Kyoto has many different types of café, from traditional coffee shops through to hipster joints and trendy meeting places. Today we’re featuring what we consider to be three of the most photogenic Kyoto cafes.
1. Cafe Soiree: Sparkling treats served in a magical treasure house of blue light
Cafe Soiree is located in Kiyamachi in Shijo and was originally founded in 1948. Inside, the café still retains its original atmosphere and feels almost like a “cultural property.” To say it’s “retro” doesn’t really do it justice!
Set amidst the hustle and bustle of the Kiyamachi district, as soon as you open the door and step inside, you’re immersed in a dimly lit world of blue and purple. The blue fluorescent lighting creates a unique atmosphere which seems unchanged from when the cafe was first established right up to the present day.
The walls are decorated with paintings: the most eye-catching of these are the works of the master painter, Seiji Togo. The original owner was a good friend of the painter, and his illustrations are used on tumblers and cardboard mats in this Kyoto cafe. Togo is something of a mascot for this place.
The atmosphere here attracts a variety of artists and culture aficionados, both local residents and travelers. The cafe feels like a living cultural asset, created layer by layer with the passing of time.
Enjoy the picturesque surroundings as you wait for your order to arrive. You won’t be able to take your eyes away from your drink once it arrives!
Jelly Punch (700 yen, tax included) is Soiree’s signature drink: five jelly cubes - red, blue, yellow, purple and green - like bright and beautiful gemstones. You’ll be captivated by the pretty appearance of this drink.
The wife of the second owner came up with the idea for this. Its cute and colorful looks have enchanted customers ever since. People come from all over the country to try this Jelly Punch.
The recipe hasn’t changed at all over the years. It’s still the same - fizzy cider partnered with premium jelly to create the amazing flavors that you can taste in this drink. The acidity of kiwi fruit adds a refreshing bite.
Watching the bustling city outside from inside this atmospheric Kyoto cafe, reminiscent of a bygone era, gives you the feeling of having slipped through time. Don’t miss the chance to spend magical moments sipping a sparkling cocktail in this atmospheric location with its blue-lit interior.
- Address 95 Shincho, Shijo Agaru, Shikiyamachi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
- Phone Number 075-221-0351
Opening hours: 1:00PM-7:30PM (Last order 6:45PM)
Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a public holiday, the cafe is open, but will be closed on the following day)
2. Shin-Setsu: Colorful cream sodas make for nostalgic memories at this Kyoto cafe!
If you want to try something different, this is the place! Set in Teramachi Kyogoku Shopping Arcade, Shin-Setsu’s signature drink is its cream soda, available in a variety of colors (690 yen, tax included): Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Pink and so on. In total, there are 24 flavors available.
A large dollop of ice cream served in a retro-style glass. The appearance alone is enough to bring a smile to your face.
The flavors used in these drinks are mainly from France or America. Each drink has its own distinctive fruit aroma and a surprisingly refreshing taste. The thick and milky flavor of the ice cream brings back memories of times gone by and goes perfectly with the soda.
The interior decor of the cafe is as colorful as the cream sodas themselves. The retro pop decor is the secret of the café’s popularity, with rounded glass windows enhancing the atmosphere further.
These are the kind of sodas you used to get as a treat on a day out with your family as a child. This cute-looking cafe is just the place for nostalgic reminiscences. Make sure you visit!
- Address 277 Enpukujimaecho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
- Phone Number 075-221-4468
Opening hours: 2:00PM-8:00PM; weekends and public holidays 1:00PM-7:00PM
Closed occasionally for holidays.
3. Alpha Foods & Drink: Kyoto cafe whose drinks and treats give you a childlike thrill
The third name on our list of best Kyoto cafes is Alpha Foods & Drinks, known for its fun and amusing-looking drinks and treats.
The cloud hanging over the coffee looks like candy floss that you’d get at the fair. Each cloud is individually made to order.
As soon as it’s ready, the candy floss cloud is placed in a special holder over the top of the coffee. It’s a clever design: the heat from the drink melts the cloud, which dissolves and adds sweetness to the coffee.
When the cloud melts, it looks like rain drizzling down. It certainly makes for an interesting photo. Altogether there are nine varieties of cloud drink available, including matcha au lait and cappuccino.
The Pot Plant Dessert (594 yen, tax included) features soil made with crushed cocoa cookies with an original filling of banana parfait. The cookies have an interesting texture with their understated sweetness. The spoon is also cute, shaped like a small shovel. An added bonus is that if you order a “cloud drink” as part of a set menu, you get a 100 yen discount.
Once inside, you feel like you're in a secret hideaway. You’ll experience a childlike sense of joy and wonder at these drinks and desserts. There’s nothing like these drinks anywhere else!
Alpha foods&drinkAlpha foods&drink
- Address 327 Nishidaikokucho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
- Phone Number 075-286-8285
Opening hours: 12:00PM-6:00PM
Closed occasionally for holidays
These Kyoto cafes serve some of the most #Instagrammable drinks and desserts in the city in similarly attractive surroundings. They’re perfect places for snapping photos and sharing them with your friends!
Text by:Myogaya Nobuhisa
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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