A Non-tourist Guide | Kyoto

京都探游

Recommended places to visit in Kyoto

Kyoto, a feminine city, needs to be admired as a woman. Don't send her flowers, don't write a poem to her; but visit her as frequent as you can.

Words: Agnes.G  Photos: Agnes.G

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長樂館 | CHOURAKUKAN

Chourakukan was built in 1909 during the Meiji Era by Murai Kichibei, an industrialist who was the first to invent untipped cigarettes. It was built for the purpose of hosting dignitaries from home and abroad. Japanese key figures, who brought Japan from the last chaotic days of the samurai into the modern Meiji era, as well as the Prince of Wales, American mogul Rockefeller, and many other dignitaries visited Chourakukan, spending a peaceful time here. Chourakukan is the representative western building of the Meiji era which beautifully blends the styles of the UK, USA, France, China and Japan. Nowadays, Chourakukan welcomes many people to its restaurants, hotel and cafe. But you are still sure to feel the vivid history there. 

Very pleased with his stay here, Japan’s first Prime Minister, Hirobumi Ito (伊藤博文), named it Chourakukan. Wishing that guests would spend a long, enjoyable time, reflected in the meaning of the Chinese characters that make up its name. 

Above is Hirobumi Ito's calligraphy hung in Chourakukan.
The view from the second floor's tea room -- Ho-oh no Ma

Besides the often fully-booked Rococo style afternoon tea room (named Geihin no Ma) on the first stage, there are another five tea rooms on the second floor, in case you come without any reservation or just in favour a rather private environment. Each of those rooms is decorated in slightly different styles. 

The coaster design pays homage to the founder's background in cigarette industry

address

〒605-0071

京都市東山区八坂鳥居前東入円山町 604
Tel.075-561-0001

605-0071

Kyoto 604 Maruyamacho, Higashiyama-ku

山崎書店 | YAMAZAKI ARTBOOKS

Kyoto is a city of art.  Besides many museums and galleries, here you can also find japan’s oldest art university — the Kyoto City University of Arts and the globally influential Kyoto Costume Institute.

To understand Kyoto people’s sophisticated aesthetic,  visiting a local artbook store can be a good idea.

Yamazaki Artbooks is a second-hand artbook shop hidden in residential areas in Kyoto. The shop owner Yamazaki Sumio (山崎純夫) has been in the business for 40 years — his very first Yamazaki Bookstore was founded in 1979 near Ryukoku University in Fushimi. 

Exploring old Japanese books from different local publishers is a unique experience. Japanese publishers, various from Western media conglomerate, are primarily family run independent firms. Their businesses are based on corporate philosophies an extensive public interest since their founding, and they are mainly confined to the domestic market. Moreover, these public-interest-oriented philosophies are shared by not only publishers but also by wholesalers and retailers in the industry.

You can tell Yamazaki san’s philosophies from his book selections. Artbooks Yamazaki has a wide collection of Japanese woodblock prints and rare books covering all areas of Japanese Art, for example, Japanese painting (nihonga), ukiyo-e, kimono design and crafts. You can also find old handprinted posters, advertisement calendars and other popular antique prints here. 

Address

Open: am.12: 00~pm.6:00  毎月曜日定休    

〒606-8344 京都市左京区岡崎円勝寺町91-18
TEL 075-762-0249 FAX 075-762-0250

ARTBOOKS YAMAZAKI

91-18 Enshoji-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku
Kyoto, 606-8344 JAPAN
Open 12 am – 6 pm, Closed on Mondays 

スマート珈琲店 | Smart Coffe

Founded as “Smart Lunch” in 1932 (Showa 7th).
The name “smart” has the meaning of “I want to aim for a store that can provide smart service”.

After the war, “Smart Lunch” changed its name to “Smart Coffee Store”.

Today, the family-run Smart Coffee still use home roasted original beans that have not changed from the time of its beginning days. Spending some time enjoying the relaxing atmosphere here is not bad at all.

Address

〒604-8081
中京区寺町通三条上ル天性寺前町537
Kyoto, 京都府
営業時間8:00 ~ 19:00
2F ランチタイム11:00 ~ 14:30(L.O)
定休日
喫茶無休
ランチ火曜定休

537 Tenshojimaecho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8081, Japan,

Tel: +81 75-231-6547

Opening Time8:00 ~ 19:00
2F lunch Time11:00 ~ 14:30(L.O)
Off day
CafeN/A
Lunch RoomTuesday Closed

Le Peu

The bar Le Peu locates in the prestigious Gion area, a most celebrated district in Kyoto to indulge in traditional Geiko (called ”Geisha” in the rest of non-Kyoto areas ) performance and nightlife scenes. 

Opening till four am in the morning while serving the most exquisite cocktails and wines, most customers in Le Peu are local Kyoto people who are in the know. 

The atmosphere in Le Peu is chill and friendly. Bartenders chat with the customer as if they were longtime friends.

Holding a glass of cocktail while admiring the sakura blossom from the window during springtime is just divine.

Address

〒605-0085

京都府京都市東山区東山区末吉町80-1

80-1 Sueyoshichō, Higashiyama-ku,

Kyoto 605-0085, Japan

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A.G

Founder & Editor of AGNES' SELECT

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