Tired of Starbucks and seeing it everywhere? Want every moment of your trip to Kyoto to be as authentic as possible right down to that simple cup of coffee? Well you’re in luck as there’s no shortage of kissaten, Japanese original coffee shops, anywhere you go in the culture soaked city of Kyoto.
The problem is, with so many options, you may find yourself stressed trying to pick the right one, particularly if you’re not staying very long. To make it a tad bit easier and to save you some time I’ve managed to narrow the list down to the following 12 best coffee shops in Kyoto.
Founder and owner Kenneth Shoji, considered having an amazing cup of coffee everyday as one of life’s answers. He bought a farm in Hawaii and started trading with countries from all around the world to find the perfect taste. In 2014 he opened the first %Arabica coffee shop in Kyoto with the hope that people can “experience the world through coffee“
With an instant increase in popularity, 2 more have opened up in Kyoto since, meaning you’re likely close to this amazing coffee, no matter your position in Kyoto.
- 87-5 Hoshinocho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0853
- 〒600-8031 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 四条下る貞安前之町605
- 3-47 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385
2. Weekenders Coffee Tominokoji
One of Kyoto’s original coffee pioneers, Weekenders coffee may be easily missed as it sits on the edge of a parking lot. It’s location may seem odd but considering the busy narrow streets full of wondrous Kyoto goods and food in the Nakagyo ward, the small amount of extra space the parking area offers may perfectly accompany that caffeine fix.
The shop itself is decorated true to Kyoto’s fashion with sliding partitions, bamboo and clay walls. The shiny professional equipment sitting on the traditional countertop allows for the perfect mesh of modern and classic just as the entire country offers. The coffee itself may take an extra pinch of time to perfect but all good things are worth waiting for.
Address: 〒604-8064 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Honeyanocho, 560離れ
3. Yojiya (嵯峨野)
If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, then Yojiya, where the coffee is too pretty to drink, may be for you. It’s easily accessed in both Arashiyama and Gion, which you should find yourself in at some point if it’s your first visit to Kyoto.
They offer a wide range of hot and iced beverages and desserts, most of which come with their artistic signature. They are most popular for their traditional Japanese desserts such as Monaka and Zenzai and their Matcha lattes making it the perfect location to embrace the personal flavours and unique style of Japan.
- Gion 〒605-0073 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Gionmachi Kitagawa, 266 井澤ビル 2F
- Arashiyama 2-13 Sagatenryuji Tateishicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8375
The Fushimi Inari shrine is one of Kyoto’s most popular attractions, people from all over the world plan their visit with the image of the 1000 red gates in their mind, which means you may want to be bright eyed and bushy tailed when taking it all in and luckily the vermillion espresso bar is within walking distance.
The highly reviewed coffee shop prides itself on its Melbourne influenced brew and peaceful backyard views. The yummy sweets pair nicely with the coffee and English speaking staff could not be more helpful.
Address: 5-31 Fukakusa Kaidoguchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0805
This little hidden gem is worth searching for. This beautifully decorated tiny coffee shop offers a quaint charm only to be found in Kyoto. The owner runs her business alone and is never without a smile. Each drink is carefully created to achieve the perfect flavour to accompany the calmness within the shop although the scent from the seasonal cakes should be enough to have your foot in the door anyway.
Address: Kyoto, Kyoto, Nakagyo, Shijo-agaru, Shimokoriki, 191-3
12 Best Coffee Shops in Tokyo
This Japanese coffee chain was originally founded in Kyoto in 1947. The atmosphere to be found in Kyoto is considered to be different from the eleven other branches around the country as it offers a more luxurious and traditional experience leaving it a popular tourist destination for domestic travellers.
In 2002, they built their own bean roasting factory allowing the shop to have its own authentic columbian inspired flavour which pairs nicely with their original brands of sweets and cakes. Customers are also welcome to purchase the popular coffee beans in all cafes.
Address: 140 Doyucho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8118
7. Ogawa coffee
For those who’ve been drawn to Japan due to it’s ‘kawaii’ nature, you may be more enticed by this coffee shop which can be easily accessed by Kyoto station. Ogawa is another popular chain similar to Inoda but they differ in style as Ogawa hosts a more modern appeal including award winning baristas who are quite talented at adding a dash of cute to your coffee. They pride themselves on their rare coffees from different locations around the world including Costa Rica and Panama.
Address: 〒600-8216 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashishiokojicho, 地下鉄京都駅コンコース 中央１改札口北側コトチカ京都内
8. Café Bibliotic Hello!
This downtown hip cafe is owned by a book lover with a keen eye for design. With beautiful greenery decorating the entrance and a well kept book collection creating a library experience, this coffee shop is worth the visit based on aesthetics alone meaning the tasty coffee is simply a bonus of this wonderful and unique little business. It’s the perfect location for those who’ve just arrived after a long journey, need a calm sit down and time to plan out their trip with plenty of informative Kyoto literature available.
Address: 650 Seimeicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0951
9. Light Up Coffee
Originally a Tokyo based coffee shop but due to an increase in popularity, another shop has opened in Kyoto. This coffee shop takes a more subtle approach with use of lighter roasts to allow the complex flavours to entice the drinker. The minimalist decor compliments the coffee nicely and the nearby river allows the perfect location for relaxing, sipping and taking in the Kyoto beauty and charm.
Address: 14 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981
Dongree is a popular coffee shop among locals with highly praised taste and aroma. Using beans from five popular Kyoto coffee roasters, theory popular roast, Gobai, is served hand dripped. The shop serves food but also has a take out option which may be the way to go as this richly flavoured coffee could be the perfect companion for a stroll around Gion.
Address: 214-4 Ikedonocho, Higashiyama-Ku, Higashiyama-Ku Seishun Garo 1F, Kyoto 605-0848 Kyoto Prefecture
11. Wanderers stand
Probably aptly named as it doesn’t have the most convenient location particularly for visitors but for those out for a wonder south of Kyoto station you could be lucky enough to stumble upon this coffee shop serving delicious caffeinated beverages and, for lack of a better word, seductive toasties, including a banana one that I’m ashamed to say I often dream about. It’s a small shop with a rustic appeal, run by creative baristas.
Address: 〒600-8321 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Yaoyacho, 58 イチハタビル 1F
12. alt.coffee roasters
Although small with only seating for about 6, this little coffee shop offers an abundance of satisfaction for your caffeine needs. Run solely by one lady who makes all the vegan friendly food and drinks, along with roasting her own beans. Just sheer applause should drag most people to this incredible little shop but the taste and quality are also nothing short of impressive.
Using wine glasses to serve the coffee, the owner believes she’s not only visually enhancing the colours but also saving the flavour allowing the coffee to be enjoyed at a slow and leisurely pace even as it gets cold.
Address: 28-4 Shinsenencho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8371
Conclusion – Best Coffee Shops in Kyoto
I hope that these, 12 of the best coffee shops in Kyoto, will leave you with more options than the big brands that can be easily accessed anywhere in the world and allow you to discover more adventurous ways to get your caffeine fix while embracing all the wonderful, creative and unusual coffee shops, Kyoto has to offer.
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See you again next time!
An Irish girl, living and working in Osaka. Kat came to Japan expecting to stay a year and 3 years later, has no plan to leave after falling in love with the culture and beauty of the country. She’s passionate about writing, travel, fitness and new experiences.