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Kyoto's Top 8 Cafes in 2024: Exquisite Coffee and Lovely Interiors

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When visiting Kyoto, why not stop by a retro cafe with a nostalgic atmosphere? This article features eight unique coffee shops in Kyoto, from long-established shops to cafes serving egg sandwiches and other breakfast items.

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Discover Kyoto's Coffee Culture

Kyoto is home to stylish, modern cafes alongside long-established coffee shops. In this article, MATCHA's cafe-loving will feature her recommended retro-style cafes in Kyoto.

Kyoto's Top 8 Coffee Shops

Kyoto's Top 3 Long-Established Coffee Shops
1. Ogawa Coffee Sakaimachi Nishiki Location
2. INODA COFFEE Main Store
3. Maeda Coffee Oike Store
Dreamlike Coffee Shops: From Nostalgic Decor to Innovative Desserts
4. Salon de the FRANCOIS
5. Cafe Soiree
The Best Coffee Shops for Breakfast and Afternoon Tea
6. Takagi Coffee Shop Takatsuji Main Store
7. Smart Coffee Shop
8. La Madrague

Ogawa Coffee Sakaimachi Nishiki Store

Ogawa Coffee

Ogawa Coffee is located in a Kyoto neighborhood with many coffee shops, but it also has a location in the American city of Boston. The shop will be celebrating its 70th year in business.

They recently opened their latest concept shop, the Sakaimachi Nishiki Location, in a renovated 100-year-old machiya building near Nishiki Market.

Ogawa Coffee

The building expresses its traditional architectural beauty through details such as the open ceiling and veranda (see photo above).

Ogawa Coffee

Charcoal-Grilled Toast with Koji Butter (780 yen)

In the morning, they offer a Charcoal-Grilled Toast Set (includes a drink). Diners can choose two kinds of bread: Local Kyoto Wheat Bread or Whole Grain Bread.

This writer selected the Toast Set with Koji Butter, but other toast options include Dainagon Azuki (red bean paste) alongside a Salad Set. As you can see, one of the charms of Ogawa Coffee is its extensive menu.

The homemade koji butter has a smooth, soft texture, and the toast is very aromatic.



In June 2024, INODA COFFEE will celebrate its 80th year in business. The shop is also known for its catchphrase, "Mornings in Kyoto begin with the aroma of INODA COFFEE."

The shop's retro-style main location is in a machiya building in Kyoto's Nakagyo Ward. On holidays, locals and visitors line up in front of this popular shop in the early morning.


The main location features classy lighting, spacious open seating, and gentle arc-shaped window frames. The shop has an elegant European atmosphere where visitors will soon forget the time.


Bread Roll Set (1,050 yen)

The writer ordered the Bread Roll Set. The crispy fried shrimp is sandwiched between a soft, fluffy roll, and the set includes a salad and drink. This light meal is perfect when taking a short break.

Also, the coffee is brewed with a flannel cloth filter ("nel drip"), which gives it a deep, rich taste. The distinctive flavor has rich layers and a strong aroma.

INODA COFFEE Main Location also offers ideal breakfast items such as the "Kyoto Breakfast." The shop has a varied and extensive menu, so why not stop for coffee and a bite to eat?

Maeda Coffee Oike Store

Maeda Coffee Exterior

"Maeda Coffee, loved by Kyotoites for over half a century" is the catchphrase for Maeda Coffee. This long-established cafe is representative of Kyoto and has existed alongside locals for more than 50 years.

Maeda Coffee Interior

The shop only uses carefully selected high-quality coffee beans brought in from worldwide. They are very particular about brewing their coffee using a flannel cloth filter.

Maeda Coffee is also trying to integrate Kyoto's cafe culture with the city's valuable local architecture by putting their shops in World Cultural Heritage Sites and museums. This includes Nijo Castle and The Museum of Kyoto, an Important Cultural Property, as well as the Kyoto Prefectural Office's former main building and the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

You could also say this is another way to enjoy Kyoto's unique coffee shop culture.

Maeda Coffee

Maeda English Bread (880 yen)

On this occasion, we ordered the Toast Morning Set , a menu item since the shop began.

The aroma of wheat and slight sourness from the fermentation process, combined with the melted butter, is a winning combination that will satisfy bread lovers.

Take one sip of the rich-tasting cafe latte, and you can fully bask in the warm aftertaste!

Salon de the FRANCOIS

Salon de the FRANCOIS

Salon de the FRANCOIS was established in 1934. It was the first coffee shop designated as a nationally registered tangible cultural property.

Salon de the FRANCOIS

When it opened for business, Japanese citizens felt their speech had become restricted due to the war. Therefore, everyone loved the shop as an "oasis of culture and freedom,"—the only place where people could relax at the time. This philosophy continues even today.

The shop interior has also been preserved just as it was when it first opened. From the luxury ocean liner-like design to the collection of famous painting reproductions and the elegant atmosphere with classical music playing in the background, visitors are reminded of Japan's Showa Era.

Salon de the FRANCOIS

Cake Set (1,350 yen)

The photo above shows the Cake Set, the most popular menu item during afternoon tea service. The writer tried the Apricot Cake, which was moist and tart and went perfectly with the slightly acidic coffee.

How about immersing yourself in Kyoto's culture at this long-established shop where cultural figures often meet?

Cafe Soiree

Cafe Soiree Exterior

Cafe Soiree, which opened shortly after the war's end, is a popular cafe actively featured in magazines and the media in recent years. The shop is characterized by the mystical interior blue lighting and its jewel-like Jelly Punch, one of their famous menu items.

Cafe Soiree Interior

The wood carvings and paintings, as well as the interior design, were created by the shop's founder—inspired by culture—with his friends whom he shared a close connection with. The resulting atmosphere is distinctively artistic.

Cafe Soiree

Jelly punch (750 yen)

The popular Jelly Punch is a non-alcoholic drink made with Kobe cider. It's beautiful, and the sweetness of various fruits and the refreshing jelly taste make it the ideal dessert.

Takagi Coffee Shop Takatsuji Main Store

Takagi Coffee Shop Exterior

Takagi Coffee Shop opened for business about 50 years ago and is an old-fashioned classic coffee shop. It opens at 7:00 in the morning and operates year-round.

Locals love it as a spot where you can easily drop in for a delicious coffee, regardless of the time of day. The simple interior has a rather nostalgic feel to it.

Takagi Coffee Shop

Omelette Rice (1,400 yen) *Comes with salad and drink.

The lunch set features curry rice, pasta, and set meals (teishoku). The writer decided to try the Omelette Rice.

The eggs were soft and fluffy. The chicken rice was filled with green peppers, ham, and onions, and the vegetables were sweet. It was hearty, filling, and very satisfying.

Takagi Coffee Shop

Homemade Rum Pudding (550 yen)

Their famous Homemade Rum Pudding is really popular, so it usually sells out in the morning. This exquisite dessert has rich-tasting eggs with a good texture combined with fresh cream.

The in-house roasted coffee has a deep, rich flavor. When you take a sip, the aroma gradually spreads throughout your mouth, pairing perfectly with the pudding!

*The shop is non-smoking only in the morning. Smoking is permitted from the afternoon on (*Due to the harmful effects of passive cigarette smoke, those under the age of 20 and who are pregnant will be kindly asked to refrain from entering the premises starting in the afternoon).

Smart Coffee Shop

Smart Coffee Shop Exterior

Since opening in 1932, Smart Coffee Shop has been a place for locals to relax in the morning. But it's also known among overseas visitors for being an appealing spot with its polite service and simple, gentle-tasting coffee.

Smart Coffee Shop Interior

Red-colored coffee cans and a German PROBAT roasting machine are on display on the shop premises, harmonizing with the wood-accented dining area. This is a calm space perfect for relaxing.

Smart Coffee Shop

French Toast Set (1,300 yen)

The writer chose the French Toast Set. The rich-tasting eggs and fluffy texture were so addictive that she couldn't stop eating. The coffee had a distinctive rich dark chocolate flavor and aroma.

La Madrague

La Madrague
La Madrague

After the owner of Coffee Seven passed away, who operated a famous shop popular in Kyoto for about 50 years, the current owner took over just by chance. This is how La Madrague was born.

The nostalgic interior remains the same today and is loved by long-time regular customers.

La Madrague

Mention La Madrague's famous menu, and the Egg Sandwich (Corona Sandwich) usually comes to mind. The recipe for this egg sandwich was passed on from Restaurant Corona, a well-known western-style shop near Kyoto's Gion area.

La Madrague, the successor to Coffee Seven, apparently wanted to inherit their legendary standard menu.

The Corona Egg Sandwich uses four eggs and milk. The mixture is gently steamed until soft and then cooked in a fry pan. The soft and fluffy texture is irresistible. The secret sauce inside the sandwich also holds the key to its delicious flavor.

The Sandwich Set comes with a salad, yogurt, soup, and a drink.

*Reservations can be made directly at the shop or by phone.
Business Hours: 8:00-11:00, lunch starts from 12:00 (the shop takes a break from 11:00-12:00)

Enjoy Kyoto's Coffee Culture

Kyoto's cafe culture symbolizes the city's rich cultural history and traditions.

Locals and visitors alike can enjoy a calm and peaceful atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. At the same time, they can also feel each coffee shop's unique aesthetics and underlying philosophies.

The eight coffee shops introduced in this article will become relaxing places where everyone will want to stop by when visiting Kyoto.

Written by




Born in Taiwan. Currently living in Tokyo. Currently editor in chief of MATCHA's Taiwanese website. In the past, I worked as an editor for a Japanese fashion magazine, as a Japanese language teacher at a private high school in Taipei, as an interpreter for Shiseido and other Japanese and Taiwanese companies. I've also had experience as an inbound tourism copywriter. My Facebook page 'Tokyo beyond studying abroad' 東京、不只是留學(留学だけじゃなくて)boasts 120,000 followers. Blogger with readers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan, of which 70% are female readers. I have covered over 300 locations and stores in my articles. Writing about the latest trends, places off the beaten path, and traditional culture. Published six books on Japan in Taiwan and Asia. Facebook → Instagram → @mihowang47
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