A lot of our clients have mentioned that they are heading to Japan so we wanted to do a quick post about three great spots in Kyoto that we would highly recommend. There are already tons to see there, as I’m sure you know, but these are places we discovered thanks to our friend Aya Nihei, that will not disappoint. Star these locations and make a day out of it – one’s a gallery (Nichinichi), one’s a bookstore (Seikosha) and one’s a bar (Shuto Yanagino) so you have your basic ingredients for a successful day right off the bat. These images are from our last trip.
Address: 602-0875 Kyoto Kamigyo-ku Shintomi-cho 298, Japan
Nichinichi is a gallery/tea shop/guesthouse/garden in one. Tucked away on a side street with no signage, it’s not a place you stumble upon, you have to know it’s there. When you first open the sliding doors to this establishment, it’s hard to grasp what you’ve stepped foot into but once you start exploring, the place is mind blowing. The front entrance is like the foyer of a welcoming home where you can comfortably take off your shoes in exchange for slippers. Specializing in Japanese applied arts and craft housewares, the gallery also has a tearoom and a rentable guesthouse. The founders did an incredible job in embedding a calm sensibility to all their curations and interior design choices. Everything is placed with love and we can tell. Definitely take the time to enjoy some tea, which Aya describes as sawa – something like a tea lounge experience, in between a formal tea ceremony and casual tea with friends.
Address: 602-0871 Kyoto Kamigyo-ku Tawaraya-cho 437, Japan
After managing one of Japan’s most respected bookstores Keibunsha Ichijoji for over a decade, Atsushi Horibe set out to open his own bookstore with his wife in 2015. The result is a bookstore so charming it melts your heart the second you’re greeted by Horibe and his wife at the door. One Kyoto evening Aya brought us to Seikosha to introduce us to the owners and show us the location in which she’ll be having a pop-up book release for her new book in mid-August. We had such a great time exploring the shelves of books, magazines and the small collection of rare vintage photography books. We also got to meet Kitchen! A photographer who was having a launch event that evening for his book that highlights couples who work together – Kitchen calls the idea “Double Income” and of course we fell in love with the concept.
Shuto Yanagino Bar
Address: Kyoto Sanjo Sinmachi Nishi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Japan
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Although Shuto Yanagino is a restaurant and bar, it’s heavier on the bar atmosphere. It’s where to go for a classic cocktail in an ultra-minimalist setting. The owner Yaganino-san, will likely be behind the wood bar ready to offer expert recommendations for sake, natural wines and specialty cocktails. One hanging bud vase is the only décor in the front room allowing the more decorative antique glasses to shine. Glasses and bottles are hidden away from sight or stored in cabinets. There aren’t any English menus so be prepared to experiment if you can’t read Japanese.