Zen Cafe, Kyoto

I was looking for a cafe near my hotel in the Gion district to have Japanese dessert and tea. I was browsing through Google Maps, and this cafe caught my eye. The cafe is under the long-running confectionery shop “Kagizen Yoshimura,” established during the Edo period. I missed the chance to try the dessert at the Kagizen main store the last time I was in Kyoto. I’m not about to miss that chance again. The café was located just behind my hotel (Kyoto Granbell Hotel). From the pictures, the atmosphere looked serene, an ideal place to relax.

The cafe is located in a modern minimalist building in one of the alleyways in Gion. The interior was modernly decorated with some Japanese touches. There is a small Japanese garden inside the cafe, with counter-seats available facing the garden. There are two spaces with shelves stocked with books for those who want to have some alone time to read and enjoy the food. There is also a semi-private space that can accommodate 4 people.

It’s a good place to have a break from the crowd. Definitely what I needed after spending days with crowds of people.

I ordered the café’s signature dessert, “Kuzu Mochi,” and hojicha (1200 yen). Kuzumochi is a mochi made from arrowroot powder. The staff was warm and friendly. There is an English menu available with pictures of each dessert. The menu is limited; it only had 4 types of desserts available. Apparently, the confectioneries on the menu change according to the season.

The Kuzu Mochi is served with kinako (soybean flour) and kuromitsu  (black sugar syrup). I like that the black sugar syrup and soybean flour came separately, allowing me to add them to my liking. The mochi was soft with a jelly-like texture. The sweetness of the syrup and the subtle nutty flavor of the soybean flour complemented the mochi well. The hojicha and mochi were a great pairing.

I would recommend this cafe to enjoy good Japanese confectionery and for those who need some ‘zen.’ 🙂


Zen Cafe

Website: http://www.kagizen.co.jp/store/#zenCafe

Opening hours: 11am to 6pm (except Monday, if Monday is a national holiday, the store will be closed the following day)

Telephone: +81(0)75-533-8686

Address: 570-210 Gion-machi Minami-gawa Hana-machi, Higashi-yama-ku, Kyoto