Visitors to Kyoto never fail to make a pilgrimage of sorts to see the spectacular Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. But another must-not-miss if you’re in the neighbourhood has to be Inoda Coffee, a dining institution of sorts in Kyoto. Its rags-to-riches story is the stuff of legends: founder Inoda Shichiro discovered bags of coffee beans in excellent condition in post-war Kyoto. He took advantage of his good fortune and started a business which also gave birth to Kyoto’s coffee culture.
Inoda never looked back since. Its menu today consisted of good quality coffee, and with some of the best egg sandwiches and French toast one can ever find, not just in Kyoto, but anywhere for that matter. Inoda Coffee is located a couple of minutes’ stroll from the main gate leading to Kiyomizu-Dera.
No, hanami was a couple of weeks earlier. I actually made a conscious effort to come after the hanami season as hotel rooms are harder to come by (and more expensive) during that period. Besides, I’d already done a couple of visits to Japan during hanami previously.
Am so enamoured by my “discovery” of Inoda Coffee this trip, I simply have to visit its main store (“honten”) in Kyoto’s elegant Sanjo-dori district. The street, with its small arts & craft shops, and many elegant cafes, exude an almost European feel, with many buildings dating back to the Meiji era:
Thought so, since it’s already May. Of course your current plan makes sense. Last time in Kyoto we blundered into Obon (main purpose of trip was unrelated to visiting Kyoto) and were delighted to see the big bonfire on the mountainside and the lanterns on the river.
Hi, klyeoh! I finally had a chance to check out what was happening on Hungry Onion’s Asia Board, and I’m so happy to see you here, too.
I just got back from Kyoto a couple of days ago, having stumbled into the same Inoda Coffee shop near Kiyomizu early on Saturday morning. And I strongly second your recommendation. The place itself is a delight, complete with comfortable chairs and a view of a Japanese garden. The coffee is excellent–deep and velvety, sweet even without sugar. A perfect match for the unique “French Toast”. I have the quotes because it was unlike any french toast/pain perdu I have ever had. It reminded me more of a churro, with the crisp fried exterior dusted with sugar, differing from a churro because of its feather-light bread interior.
So good to touch bases with you here, too, Pilinut. Inoda Coffee is my culinary find for this trip - pretty ironic, seeing that it’s so casual compared to most of the restaurants on my must-try list. But at the end of the day, it’s how a place makes you feel, and not how posh it is, nor how many accolades it has won. In that sense, Inoda really hits the spot for me. I’m so glad you also had the opportunity to try it, too.