On a warm autumn afternoon, during a north Kyoto hike from Ohara over to Kurama, we came across a group of young people building a wood burning oven out of stone. Standing in front of this ishigama, we made small talk with the young couple in charge of the project. The young woman told us that the bread that this oven would bake would be a centerpiece of the cafe that had just opened here, her hand gesturing at a comfortable looking building made of wood and glass. We promised to come back again.
A month or so later we ran into them again in Ohara, this time as part of a larger group busy harvesting adzuki and soy, some of which would wind up that night on the table of Cafe Millet.
What at first seems like a throwback scene to the old hippie days is actually a large and growing trend in Japan. Driven by both environmental and economic concerns, many young Japanese are shunning a life in the cities for one in the soil.
The idea of returning to the countryside is hardly a new one. Masanobu Fukuoka’s classic work, “The One-Straw Revolution” has for over 30 years lured people back to a traditional life of farming. What is different this time is that the movement is not simply at the personal or grass roots level. In March of this year, Prime Minister Taro Aso created the Rural Labor Squad, as a way to give employment to the young while simultaneously revitalizing rural communities and their dwindling labor pool. Local farmers are for the most part grateful for the help, though some feel that the young will once again return to the city when the economy picks up. Continue reading →
Guess what they sell in here.
In my ongoing quest to find the best bakery in Kyoto, I ventured over to Bread Room today. I think it may have overtaken Walder in my estimation as the leading contender. I spent almost 2,000 yen on a variety of baked goods and I wasn’t disappointed by the flavor. Continue reading →
Today I bought my lunch at the bakery Fleur de Farine. This tiny little store sells french style loaves in a variety of shapes and sizes. Apparently, they also sell a British style loaf but it is always sold out when I go there. Continue reading →
Last week Mewby discovered this wonderful Japanese blog: せっかく京都に住んでるし. It’s worth a look. There are hundreds of Kyoto cafes, bakeries and sweet shops listed there and plenty of pictures, so even if your Japanese isn’t up to scratch, you can still make some nice new discoveries. Our nice new discovery was Citron Salé.
Ted put me on to this wonderful article by Willard Spiegelman on his experiences upon visiting Japan: Gained in Translation. I was reading it this evening after work, when I came upon this short passage:
…bagels, sometimes spelled “bagles,” are a staple, but I stopped short of trying the soymilk and edamame combo, or the green tea and white chocolate one, that I found at “Bagels and Bagels” [sic] in the food exposition of one major department store.
Now, being a contrary type, this immediately inspired me to go out there, buy those very bagels and dare to do what Mr. Spiegelman did not. Continue reading →
This in fact is my trusted source for all my toast and sandwich needs. In their cafe section they also do a lunchime set of pasta, salad and coffee which I’ve never tried but it seems very reasonable at ￥525.
Takarada Bakery is on the west side of Higashioji and midway between Hyakumanben to the south and Mototanaka Station to the north. Here is a most convenient map.
Bakery opening hours: 9.30 am ~ 9:00 pm
Lunchtime: 11:00 am ~ 3:00 pm
Cafe time: 3:00 pm ~ 9:00 pm
Le Petit Mec is a French style cafe & bakery on Imadegawa just west of Horikawa, which appears to be open only on weekends… They sell a fantastic variety of delicious breads, sweet pastries and sandwiches which you can eat in or take out. Here below are my purchases, left to right: くるみパン – Walnut bread – ￥168 a roll, ジャガイモパン – Potato bread – ￥157 a roll, and チャバッタ －Ciabatta – ￥126 a roll.
They look tasty because they are tasty. Here are some more pictures from the shop exterior and interior. Just click on the forward and back buttons to move the pictures along. I had salmon & cream cheese (￥367) and shrimp & advocado (￥399) sandwiches and a cafe au lait (￥420) and they were all just lovely.
Le Petit Mec is on the north side of Imadegawa, a five minute walk west of Horikawa. There is also a smaller branch on the west side of Koromonodana Dori just north of Oike (pictured below) but it is less of a cafe than a simple bakery as they only have outdoor seating. Here is a map for the main branch on Imadegawa: MAPLINK. Here is another for the Koromonodana branch: MAPLINK2.
Imadegawa Main Branch Tel: 075-432-1444
Open: 8:00 ~ 20:00
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays but open on national holidays.
Koromonodana Branch Tel: 075-212-7735
Here’s a pleasant respite from the madding crowds of Teramachi. Escape to the soft lighting and background jazz of the 2nd or 3rd floor cafes and order yourself a healthy lunch. This is also a bakery so pasta, pizza or a nutritious salad can be ordered for lunch with a パン食べ放題 or all-you-can-eat-bread deal. Here are some items off the lunchtime menu:
Not sure about the pizza lunch, as we had all-you-can-eat bread with ours… but maybe we weren’t supposed to!
Here’s a link to the Japanese menu. Be aware that the menu for the 3rd floor shop is different. Opening hours are 12：00～23：00 (lunchtime:12：00～15：00) with no holidays! Boogaloo Cafe & Deli is on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the 詩の小路 (shinokoji) building on Teramachi, between Shijo and Nishiki Dori. Here is a most convenient map.
Telephone (2F):075-213-1610 (3F): 075-213-1066
This is a chain so you can also find boogaloo cafes on Shijo and Karasuma. Check out the website for some nice pictures: LINK
Sugary was perhaps so named to attract those young Japanese ladies in their early 20s who are so notoriously fond of the sweet stuff. I say that because when I visited this cafe and cake shop last week, I was not only the oldest person there but also the only male. Not that I minded though. It’s a nice place for coffee and a chat but naturally the desserts are the main thing (I had a delicious choclate parfait, myself). You can also have a proper lunch or dinner here, as they have a range of pastas, risottos, and quiches on the menu. We had a lovely creamy mushroom risotto, and a sumptuous spaghetti with shrimp and mushroom in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. Check out some of the food and the atmosphere in the pictures below:
Here are links to the menus for food, drink and cakes. You can also pop in and order cakes, scones and quiches to take out from the store here: LINK
Sugary is on the northwest corner of Sanjo and Tominokoji Dori, in the Sacra building, up the lovely wooden stairs and on the 3rd floor. Here is a most convenient map.
Weekday Opening Hours: 12：00～22：00 Weekends & Holidays: 11：30～22：00