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ゼンカフェ Zen Cafe

  • Cafe Sweets
  • Gion / Kiyomizu-dera Temple Area
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  • Price Rangelunch1,000~2,000JPY、dinner Average price 1,000JPY
  • ClosedMonday(Open if it is a public holiday, closed on the next day instead)

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Gion / Kiyomizu-dera Temple Area
570-210 Minamigawa Giom-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0074, Japan
  • Cafe
  • Sweets
Opening Hours
Monday(Open if it is a public holiday, closed on the next day instead)
Price Range
lunch1,000~2,000JPY、dinner Average price 1,000JPY
Date of post:2016/10/21

The hidden Japanese café in Gion Kyoto

If you like Zen and Japanese Sencha, Zen Cafe is the place for you. It’s hidden in the back street of Gion and you have to know the location to be able to reach it. Walking-by loud tourists won’t find it and thus, it’s a nice and quiet place where you can have a cup of tea and take a deep breath on the beauty that fills the room.

If you are a Japanese sweets expert and fond of traditional Jyo-namagashi (premium raw sweets), this place is perfect too. Zen café is owned by Kagizen Yoshifusa, one of the oldest Japanese sweets makers in Kyoto that was established in the Edo era. Zen Café uses Kagizen Yoshifusa Jyo-namagashi, so it’s authentic and one of the best in Kyoto.

I had a Jyo-namagashi and Sencha combination, 1200JPY.
Jyo-namagashi is originally made for Chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony using Matcha green tea powder) and thus, they must have the proper names and presentations that go along with the seasons. This time in January, the Jyo-namagashi was named “Shirayuki” (White Snow) and it looks like a big chunk of fluffy snow that we usually see in the coldest season in January. The inside is crushed red beans paste and outside is covered with strings of mushed Tsukune-potato that is naturally white. Jyo-namagashi is made with all natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives. Thus, the taste is rather brunt, but once you get used to and become keen of them, you will appreciate their organic gentle taste and flavors.

They don’t have Matcha on their Menu but instead they have Sencha, English Tea, Coffee, Beer, seasonal fresh juice, and etc. If you get tired of the crowds on the busy Shijo Street in Gion, it’s a great place to escape and feel a peace.

Their price is not so cheap, but considering the peace of mind that you will get by viewing the little Japanese garden from your window seats, or the Chanoyu essence you get from the real Ikebana flower on the wall, along with their great service, every yen is well spent.

Here is how you get there. Go to Gion and find yourself in the intersection of Shijo Street and Yamato-Oji Street. Go down to south and make left on the first street. Then, make another left on the first little path. Then you will find Zen café on your right. As opposed to their Japanese traditional interior, the building appearance is a contemporary style. The sign is very small and discrete so don’t miss it. I hope you enjoy their authentic traditional Japanese sweets and tea as well as the Zen beauty.

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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