Best Cafés in Kyoto – Speciality Coffee Guide to Kyoto Part1

コーヒー/Coffee
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What you’ll get from reading this article

    • Recommended specialty coffee cafes in the Kyoto area
    • So many cool spots, but where’s the go-to?
    • Each shop’s features, attractions, and access information are explained in detail.
    • Let’s chill and sip on some top-notch coffee in a hip and stylish joint!

Whether you are living in Kyoto or planning to visit soon, this information might be particularly useful.
Recently, there has been a significant increase in specialty coffee shops, and Kyoto seems to be no exception.

With the abundance of information, it’s sometimes challenging to keep up.
In this article, we’ve gathered firsthand recommendations from local baristas and explored newly opened cafes.

The list is organized by area, making it easy for you to check out delicious coffee when you visit a specific neighborhood.

Here is the list of cafes we will introduce this time!

The nearest station The roasting level
(changeable)
To GOTable seatingNearby attractions
KURASU Kyoto StandKyoto St
6mins
Light to Dark roastStanding・Kyoto tower
・Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
・Higashi Hongan-ji Temple
COYOTE the ordinary shopKyoto St
4mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Kyoto tower
・Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
・Higashi Hongan-ji Temple
WEEKENDERS COFFEE TOMINOKOJIKarasuma St
6mins
Light to Dark roastNo・Nishiki Market
・Rokkakudo Temple
・The Cultural Museum of Kyoto
Goodman Roaster KyotoShijyo St
4mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Sugimoto Residence
blend kyotoMarutamachi St
5mins
Light to Dark roastYes・kyotogyoen
・Shimogoryō Shrine
・Kōdō Gyōgan-ji Temple
Manaia Coffee&ThingsKuramaguchi St
2mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Goryo Shrine
・Saion-ji Temple
coffee.roast.yuiKuramaguchi St
4mins
Light to Dark roast No・Goryo Shrine
・Saion-ji Temple

Here is the Part2!

Kyoto Station Area

Here are some recommended cafes in the Kyoto Station area, one of Kyoto’s gateways. All of them are within walking distance from the station, making it easy for you to drop by.

KURASU Kyoto Stand

With its glass exterior, you can easily get a sense of the interior atmosphere.

Whenever I have business at Kyoto Station, I always make a point to visit this cafe, and I’ve been coming here for over four years now. You can choose from various coffee beans from different countries and select a cup that suits your mood that day.

The baristas are all friendly, making it easy to ask questions about coffee and enjoy casual conversations. They also offer Kyoto-style matcha and hojicha menus, as well as hot chocolate and chai, making it accessible for those who may not be fond of coffee. It’s also a unique place where you can try Cascara Coffee Cherry Tea (Cascara is dried coffee cherry husk), so if you love coffee, be sure to give it a try.

They open early on weekends, making it a convenient stop before starting your sightseeing.
I was torn between Kenya and Costa Rica, but I opted for Ethiopia’s iced coffee (¥550) as I was looking for something refreshing.
Looks so beautiful.
The distinct fruity flavor and well-balanced acidity, characteristic of Ethiopian coffee, were exceptionally delicious.

As the name suggests, there are no tables inside; instead, there are a counter and about three chairs. The flow of people is smooth, and the aroma of coffee spreading inside the store creates a very relaxing atmosphere.

・Location
JR Kyoto Station:Approximately 5 minutes on foot
Official HP: https://jp.kurasu.kyoto/pages/kurasu-kyoto-stand
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/kurasu.kyoto/

COYOTE the ordinary shop

The location is convenient, just a short walk from Kyoto Station.

A cafe that opened in July 2021 with excellent access from Kyoto Station.
What surprised me was that they exclusively offer coffee from El Salvador, and even more surprising was that they source the beans directly from local farms.

The buyer lived in El Salvador for a year and a half, establishing direct relationships with the farms from which they now procure. The concept of the cafe is ‘between you and producers.
Typically, coffee bean procurement involves intermediaries, so the direct interaction between the cafe and the farms is something I had never heard of before.

The barista shared their experiences and impressions from the farms, and the coffee enjoyed afterward was truly special, offering a unique and intimate connection with the origin.

The barista was very friendly and made the experience enjoyable.
I tried the Oat Milk Latte (¥600), and the latte art with oat milk was impressive!
They also offered a sample of iced coffee.
The first half had a refreshing taste, while the second half brought out a burst of acidity, making it a perfect coffee for a hot summer day.

The cafe has both counter and table seating, providing a spacious environment suitable for relaxing with friends or on a date.

There are outlets at the counter, making it a good place for a bit of work with a cup of coffee in hand (avoid during busy times).

・Location
JR Kyoto Station:Approximately 4 minutes on foot
Official HP:https://coyote-coffee.jp/index.html
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/coyote.kyoto/

Central Area of Kyoto City

Introducing cafes in the central areas of Kyoto, such as Karasuma and Kawaramachi.

With excellent transportation access and numerous hotels, this area offers a wide range of possibilities for various purposes.

WEEKENDERS COFFEE TOMINOKOJI

The atmosphere of the renovated machiya exudes the essence of Kyoto

If you ever find yourself in Kyoto, this is a cafe I almost always visit due to my fondness for it. Despite being tucked away at the back of a parking lot and not easily spotted just by walking, it often has lines…

Set in a renovated machiya (traditional townhouse), the coffee enjoyed in this unique Kyoto space carries a special charm. It attracts not only Japanese patrons but also many visitors from overseas.

With numerous varieties of coffee beans that are frequently changed, you might discover a new coffee experience every time.

Amidst abundant greenery, you can leisurely savor your coffee.
While you place your order indoors, you enjoy your drink outdoors.
The serene environment allows for focused coffee appreciation.
The ‘Cooling Sparkling’ (¥600) offers a refreshing summer drink with lightly roasted coffee, lime, thyme, and carbonation.

This place, packed with the essence of Kyoto in a small space, allows you to experience the city with fantastic coffee. After taking your photos, take a moment to put away your smartphone or camera and relax.

Location
Hankyu Karasuma Station:Approximately 6 minutes on foot(Exit 14)
Official HP:https://www.weekenderscoffee.com/
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/weekenders_coffee

Goodman Roaster Kyoto

Conveniently located with good access from both the subway and Hankyu trains.

A cafe located in an area with many hotels and good access from Shijo and Karasuma stations. It is situated in front of a large machiya (traditional townhouse), providing a glimpse of Kyoto’s charm.

This cafe, with branches in Taiwan as well, offers the rare experience of enjoying Taiwanese coffee, specifically Ali Shan coffee, in Japan.

It’s a welcoming place for couples, friends, and local families.

There are comfortable sofas where you can relax, making it a perfect place to enjoy coffee alone or with friends or a partner.
The baristas are very friendly, and many regular customers were also seen visiting the shop.
I enjoyed an iced coffee made with Kenyan coffee beans (¥730).
It had a gentle mouthfeel with fruity notes reminiscent of blackcurrant and apricot.

Marutamachi/Kuramaguchi Area

Here is an introduction to an area a bit away from the city center.

Despite being a bit distant, it has good access with buses, subways, JR, and more.

blend kyoto

The shop is located on a quiet street, but it attracts many customers.

A Kyoto Machiya cafe found while strolling along a quiet street. The concept is “Your Own Cup,” and they blend the coffee on the spot according to your preferences.

Despite its location a bit away from the central area, customers were continuously arriving. The interior and takeout were bustling, catering to a diverse clientele, including tourists, locals, and international residents in Kyoto.

Note that the cafe is open only on weekends, so be mindful not to visit on weekdays.

The interior logo is so stylish. Couldn’t resist taking a photo.
I took a photo as the staff gave me a photo opportunity.
You can “blend” two types of beans.
I chose and blended two types of beans myself, opting for Colombian and Ethiopian varieties to enhance the fruity notes (¥850).

The shop, renovated from a Kyoto Machiya house over 100 years old, exudes a nostalgic atmosphere. The friendly and experienced baristas brew coffee with your own custom blend, making it a special experience.

Location
Kyoto municipal subway Marutamachi Station:Approximately 9 minutes on foot(Exit 5)
-地下鉄丸太町駅5番出口から徒歩約9分
Official HP:https://blend.kyoto/
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/blend_kyoto/

Manaia Coffee&Things

The stylish cafe stands in a residential area.

A cafe located in the residential area near Kuramaguchi, opened in April 2021. It is run by a couple with living experience in New Zealand and Australia, creating a very cozy atmosphere inside.

A diverse range of customers, including couples, individuals reading, and moms enjoying conversations with baby strollers, were present. In addition to coffee, they offer chai lattes, herbal teas, and seasonal limited drinks, making it enjoyable even for those who aren’t fond of coffee.

With homemade granola and Basque cheesecake among their baked goods, it’s an ideal spot when you want to satisfy your cravings.

Offering a natural and overseas-inspired atmosphere with its combination of white and green.
During the hottest time, I ordered the limited drink “Passionfruit Sparkle” (¥600). Made with Okinawan organic passion fruit, organic sugar syrup, and a hint of carbonation, it provided a tropical sensation, perfect for the scorching weather.
I also noticed a familiar espresso machine from my barista days. Nostalgic.
When I heard they worked in a cafe in Melbourne, I couldn’t resist trying their Flat White (¥550).
One of the best Flat White I’ve ever had.

It turned out to be the best Flat White I’ve ever had, with a flat and velvety foam, delivering an exquisite taste of milk.

Location
Kyoto municipal subway Kuramaguchi Station:Approximately 2 minutes on foot(Exit 2)
Official HP:https://linktr.ee/manaiacoffeeandthings
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/manaia_coffeeandthings/

coffee.roast.yui

The shop is located along Shimei-dori.

A cafe facing Shimei-dori that opened in August 2020. What makes this place remarkable is that they custom roast and sell coffee beans.

They offer a variety of beans, and each month, they source limited quantities of rare beans. Additionally, the incredible part is that you can place orders via LINE, allowing you to pick up your coffee without waiting if you order in advance. This is an irresistible service for those who enjoy being a home barista.

It’s a cafe where you can custom roast your beans. This is too much fun.
A shot taken in the “Shimei Seseragi Park” in front of the shop. It was hot, but I’m satisfied because I got to enjoy delicious coffee and take a good photo.

They frequently update information about the beans they source on their social media.

Location
Kyoto municipal subway Kuramaguchi Station:Approximately 2 minutes on foot(Exit 4)
Official HP:https://coffee-roast-yui.com/
Official instagram:https://www.instagram.com/coffee.roast.yui/

【Kyoto】Summary

How was the specialty coffee specialty cafes in Kyoto for you? Since coffee preferences vary from person to person and can change with mood, there’s no need to define which is the best.

All the cafes introduced this time had their own unique characteristics, and each was a fantastic place where you could feel the strong dedication to coffee.

By the way, it might be a bit difficult to imagine which is which and which one to visit just by reading the article. I’ve summarized it briefly below for your reference!

List of Cafes

The nearest station The roasting level
(changeable)
To GOTable seatingNearby attractions
KURASU Kyoto StandKyoto St
6mins
Light to Dark roastStanding・Kyoto tower
・Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
・Higashi Hongan-ji Temple
COYOTE the ordinary shopKyoto St
4mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Kyoto tower
・Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
・Higashi Hongan-ji Temple
WEEKENDERS COFFEE TOMINOKOJIKarasuma St
6mins
Light to Dark roastNo・Nishiki Market
・Rokkakudo Temple
・The Cultural Museum of Kyoto
Goodman Roaster KyotoShijyo St
4mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Sugimoto Residence
blend kyotoMarutamachi St
5mins
Light to Dark roastYes・kyotogyoen
・Shimogoryō Shrine
・Kōdō Gyōgan-ji Temple
Manaia Coffee&ThingsKuramaguchi St
2mins
Light to Dark roastYes・Goryo Shrine
・Saion-ji Temple
coffee.roast.yuiKuramaguchi St
4mins
Light to Dark roast No・Goryo Shrine
・Saion-ji Temple

Engaging in conversations with the staff, especially being a former barista, has been a delightful experience. Everyone is incredibly friendly and exudes a passionate energy for coffee! Witnessing the frequent interactions with new customers, even striking up friendly conversations with strangers, paints a charming café atmosphere.

For this article, I sought permission from the establishments before taking photos, and I am truly grateful for their kind approvals.

However, it’s a sad reality that there are increasing instances of poor manners lately. While it’s understandable to feel uplifted in an environment with beautiful latte art and stylish interiors, it’s crucial to adhere to basic etiquette and rules. Drawing from my experiences as a barista, even a single person displaying bad manners can significantly dampen the overall mood for that day…

Basic etiquette

・Precision is involved in accurately measuring ingredients and timing during the preparation, so it’s advisable to refrain from excessive interruptions while the barista is at work.
・Some establishments may have limitations on the number of photos allowed, so always adhere to their rules.
・Whether it’s hot or iced, coffee experiences flavor changes when freshly made versus after some time. Be mindful not to get too caught up in taking photos and inadvertently compromise the essence of your coffee.

Enjoying a relaxing moment with delicious coffee is even better when shared with everyone! Let’s adhere to the rules and make it an enjoyable day for ourselves and others~ There are still plenty of specialty coffee shops worth recommending. Please consider them for your next visit!

The recommended cafes in other areas are here!(English version is coming soon! )

If you are interested in Osaka area!
Here is the article of Osaka’s awesome cafes!

And Sapporo!

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