Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
A Public Bath Turned Into A Cafe? Sarasa Nishijin In Kyoto
Written by SakamotoAyako
Kyoto is a city of cafes. If you're wondering which cafe you should go to, we recommend Sarasa Nishijin. It's a cafe with a unique atmosphere, located in a building that used to be a public bath.
Kyoto is bustling with tourists throughout the year. The area is famous for its temples and shrines, but did you know that there are also many elegant cafes here?
Kyoto's cafes boast not only delicious food, but also unique interiors, and are loved by people of all ages.
Today we will be introducing a cafe that we highly recommend visiting while in Kyoto.
Public Bath Turned Into A Cafe: Sarasa Nishijin
Sarasa is a popular cafe chain that has six storess in the city of Kyoto.
Each shop has its own unique dishes and atmosphere, and each of them is loved by the locals.
There are many fans who have visited all of the Sarasa cafes in order to enjoy them one by one.
Of those Sarasa cafes, especially popular among "Sarasa fans" is Sarasa Nishijin. This cafe actually used to be a sento (public bath) with a history spanning over 80 years, and was reformed into a cafe.
Now let's check out the Sarasa Nishijin building. You will probably notice traces of the times when it used to be a public bath.
A Unique Interior Using The Public Bath Structure
This is what Sarasa Nishijin looks like on the outside. Rare for a cafe, it has a very impressive exterior. It will have you excited even before you open the front door.
Above the front door is the "Sarasa" signboard. The words resemble the onsen (hot spring) mark on Japanese maps.
Step inside and you'll see a beautiful wooden counter and the busy staff.
The Sarasa staff do not have a certain uniform; their fashionable regular clothes are also well-loved by fans. In addition to being fashionable, they are very thoughtful in serving customers.
They might recommend a dish depending on the customer, for example if they are a large party or if there are small children. At Sarasa Nishijin, you'll be in for much better hospitality than whatever is written in any manual.
Many fans say the thoughtfulness of the staff is a large factor of becoming a Sarasa fan.
The seats in the back of the cafe have many hints that the place used to be a sento public bath. These seats cleverly use the partition between the men's and women's baths as a partition between the seats.
Also, when the store was a bath, the ceiling was set high with windows so that steam wouldn't get stuck inside. These windows remain, and let bright light into the cafe.
Check out the walls too. The tiles of the bath are still there, creating an atmosphere you can't find elsewhere. The colorful walls have a gentle warmth to them as well.
Kyoto Dishes At Sarasa Nishijin
After enjoying the sight of the interior, it's time to order some food.
Sarasa aims to be a cafe loved by all, so other than the standard coffee and cakes, they offer various dishes from around the world.
This time, I ordered the Egg Sandwich Set (810 yen before tax).
A salad and french fries come with the sandwich. This set is very filling.
Did you see this sandwich and notice it's different than what you would usually eat?
In Japan and other countries, an egg sandwich is normally made with egg salad, but in Kyoto, many shops make their egg sandwiches with baked eggs. That is true here at Sarasa Nishijin as well. The soft baked egg, onion, and mayonnaise are an amazing match.
If you've never had this unique type of egg sandwich before, you're sure to enjoy this new culinary experience.
Sarasa Nishijin also offers different dishes during lunch and dinner times. The menu is subject to change depending on the season as well.
We recommend you try out the cafe menu that delights not only first visitors, but also customers that come here regularly.
Visit The Charming Cafe
The main part of sightseeing in Kyoto might be the temples and shrines, but in between those visits, try stopping by a unique Kyoto cafe. You'll probably see that the calm cafes are a great match with the traditional old city of Kyoto.
Since you have come all the way to Kyoto, don't just go to a chain restaurant that you can find anywhere.
Traditional Japanese food is great, but the cafe dishes are also amazing. They will surely make your trip a memorable one.
Address: Kyoto, Kita, Murasakino Higashifujinomoricho 11-1
Credit Cards: -
Menus in Other Languages: Yes (English)
Nearest Station: Kuramaguchi Station (鞍馬口駅), Subway Karasuma Line
Access: 10-minute walk from Subway Karasuma Line "Kuramaguchi" Station
Price Range: 1,000 yen - 2,000 yen
Phone Number: +81-75-432-5075
Official Website: Sarasa Nishijin (Japanese)