Posts Tagged ‘ Hanafusa Coffee ’

Drinks・飲み物.  Year in Review.


I didn’t plan this, but it seems that over the past 12 or so months it seems I’ve posted several liquidy, drink-related pieces this year.  Sake, Coffee, Beer, Whisky (the “e” ‘s not used in Japan).  So here they are again.


Sake from Tohoku. Tokyo Restaurant. August '11.


Hanafusa Coffee. Kyoto. August '11.


Baird's own craft beer. At Robert's house. Kyoto. August '11.


Yamazaki Station. August '11.

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Vending Machine (Jidohambaiki). Kurodani Temple. Kyoto. November '09.


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.


Crafting a cup of siphon coffee. Hanafusa. August 13, 2011.


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.

Morning Coffee. Hanafusa. August 13, 2011.


Still Life in Hanafusa. August 9, 2011.

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:

Siphon, or Vacuum, Coffee Principles.


Hanafusa. Looking out towards Maratamachi Street. August 2011.

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.

Hanafusa. Easy Morning. August 2011.

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.


Late night at Hanafusa. May 2010.

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.”

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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.

Looking back down Nawate, towards Shi-jo. Aug '11.


Self-explanatory. Aug '11.

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

American Coffee

ウィク コーヒ

Which says, “American Coffee ・Weak Coffee.”  The shame can be almost unbearable for me, an American.


Inside Terrace Cafe, looking out at Newate-dori. Aug '11.


「おすすめメニュー」 The daily specials. Terrace Cafe. Aug '11.

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.

Okariba ・ お借り場 

Over the course of the past year, since this site’s inception, I’ve several times referenced Okariba (Oh*kah*ree*bah) and its owner & chief cook, Aoki-san.  However it’s been more than 9 years since I first walked into Kyoto’s best, and, to me, what must be one of the world’s best, barbecue joints.

Sign in front of Okariba.


Okariba’s in Kyoto’s particularly quiet Okazaki District, situated on Marutamachi Street, just shy of where Marutamachi ends, running into Shirakawa Street, which runs parallel with Higashiyama, Kyoto’s eastern line of mountains.  “Okariba” means “hunting ground.”  The specialty of the house is grilled and sauced-up boar, but its menu goes deeper than that, ranging from smoked duck to steamed, gingered bear (yes, that’s beAr, not beEr).

Aoki-san at the grill. November ’09.

As you can tell from the photos, Okariba is intimate and rustic.  It’s cozy.  On slow nights its a place for a few regulars to gather and ease-into, or while away, an evening.  Couples come for good food and an atmosphere in which they can talk low, laugh at inside jokes with each other and compare lovers’ notes.  When groups —  of friends, nearby Kyoto University professors, families, or, in a couple of recent cases, American university students I’ve lead through Kyoto, etc.  — descend on Okariba, it can turn raucous, but always joyfully so.  The groups can also provide some entertainment for the lone wolves and couples, too.  I’ve been on both sides of that.


Okariba Entrance. November 2009


Okariba Menu & one of many sakes varieties on hand.


Back to the pork.  For a little more than US$14.00 you get 3 large wooden skewers-worth of hunks of pork that’s been grilled-up by Aoki-san, basted with a thick, brown miso bbq sauce that’s incredibly savory, somewhat tangy and slightly, ever-so-slightly sweet (but the smokeyness cancels-out most of that).  While one very hungry person can eat one order, but it’s enough for two.  Besides, you have to try the duck (which tastes astoundingly similar to “honey-baked ham”), the bear, a sampling of deer, and grilled fish (whatever’s in season).

New Snapshots, From August 2011. . .

Friends gather at Okariba. August 2011.


Deep into the evening… Okariba. August 2011.


Yours truly and Aoki-san, May 27, 2010.


Last month, May 2009, I was back in Okariba with another group of university students.  This time it was a group of MBA students from here in Alabama.  A good time was had by all.  And, as a bonus for me, I and one of my Japanese sisters (from home stay days back when I was a college student) arranged to meet at Okariba that same night, with Yuko bringing my Japanese mom and Yuko’s two young sons along.  My Japanese dad was under the weather and couldn’t make it, which I regretted terribly.  Worlds intermingled that night at Okariba and when Aoki-san brought out the snake-infused white lightening, then the hornet-infused stuff — apparently home made and stored in large clear glass jars — I knew that the students had truly been embraced by our host as new-but-most-welcomed friends, a kindness Aoki-san was, indeed, paying to me.

For several months I’ve been working on a story about my dear home stay family, from way back in 1984, and the way their and my lives have been intertwined for more than 25 years.  Hopefully I’ll have that completed within the next few weeks.


Another Okariba sidewalk sign.

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Update – I neglected to mention that after the last morsel’s tasted and the last nigori-zake toast is made, after you settle-up your tab with Aoki-san, consider popping next to to Hanafusa coffee shop (touting itself as Kyoto’s first Siphon Coffee establishment), as clean and well-lighted and convivial a coffee shop as you’ll find anywhere.  Open from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.  Most all of the kindly staff there knows that my “usual” is Kilimanjaro, or “Kirimohn.”