional tea house is part of the historic Kaikado building in Kyoto that’s been crafting traditional Japanese tins since 1875.
This cafe serves up authentic matcha tea and specialty coffee blends that are carefully prepared using traditional Japanese techniques. You can also enjoy a selection of teas made from seasonal ingredients, as well as snacks like dango and mochi.
Plus, while you sip on your drinks, you can admire the beautiful handmade crafts displayed throughout the cafe. This makes it an ideal spot to appreciate the craftsmanship behind both coffee and traditional Japanese culture.
But if you want to take your appreciation of craftsmanship even further, Café Bibliotic Hello! offers another unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. Built into a traditional wooden house, this cozy café serves up pastries and cakes alongside its specialty coffees and teas – perfect for those looking for an intimate setting to savor their drinks.
Café Bibliotic Hello!
Immerse yourself in a traditional wooden house atmosphere at Café Bibliotic Hello! and enjoy specialty coffees and teas alongside pastries and cakes. Built into an old, two-story machiya (traditional wooden house) that dates back to the 19th century, this café offers a cozy atmosphere reminiscent of Kyoto’s past.
Enjoy local delicacies like yatsuhashi (Japanese cinnamon confectionary), yokan (sweet bean jelly cake), or kuzu mochi (made with kudzu root starch) as you sip on your coffee or tea. The café also has English speaking staff to help tourists feel comfortable trying out different drinks.
Café Bibliotic Hello! is the perfect spot for coffee lovers to explore traditional Japanese flavors while embracing the culture of Kyoto. From its history to its unique offerings, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience that will make for great conversation topics when discussing Kyoto’s many hidden gems.
Ready for the next stop? Let’s move on to Ichikawa-ya Coffee!
Discover the unique flavors of Kyoto at Ichikawa-ya Coffee, a beloved institution with a rich history dating back to 1940. This traditional Japanese coffee shop is renowned for its exceptional quality and attention to detail when it comes to crafting their coffee.
From their carefully sourced beans and brewing techniques that bring out the best flavor, to their breakfast options featuring traditional Japanese fare, Ichikawa-ya Coffee will surely delight any coffee enthusiast or traveler looking for an authentic experience of Japan’s coffee culture.
Enjoy the warm hospitality of the shop staff as you sip on your cup of freshly brewed coffee in this homey atmosphere. Sample their light roasts and dark roasts from all over Japan, or try one of their house specialties like cold brew made with seasonal beans.
For those who want a crash course in the art of making specialty coffee, you can even join one of their workshops! With so much to explore at Ichikawa-ya Coffee, it’s no surprise why locals and tourists alike flock here for a taste of Kyoto’s unique flavors.
Experience the unique flavors of Kyoto at Weekenders Coffee, a hidden gem tucked away in a parking lot that offers specialty coffee from all over the world.
This cozy café is filled with freshly roasted beans and an aroma that will transport you into a world of international flavors. Enjoy their signature drip coffees made with beans sourced from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Kenya or explore their light to medium roasts for something more subtle.
With its carefully curated selection of quality coffee roasts, Weekenders Coffee is truly one of Kyoto’s hidden gems.
Transitioning seamlessly into the next section about Arabica without writing ‘step’ awaits those who’re ready to explore further and discover what else Kyoto has to offer.
After you’ve experienced the superior coffee roasting techniques of Weekenders Coffee, it’s time to try one of Kyoto’s most renowned cafes: % Arabica.
Located in Arashiyama overlooking the Katsura River, this specialty coffee shop is a must-visit for any enthusiast.
Known for its precise and artisanal approach to crafting amazing cups of coffee, % Arabica uses only the highest quality Arabica beans which are carefully sourced from around the world.
Their unique brewing methods bring out all the complex notes that make Arabica beans stand out from Robusta beans.
A variety of pour-overs, cold brews and nitrogen infused coffees are available for those looking for something different.
But if you’re just starting out, their classic espresso drinks won’t disappoint – they know how to get the best results with every cup!
Come take a seat outside by the river and enjoy an expertly crafted cup of coffee with a view – your caffeine experience here will be one you won’t soon forget!
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto’s coffee scene and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere at Dongree. This unique café, located in the heart of the city, is known for its cozy atmosphere and Japanese pottery that adorns every corner. You’ll find denim made in Kyoto, sustainable fashion trends, and even Japanese pottery to take home as souvenirs.
Enjoy specialty coffees like pour-over or Japanese drip with some freshly baked pastries while you immerse yourself in this one-of-a-kind experience. Here are five must-haves when visiting Dongree:
- Try their signature ‘Kyoto Denim’ blend coffee
- Sample some of their delicious matcha sweets
- Take home a piece of handcrafted Japanese pottery
- Check out their selection of sustainable fashion items
- Relax on their terrace overlooking the streets of Kyoto
Dongree is perfect for those looking for an intimate coffee experience away from all the noise. With specialty coffees made with precision and care, sustainable fashion trends, and beautiful Japanese pottery to take home as souvenirs, there is something for everyone at Dongree!
Transitioning into the next section about Saraca Nishijin without saying ‘step’, we move onto this iconic cafe which has been serving up coffee since 1940.
Immerse yourself in the unique history of Saraca Nishijin, an iconic café that’s been serving up coffee since 1940.
This charming spot has recently undergone extensive renovation plans to restore its old-world charm, and the local community is grateful for the efforts made to preserve this beloved establishment.
The menu features delicious beverages sourced from sustainable coffee farms around the world, making it a great choice for conscious customers looking to support ethical practices.
As you sip your drink, take a moment to admire the café’s original woodwork and vintage décor – it’s no wonder this spot remains so popular after almost 80 years!
With its inviting atmosphere and commitment to quality coffee, Saraca Nishijin is sure to please even the most discriminating coffee connoisseur.
Transitioning seamlessly into the next section of this guide, Inoda Coffee Honten awaits…
Inoda Coffee Honten
Experience a piece of coffee history at Inoda Coffee Honten, the beloved Kyoto institution that’s been serving up delicious drinks since 1940.
Located in the heart of downtown and easily accessible by public transportation, this cafe is steeped in history and tradition.
On the menu you’ll find a wide variety of beverages to choose from, all made with locally roasted beans and served at reasonable prices.
It’s no wonder why Inoda has been around for so long – their coffees are simply too good to pass up!
From hot espresso-based drinks to cold brews and frappes, there is something for everyone.
Enjoy exploring the tastes of traditional Japanese coffee as well as exciting new flavors at Inoda Coffee Honten – it’ll be an unforgettable experience!
Transitioning seamlessly into the next section about ‘Brown Eyes Coffee’, another must-visit café in Kyoto awaits your discovery.
Brown Eyes Coffee
Continuing your journey through Kyoto’s coffee culture, you come across Brown Eyes Coffee. This traditional Japanese café is located in the Philosopher’s Walk area and offers a selection of pour-over coffees using locally roasted beans, as well as homemade sweets like matcha-infused pastries.
It stands out with its modern design combined with traditional elements, such as tatami mats and shoji screens. Here’s why it should be on your list of must-visit coffee spots in Kyoto:
- Authentic Japanese atmosphere – Enjoy the balance of modern architecture and traditional elements that create an inviting atmosphere to relax and sip on a cup of delicious coffee.
- Locally roasted beans – Sample unique flavors from specialty beans grown locally or imported from around the world.
- Delicious treats – Satisfy your sweet tooth with freshly baked cakes, cookies, and other treats infused with matcha for a truly authentic experience.
Brown Eyes Coffee is the perfect spot to enjoy some quality time while taking in the beauty of Japan’s ancient capital city. From here you can explore nearby attractions before heading off to find out when these shops are open—so you can make sure you don’t miss out!
Hours of Operation
You’ll want to be sure to double check the hours of operation for coffee shops in Kyoto, as many close early and some are closed on odd days. For example, %Arabica is open from 8am-9pm daily.
If you’re looking to explore coffee culture beyond Kyoto, it’s important to compare the hours of operation between different cafes so that you can find the best late night spots. Weekenders Coffee opens at 10am and closes at 5pm every day except Sunday when they close at 4:30pm; while Cafe Bibliotic Hello! is open from 11am-7pm everyday except Monday when they are closed all day.
When planning a coffee outing in Kyoto, it pays off to do your research ahead of time – not just for finding out about opening and closing times, but also for learning more about unique and traditional decor and speciality drinks or desserts that each café offers.
Inoda Coffee has several locations across the city with a rich history dating back to 1940; this iconic Japanese chain even features its own signature espresso blend that’s exclusive to their stores. Sarasa Nishijin is an interesting spot housed in an old public bath building where visitors can enjoy a wide variety of café fare plus spectacular views of Heian Shrine Park during sunset hours.
It’s worth noting that many independent cafés have limited seating capacity due to space restrictions so consider arriving early or making reservations if possible — especially if you’re visiting popular places like %Arabica which often draw large crowds throughout the day.
Unique and Traditional Decor
Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s thriving coffee culture by visiting unique and traditional cafés with character-filled decor. Each café has something special to offer.
From Wife Husband, a wooden store filled with antiques and offering single-roast coffee and cheese-and-honey milk toast, to Blue Bottle Coffee blending modern industrial with traditional Japanese architecture.
At DDepartment, you can enjoy classic roasts and matcha lattes while admiring beautifully crafted chopsticks and handmade ceramic bowls. Appreciate the precision of Japanese coffee culture through pour-overs, frothy lattes, house-roasted blends, light roasts from Colombia at Lilo Coffee Roasters – all carefully prepared with an appreciation of time and flavor.
Take it up a notch by exploring the aroma of freshly roasted beans at Weekenders Coffee or indulging in nutty kinako soft serve at DDepartment.
Immerse yourself further in the delicate balance between artistry and technical skill that is so characteristic of Japanese coffee culture as you explore Kyoto’s unique cafés.
Outdoor Seating and Views
Take in Kyoto’s stunning views while enjoying a cup of coffee at any of the numerous cafés with outdoor seating. %Arabica, overlooking the Katsura River, is the perfect spot to combine with a trip to Tenryū-ji temple and the Arashiyama bamboo grove – or rent some equipment for a picnic at Wife Husband!
Here are some of our favorite spots for outdoor seating and waterfront views:
- Weekenders Coffee offers single origin beans and unique flavors, plus outdoor tables with riverfront views near Shijo Bridge.
- Cafe Bibliotic Hello! has an amazing garden terrace nestled between two traditional wooden houses along Philosopher’s Walk.
- Inoda Coffee is an iconic Kyoto institution located near Nijo Castle that features several locations where visitors can enjoy their specialty drinks on the terrace.
- Sarasa Nishijin is housed in the former site of a public bathhouse and offers both indoor and outdoor seating with great views of nearby Higashi Honganji Temple.
No matter which café you choose to visit, you’re sure to find incredible coffee paired with beautiful views! And don’t forget to explore nearby attractions like temples, gardens, markets, and more while you’re there – each offering its own unique experience!
Events and Festivals
Experience Japanese culture and coffee in one go at the many events and festivals in Kyoto! From traditional food and beverage festivals to cultural celebrations, there are plenty of exciting ways to discover the specialty coffee scene.
The city is known for its seasonal events that showcase unique local products, from tea ceremonies to sake tastings. During these occasions, you can sample a range of different coffees from all over Japan as well as try some delicious local snacks.
For those looking for something truly special, there are also great opportunities to experience more rarefied beverages such as matcha or hojicha lattes. There are often workshops held during festivals which provide an insight into making drinks with traditional techniques such as kyusu-style single pour-over coffee brewing. You’ll be able to learn about the artistry behind making a perfect cup while sampling exquisite flavors from around Japan.
After trying out all these interesting drinks, why not check out some of the best desserts in town? From sweet kinako soft serve ice cream to rich matcha parfaits, you’ll find plenty of treats to enjoy alongside your freshly brewed cup of joe.
Specialty Drinks and Desserts
Explore Kyoto’s coffee culture with unique specialty drinks and desserts like kinako soft serve ice cream, matcha parfaits, and single-pour-over brewing! From savory pastries to Japanese sweets, there are a variety of flavors to tantalize your palate. Plus, seasonal drinks give visitors a chance to experience something new.
Start your journey at %Arabica – the perfect spot for an outstanding cup of coffee paired with breathtaking views of the Katsura River. Enjoy their unique single-pour-over brewing method that brings out all the flavor in every cup. For something sweet, try one of their matcha parfaits or nutty kinako soft serve ice cream.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, head over to Inoda Coffee which has been around since 1940. Here you’ll find classic espresso drinks, as well as traditional Japanese cakes and sweets like mochi and dango, served hot on skewers. With so many options available, it’s easy to find something that satisfies your cravings!
Insider Tips and Recommendations
Gain insider knowledge from local experts and discover the best-kept secrets of Kyoto’s coffee culture with unique recommendations tailored to your preferences.
To get the most out of your visit, it’s important to know how to order coffee like a local. Ask for suggestions and specialty drinks, or try one of the must-try desserts such as kinako soft serve.
For a truly authentic experience, be sure to check out some of the locals’ favorite spots. From traditional kissaten offering pour-over coffees and house-roasted blends, to modern espresso bars serving up specialty drinks and vegan options, there’s something for everyone!
For an unbeatable combination of stunning views and delicious coffee, be sure to check out %Arabica at Katsura River. If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, Lilo Coffee Roasters in Osaka offers single-origin beans roasted onsite daily – perfect for sitting back and enjoying their light roast drip from Colombia.
Alternatively, head over to DDepartment where you’ll find classic roasts alongside handmade ceramic bowls that make great souvenirs!
For those who want something truly unique, Weekenders Coffee offers specialty flavors from around the world including Ethiopia and Colombia. And don’t forget about Wife Husband – this wooden store has antiques galore plus cheese-and-honey milk toast that’s not to be missed!
Whether you’re looking for somewhere cozy or a spot with an incredible view, Kyoto has it all when it comes to top quality coffee shops.
You’ve now explored the unique and vibrant coffee culture of Kyoto, Japan. From traditional kissaten to modern chains like Starbucks and Blue Bottle Coffee, you have the best of all worlds at your fingertips.
No matter what type of coffee experience you’re looking for, Kyoto has something for everyone. So take in the sights, sounds, and smells of this beautiful city while sipping on a cup of artisanal coffee—it’ll be an unforgettable experience!