Hanafusa Coffee, Kyoto.
I’ve mentioned Hanafusa here before. Just recently, in fact. But I’ve yet to present a Hanafusa-only piece. I correct that oversight here, in this short, brief post.
If you’re in Kyoto, Hanafusa coffee shop is easy to find: it’s at the very east end of Marutamachi Street, just before Marutamachi runs into Shirakawa-dori. Hanafusa’s on the left-hand side. Just beyond it is the Esso station, there at the corner of Marutamachi and Shirakawa. About ten or twenty steps back down Marutamachi away from Hanafusa and away from Shirakawa you’ll see this sign, in front of Okariba BBQ. It’s just a six or eight minute walk from Kurondani-dera (Kurodani Temple). Hanafusa’s open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. I wish it opened at 6:00 a.m., but otherwise, those are pretty good hours.
As the photo above testifies, Hanafusa’s been around since 1955. I wasn’t around in 1955, so I’ll have to take their word for it. It also boasts being home to Kyoto’s “First Siphon Coffee.” Actually, the sign out front says: “The First Coffee Shop by Siphon in Kyoto.” Look for it. I won’t try to explain siphon coffee. It’s very, very strong and full-bodied. I love it. It’s called “siphon coffee” at Hanafusa. Others call it “vacuum coffee.” I’ll just say that it means every cup is hand-made, it involves a bunsen burner and glass globes and “vapor pressure.” And I’ll provide this siphon coffee link. and this photo, from the Wiki:
Yes, those are cigarette lighters on each table. In little stands. With a clean glass ashtray beside each lighter. You can see a cigarette machine in the upper right-hand corner of the photo. But Hanafusa is incredibly well-ventilated and I can only rarely recall being inconvenienced by smoke. It doesn’t smell smoky in Hanafusa. Not at all.
Like each cup of coffee, a receipt will be hand-made for you if you ask for one. The various coffees served, ground very fine, can be seen up on the shelf in immaculately clean glass jars over his right shoulder.
I usually order Kilimanjaro. There are a couple Hanafusa servers and guys behind the counter who, when I walk in and say “The usual” (Ah. Futsu no, onegai — or some variation on that theme), they smile and say, “Kirimahn,” and go to it. I like the Cinnamon coffee, too. It costs from ~¥500-700. The sandwiches, plain or toasted, little sandwiches with thin-sliced ham, cucumber, tomato and variations thereof, with the crusts cut off, cost between ¥900-1,200. For all my many, many times to Hanafusa over the past 10 years, since late September 2001, I can’t seem to find where I wrote wrote-down the sandwich prices.
If you look carefully in this and a couple other other photos you can see a box of CDs on a shelf behind the counter. At Hanafusa they play the music low and the mix is eclectic. On one occasion when I walked in about a month ago (in August 2011), Englebert Humperdinck was singing “Please Release Me.” Any other time one might hear the Dave Brubeck Quartet, or a schmaltzy enka. Another time, also about a month ago, I heard Olivia Newton John or someone like her singing “Country Roads.”
. . .
Addendum: Honorable Mention to “Cafe Terrace,” Nawate-dori
I like Cafe Terrace, too. I’ve been there a half-dozen times since around 2003. If you’re on Shi-jo (Gion’s main street which virtually EVERY tourist goes down at some point during their visit to Kyoto), iI’s just up Nawate-dori (Newate Street), on the right. It’s coffee is good and strong, but it’s brewed (or dripped?) and doesn’t have Hanafusa’s refinement. It’s a little cheaper than Hanafusa and a bit more working class.
Here’s some inside information: the third-down from the top, that says, “American Coffee.” It’s the weak kind. In fact, some restaurant and coffee shop menus say, in English, then underneath in phonetic English using the Japanese katakana syllabary:
Which says, “American Coffee ・Weak Coffee.” The shame can be almost unbearable for me, an American.
The daily specials, from top to bottom: a Kyoto-style cookie/pastry, octopus fritters (8 per order), frothy green tea parfait, and frothy green tea au lait.