Have you been to Kairasu, at Marutamachi Higashioji? It’s a nice vegan lunch and sweets spot. It’s got two floors, it’s cozy, the staff are friendly, and I’ve never had a bad lunch there. They have a daily lunch set for ￥880 that comes with genmai, miso soup, a nice salad with organic raisins and nuts, and three side dishes. They also have an a la carte menu, and a rotating selection of vegan cakes and cookies. The banana milkshake (I like it with soymilk) is the best I’ve had in Kyoto, along with their chai. It’s actually really spicy, unlike the milky sweet tea they call chai at most cafes in Japan.
So I went along today to see for myself and found everything pretty much as she described, including the friendly smiles, and the daily lunch set, with the whole grain rice and the miso soup packed with organic veggies, and the raisiny salad (or were they sultanas? – anyway they were good)… And today it came with soy beans and eggplant and a soft tofu patty flavored with spring onions. And you can see a picture of that below. Just click on the arrows to change the pictures and have a look around.
The menu is happily written in both Japanese and English so no problems with ordering. If you do get the lunch-time set you can order a drink (tea or coffee) too for an extra ￥250. Separately it would cost you ￥400. They also have curries and sandwiches for ￥880 and soups for ￥500 or ￥600. Lunch is available from 11:30 till 2:30 (unless they sell out before that) after which they become a cafe. Here are some items off the cafe menu:
Beer (White or Black) – ￥700 Sake – ￥600 Apple/Grape/Mikan Juice – ￥400
Banana Shake / Chai (hot or iced) / Ginger Ale – all ￥500 Cocoa – ￥550
Various teas – ￥400 Organic Coffee – ￥400
I had a good strong organic cup of coffee with my lunch. I liked the little leafy dish it came on. Oh, and they sell some arty goods too. In the sweets menu they have cakes, and cookies, and French toast aplenty and also ohagi (sweet rice balls) that come with anko (bean paste) and kinako (soy bean powder – because you can do anything with those beans!). To find it just go east on Marutamachi a short walk from Higashioji. It’s on the north side of the street and shrouded with leaves. If you get as far as Zac Baran you have gone too far!
Here is a most convenient map.
Open from 11:30 – 20:00 (lunch is only till 2:30!).
Closed Wednesdays and every 2nd & 4th Thursday.
Many thanks to Erika Barbero for suggesting this place and practically writing the article for me!