Top 7 Best Kyoto Cafes for Coffee & Tea Lovers

Kyoto, Japan. Known as the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto city is known for its temples & shrines, exquisite cuisine, picturesque gardens, and traditional wooden houses (machiya). If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside of these traditional wooden architecture, you can! Kyoto not only has a vibrant tea and coffee culture, but these days, many wooden machiya have been converted into cafes.

This blog will take you on a journey to discover the top 7 must-visit Kyoto cafés as recommended by the local staff from MACHIYA INNS & HOTELS ! Each café is unique, boasting its character and delights, all while nestled within the city’s historic neighborhoods. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur, a tea enthusiast, or seeking a cozy spot to relax during your travels, there’s something for everyone.

The Cafe Located on Temple Grounds

Our first café recommendation for travelers is d Shokudo Kyoto (D食堂 D&DEPARTMENT KYOTO), located in downtown Kyoto. When you step into this Kyoto café, you’ll immediately be struck by its serene ambiance, as it is located on the grounds of the historic Bukkoji Temple.

The temple alone is great place to visit. It was founded in 1295 and is known as the “Temple of the Buddha’s Light” by the locals. It’s not only an incredible sight to see, but this downtown Kyoto gem offers visitors a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets. 

What makes this one of our favorite Kyoto cafés is its menu. d Shokudo Kyoto is all about home cooked-style Japanese meals. Their menu features teishoku, a type of Japanese set meal where you’ll have a main dish, a few side dishes, and usually rice. These meals have the perfect combination of flavors, textures, and colors, offering a great dining experience. 

In addition to the monthly “Kyoto Teishoku,” we recommend their Kyoto-style dishes, too:
– “Yaki-Omusubi no Dashi Chazuke” (a savory dashi soup that you pour over a grilled onigiri rice ball), and
– “Yuba Ankake Donburi” (a rice bowl topped with yuba tofu skin and a savory, starchy sauce)

For those who like sweets, there are also a variety of traditional Japanese sweets such as anmitsu (a bowl filled with various toppings that include sweet red beans, agar jelly, fruit, sugar syrup) and soft-serve ice cream.

Once you’ve finished your meal, visit the D&DEPARTMENT store next door. The store is known for its “long-life design” concept, and showcases timeless products that never go out of fashion. Perfect for picking up a souvenir to remember your trip to Kyoto.

 d Shokudo Kyoto Cafe Info
Address397 Shinkaicho Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 〒600-8084
(On Bukkoji Temple grounds)
Google Map
Access5 min. walk from Shijo Station
View their Instagram for the most up-to-date hours
HolidayClosed every Wednesday (subject to change)

The Cafe for Music & Book Lovers

The next café we suggest you visit is the Kamogawa Cafe. It’s nestled between the Kamogawa River and the Kyoto Imperial Palace, two iconic places in Kyoto. Not only do we love its unique subculture atmosphere and cafe menu, this Kyoto café has one of our favorite places to taste (what we think is) some of the best coffee in Kyoto. 

The Kamogawa Cafe itself is a converted warehouse. As a result, this Kyoto café boasts a large open space with high ceilings and large, stained-glass windows. Also, if you’re into comic books or music records, you’re in for a treat. They have a floor-to-ceiling wall stacked full of them, and occasionally hold live music events, too. 

Many locals stop by this particular café for their coffee & lunch menu. Their menu not only consists of soups, salads, and sandwiches, but their popular meatloaf, korokke (Japanese potato croquettes), curry, and more. If you’re there for lunch, we recommend the “Lunch of the Day” and “Curry Rice of the Day.” Both are incredibly hearty and flavorful meals that will leave you satisfied. 

For those going to the Kamogawa Cafe in search for the best coffee in Kyoto, we recommend the deep-roasted “Kamogawa House Blend.” We love it for its sweet aroma and full-bodied, bitter flavor.

 Kamogawa Cafe Info
Address229–1 Kamiikesucho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-0855
Google Map
Access10 min. walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station
3 min. walk from the Kyoto City Bus “Kojin-guchi” Bus Stop
Hours12:00~ (Closing Hours will vary)
View their Instagram for the most up-to-date hours
HolidayClosed every Thursday and 4th Wednesday (subject to change)

See our recommended accommodations in Kyoto: MACHIYA RESIDENCE INN KYOTO

The Cafe (Starbucks) near Kiyomizu Temple

You might be surprised to see Starbucks on this list of the best Kyoto cafés, but let us explain. This Starbucks is unlike anything else. It can be found in a delightful location in the heart of Kyoto’s Higashiyama Area (east side of Kyoto) on a street known as Ninenzaka. This Kyoto café is surrounded by charming stone-cobbled streets and traditional Japanese wooden machiya architecture, and is just a short walk from the UNSECO World Heritage Site Kiyomizu Temple.

Starbucks in Kyoto
©︎わったか / Photo AC

This café has masterfully blended coffee with Kyoto’s historic charm. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the warmth of tatami flooring and wooden accents. Just remember that before stepping on the tatami flooring, remove your shoes before settling down to enjoy your beverage in true Japanese style. The café also features a beautiful tsuboniwa, a small Japanese garden, and tokonoma alcoves adorned with hanging artwork, further enhancing its authentic atmosphere. 

You’ll still find the normal Japanese Starbucks menu at this Ninenzaka location, but you can also enjoy seasonal food & drink selections that can only be found in Japan. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth stopping by at least once.

 Starbucks Coffee – Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya
Address349 Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 〒605-0826
Google Map
Access6 min. walk from Kyoto City Bus “Kiyomizu-michi” Bus Stop
10 min. walk from Kiyomizu Temple
View their Official Website for the most updated Hours
Holidays —

The Cafe That is Worth the Wait

In Japan, you’ll notice that people are willing to wait in long lines (anywhere from 30 min. to 3 hours or more!) for restaurants, cafes, events, and more. If you’re traveling through Japan, and don’t want to waste your time standing in a line, we would say skip it! But occasionally, there are some Kyoto cafes & restaurants that we feel are worth the wait. Once such place is the Waguri Senmon Saori Cafe.

©︎ 和栗専門 紗織 / Instagram @wagurisenmon.saori

This Kyoto cafe makes sweets all centered around the waguri (Japanese chestnut). Using only the best Tamba chestnuts, this cafe is famous for their Mont Blanc cake, but also offers chestnut-flour rice cakes, tarts, parfaits, and more.  (FYI Tamba is an area located right between Kyoto Prefecture & Hyogo Prefecture). This isn’t your typical cafe where you just grab a cup of coffee to-go or a cute Kyoto cafe with colorful drinks & pops of bright color. Waguri Senmon Saori is a refined space that serves delicately & carefully made sweets that all look like pieces of art. 

©︎ 和栗専門 紗織 / Instagram @wagurisenmon.saori

If you don’t know what to order, we recommend the Japanese chestnut mont blanc “Sa” or the Japanese chestnut and seasonal fruit parfait. The silky marron cream that tops their desserts are made from vermicelle strands just 1 mm fine. It is rich yet light, and you can taste the natural sweetness of chestnuts, which goes perfectly with a cup of green tea or matcha latte.

To ensure that you can get into the cafe, purchase a same-day entry ticket (Numbered tickets for same-day entry are issued from 9:00 a.m.). You can pick up a ticket, explore the Gion area, and return to enjoy a dessert that will certainly be worth the wait.


 Waguri Senmon Saori Cafe Info
Address170-1 Izumiyacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8014
Google Map
Access6 min. walk from Keihan Subway “Gion-Shijo Station”
View their Instagram for the most updated Hours
Holidays —

The Cafe in a 100-year-old Traditional Japanese House

If you’re looking for the best Kyoto tea located away from the busy tourist areas, then aotake is an excellent café. aotake offers locally grown tea and artisanal sweets, giving you a genuine Kyoto tea experience. The tea served at aotake are all hand-picked, and differs from season to season. The teas available come in three types: Japanese tea, sourced directly from tea masters; full-leaf black tea; and Taiwanese tea. Each tea has a unique flavor and aroma that changes from the second to the third roast. 

©︎ aotake / Instagram @kyoto_aotake

Along with a warming cup of tea, aotake has a menu full of traditional Japanese-style desserts. We recommend the “Sencha Wazuku” tea as it comes with “tofu shiratama” (豆腐白玉), a mochi-confectionery that has a delightfully chewy texture, which is topped with sweetened red bean paste. If you’d rather have your tea with a non-Japanese dessert, their seasonal tarts are also delicious.

When you are served tea at aotake, each pot is carefully made for each customer to ensure that you have the best experience. Although it may take a little time until your tea has been served, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the renovated 100-year-old Kyoto machiya (traditional townhouse) that aotake is housed in while you wait.

©︎ aotake / Instagram @kyoto_aotake

If you are stopping by with more than 4 guests, please make a reservation ahead of time. If you are staying with MACHIYA INNS & HOTELS, our guest services team will be more than happy to make a reservation on your behalf!

 aotake Cafe Info
Address 485 Zaimokuchō, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8146
Google Map
Access10 min. walk from “Kyoto Station”
View their Instagram for the most updated Hours
Holidays Every Tuesday & Wednesday

The Cafe Run by a Traditional Kyoto Tea Shop

Do you know what a ‘chazutsu‘ (茶筒) is? It’s a cylindrical tea canister that holds loose leaf tea, and ensures that your tea leaves stay fresh. The oldest tea canister shop in Japan (not just Kyoto city) is Kaikado! Established in 1875, Kaikado still hand makes their copper, brass and tin tea canisters and creates “tools for daily life that can be used for a hundred years” to this day. Located near the Kaikado Tea Shop is the Kaikado cafe, where you can see all of their craftsmanship on display, and also also enjoy dessert and cafe menu off of their handmade dishware.

©︎ Kaikado / Instagram @kaikadocafe

This café, filled with the essence of Kyoto craftsmanship, is located in a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the Kyoto Station. The building that this Kyoto cafe is now housed in was once a “Kyoto tram depot”.

Upon entering, the first thing that catches the eye is the high-ceilinged space with large windows and natural light, wooden furniture, and a nostalgic retro-like atmosphere. The neatly displayed tea canisters and beautiful cups on display are sure to entice you to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while you’re here. 

As for beverages, we recommend the “Kaikado-no-ocha, Gyokuro Gankin” or “Kama-yori Cha” (roasted tea in a kettle). You can enjoy the clean taste made by the traditional kama-iri tea roasting method. If you’re a coffee lover, then this is a must: we recommend the “Nakagawa Wani Coffee,” a special blend made by legendary Japanese coffee roaster, Nakagawa Wani.

The menu also includes a selection of: black tea, hojicha tea, hojicha latte, green tea, and more along with small Japanese confectionary, sweets, and desserts. 

Kaikado Café Info
Address352 Sumiyoshicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8143
Google Map
Access10 min. walk from “Kyoto Station”
View their Instagram for the most updated Hours
Holidays Every Thursday

The Cafe with Japanese Home-cooked Meals

Our final cafe recommendation is Cafe Kanade (cafe 奏 ), another spot that we think serves some of the best coffee in Kyoto. A cute cafe found inside of a renovated a 100-year-old machiya, just south of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The overall atmosphere and carefully preserved architectural features make it an excellent spot for a break from the busy Kyoto streets. 

Cafe Kanade takes pride in its handcrafted coffee selections. These are made using specialty beans from Unir, a local coffee roaster in Kyoto city’s Nagaoka ward. Each cup of coffee is perfectly brewed using a French press. And, if you’re looking for traditional Kyoto tea, you can also purchase this. 

Alongside your hot beverages, they have an excellent food menu. If you go to Cafe Kanade, we recommend the Whimsical Sweets Plate or the Manzoku Set. The sweet plate is more of a small snack. For a larger, more substantial meal, the Manzoku set is a brilliant option.

Cafe Kanade Info
Address88 Tachibanacho Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto〒604-0802 
Google Map
Access15 min. walk from Kyoto City Subway “Marutamachi Station”

Lunch 11AM~3PM / Dinner 2PM~7:40PM

View this page for the most updated hours

Holidays Every Thursday

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