Urasenke Tea Ceremony

December 1, 2019

By Sakina Nishitsuji & Yunji Choi

Green tea and matcha (powdered green tea) are both very popular among Japanese things in the world right now. Also, tea ceremony is growing in popularity among young people in Japan. One of the most famous tea ceremony schools in Japan is Urasenke.

What is Tea Ceremony?

Tea ceremony is one of the most popular aspects of traditional Japanese culture. Traditional tea ceremony is called sado in Japan. In sado, the tea master invites guests and serves matcha in a ceremonial way. The ceremony is full of meaning and tradition. It can have a calming and contemplative effect on people who experience it.

Japanese tea ceremony room

History of Tea Ceremony

Tea came into Japan during the Heian period (805). A Heian period monk, named Saicho, and an early Heian period monk, named Kukai, went to China. When they came back to Japan, they brought Tang period tea which they just thought of as a medicine. Later in the Kamakura period (1141∼1215), the priest Eisai, who brought the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism to Japan, also brought back a Chinese tea, which he thought was also medicine. That’s why Eisai wrote a book called Kissa-yojoki. It is a Chinese classics book which is written about the different kinds of methods for making powdered green tea, and tea drinking for promoting health.

In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when Yoshimitsu Ashikaga built Kinkaku temple and Yoshimasa built Ginkaku temple, a tea meeting place was made for art lovers. The art came from China, but there was little respect for spirituality. Murata Shuko (1422-1501), who appeared in the era of eight Shogun, made a four-and-a-half tatami mat room for tea ceremony that uses not only Chinese utensils, but also Japanese-made tea utensils. He came up with a spiritual tea world that disciplined against selfishness and self-attachment. An expert in the tea ceremony, Takeno Joo (1502-1555) inherited this spirit, and Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), a famous tea master during the Azuchi-momoyama period (1568-1600), invented wabicha, which is a style of Japanese tea ceremony that became the origin of modern tea ceremony. He also built Soancha no Yu, which is Sen no Rikyu’s tea room.

The Three Schools of Tea Ceremony

There are three schools of tea ceremony in Japan. Generally, Urasenke is the most famous schools of the three. Most people who study tea ceremony learn Urasenke. Of the three stules, Urasenke is the most casual style. That’s why people find it easier to learn.

The name san-Senke refers to the Omotesenke, Urasenke and Mushakojisenke schools of the tea ceremony. Omotesenke is the head family. Actually Omotesenke and Urasenke share almost same the basic actions, but there are some minor differences. In the tea ceremony, a fukusa (or cloth) is used for cleaning up tools. Omotesenke uses a vermilion-colored fukusa, but Omotesenke uses a red one. Also, the way to make tea is different. Tea made by the Urasenke school has finer bubbles, almost like a cappuccino. On the other hand, the tea in the Omotesenke style has a stronger taste. People can directly experience the taste of matcha.

Mushakojisenke is the most unfamiliar style of the three. This was started by Soushu, who is a son of Sen no Rikyu, on Mushakoji street in Kyoto. Mushakojisenke set up a branch family from Omotesenke. The way to make tea is similar to Omotesenke. There are no bubbles in the tea. They also use a vermilion-colored fukusa, as in the Omotesenke tradition. Other differences include how to prepare the tea and actions taken during the tea ceremony.



Otemae お点前

The act of making tea is called otemae.

There are two kinds of tea in tea ceremony: koicha and usucha. Koicha is a strong tea. If you drink koicha for the first time, you will experience a very bitter taste. Koicha is also called okoicha. Koicha is uses a lot matcha in the tea. That’s why it looks so thick. On the other hand, usucha is a thinner tea than koicha. Usucha also has another name: ousu. These tea types have other differences, too, like tools used to make them, for instance. When making usucha, chawan (tea bowl) are used. Many of these chawan have beautiful paintings on them that people can enjoy. In the summer, chawan made of glass are used. However, more expensive chawan without any paintings are used to make koicha. People who do not know deeply about tea ceremony, are probably familiar with usucha, as it is more famous than koicha.

Tools Used in Otemae

Chashaku 茶杓: A chashaku is the tool which scoops up matcha from a natsume, which is the box for matcha. It is generally made from bamboo.

Chawan 茶碗: A chawan is the bowl in which tea is prepared and from which tea is drunk. Chawan are very important items in tea ceremony. If you use a good quality chawan, the tea ceremony experience is heightened.

Fukusa 袱紗: It’s a square silk wrapping cloth. It is used in the tea ceremony to set tools on or to wipe them.

Sensu 扇子: Sensu is a folding fan. It is used to fan yourself, but in the tea ceremony, We use it when we greet people, like say hello. It’s kind of a communication tool.

Urasenke in Kyoto

Below are some places were you can learn more about Urasenke tea ceremony, and even experience it.

Konnichian 今日庵

Konnichian is a retreat located in the former residence of Urasenke in Kyoto. It was built when a tea master Sen Soutan, the grandchild of Sen no Rikyu, handed the house over to Sen Sousa. Sen Sousa is the third son of Sen Soutan and he is also a tea master of early Edo period (1619∼1672). This retreat is located in Honjoji-mae, Kamigyo-ku of Kyoto City. In 1949, a foundation of Konnichian was established. Their purpose was to preserve and nurture the Urasenke tea ceremony that was inherited from Sen no Rikyu’s tradition, spread the spirit of tea ceremony to the general public to contribute to the development of Japanese culture and also to preserve the remains, artifacts, arts and crafts, and structures that exist at the Konnichian.

Tankosha 淡交社

Tankosha is a publisher located in the Kita Ward of Kyoto City. They publish books that are related to tea ceremony and Kyoto. When Yoshiharu Naya, the ex-president of Tankosha, graduated from Doshishya University in Kyoto, he established a publishing organization to publish the newsletter of Urasenke, called Tanko, in the following year. His father, Soshitsu Sen is a traditional name taken by the business grouping of the Urasenke family, and he is the fifteenth-generation grandmaster of the Urasenke. Yoshiharu Naya’s grand brother, Yoshito Naya, is currently managing the company. The company name comes from the word of a Chinese philosopher, Soshi. The name Tankosha means that the communion between scholastic and respectable people should be a clean relationship like water, and compassion without a selfish motive will not break. The employees of Tankosha publish books and magazines on various fields, such as traditional culture centered on tea ceremony. They are related to Kyoto culture and tourism. In fields other than tea ceremony, there are arts and crafts, history and culture, travel guides, cooking, and hobby life, or they publish books that are related to Kyoto, like ‘Kyoto Encyclopedia’ and ‘Kyoto Tourism Culture Certification Test Official Text Book’. They handle books in languages other than Japanese. Besides publishing, they sell tea ceremony architecture and tea utensils. The first floor of the Kyoto head office (Murasakino Miyanishi-Cho) has a floor for selling books and selling tea utensils.

Kyoto Murasakino 京都むらさきの

Using authentic tea utensils, a standard traditional tea ceremony will be conducted for visitors. An experience of making your own bowl of tea with those utensils is included. You can practice tea ceremony in the Urasenke style. The ceremonies are held only on Saturdays and Sundays, but even then there are days on which the ceremonies are not held, so be sure to check the website before you go. You have to make a reservation on the website at least two days in advance. Here is the homepage URL: https://www.shin-shin-an.com/ 【Address】 6 Kamigoshodencho Murasakino Kita-ku, Kyoto JAPAN

Jinmatsuan 甚松庵

Jinmatsuan is a place to discover and experience Japanese culture. It is located near Gojo station, Kiyomizu temple, and the Gion area. They are open every day, but sometimes they hold special events, so be sure to check the homepage. You can make and drink matcha along with making Japanese tea ceremony sweets, or ohigashi. You can also make a Japanese traditional sweet wagashi and dancing with maiko, the girls who please people in the banquet by the trick such as dancing and Japanese orchestra. Here is the home page URL: https://www.jinmatsuan.com/tea 【Address】 BELK Karasuma 2F, 135 Manjuij-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City


As you can see, Urasenke tea ceremony is rich in meaning, history, and tradition. There are many people, both Japanese and foreign, who don’t know the history of tea ceremony even though the tea ceremony is very popular overseas. There are many places in Kyoto where you can actually experience the tea ceremony. The general foundation has a lecture on tea ceremony which was introduced at Konnichian. We introduced some places where you can both learn and experience traditional tea ceremony in the Uraksenke style. We hope that you will discover the beauty and tranquility of tea ceremony while you are in Kyoto.


Ichijoji Kyoto Ramen

by Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida and Tomoka Yamazaki

Japanese foods are recognized to be delicious all over the world recently. Therefore, we would like to introduce ramen (Chinese-style hot noodles) because it is popular and everybody likes it. There is a district in Kyoto known as Ichijoji and it is famous for being the location of many good ramen restaurants. We chose two ramen shops Gokkei and Takayasu. We went there and ate some ramen. Therefore, we will introduce two famous ramen shops here.


Access: Near to the Kyoto City Bus route 31 ‘Ichijoji Kitaomarucho Station’ stop.

Business hours: 11:30~22:00

Closed: Mondays

Gokkei is the most popular ramen shop in Ichijoji. There is always a line of people wating to get ramen there.

There are three types of ramen. First is Toridaku and simmered egg ramen. The price is 750 yen. It is ranked No.1 in Gokkei.  Toridaku features a thick soup, which is created through long hours of simmering chicken bones.  The soup lis almost like carbonara sauce.  You can even let the Chinese milk spoon stand in the soup. But it isn’t heavy. Medium thick noodles are used. Bamboo shoots in the soup are too big, three times the size of usual servings. the slices of roast pork are also large and very tender. the dish is topped with a soft-boiled egg and green onions which are a good accent.  Toridaku looks hearty but woman can easily eat it. It is very delicious!


The second type of ramen is called Akadaku. It costs 750 yen and its color is red! It is topped with chili.  It looks very spicy but only has a moderate hotness.  It goes well with rich soup and satisfies a big appetite.  The ingredients are the same as Toridaku.


The third type of ramen served here is Kurodaku. it also costs 750 yen. Kuro means garlic. The smell of garlic fills the air when you order this ramen.  It satisfies the appetite.  If you eat Kurodaku, you become full of power!  When you need energy, I recommend you eat this ramen.  Its ingredients are the same as Toridaku.



Access: Near to the Kyoto city Bus 31 ‘Ichijoji Kitaomarucho Station’ stop.

Business Hours: 12:00~23:00

Closed: None

Takayasu is another famous Chinese noodle shop in Ichijoji. Like Gokkei, there is always a line.  The shop assistant is so friendly and kind. We ate two types of ramen here and side dishes. We introduce them.

First is Chinese noodle. The price is 600 yen. It is the most popular ramen in Takayasu. Although It is a very simple ramen, its taste is impressive.I t has a mild and smooth soup. The taste is like the Samgyetang, but it has a thick Tonkotsu soup. The noodles are straight. There are tender Char-siu slices of pork atop the ramen. These Chinese noodles are very filling, so you can get full only with this ramen!

Chinese noodle

The second kind is Suji ramen. Suji is beef gristle in English. The price is 750 yen. The ramen has many tender and melting pieces of beef gristle. Its ingredients are the same as Chinese noodle. The third type of ramen is Spring Chicken. It features a big piece of chicken! The taste is spicy because the seasoning is curry. The coating is crispy and chicken is juicy.


Ramen is popular all over the world nowadays. Ichijoji is a famous area for ramen and each shop features its own style of ramen. In fact, there are a lot of other shops than the ones written about here. Ichijoji is an attractive area. Therefore, we want you to go Ichijoji and find your favorite ramen.


By bus: use bus number 3. It takes about 40 minutes from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies and the fare is 230 JPY. Continue on foot for about 10 minutes to reach the ramen area

Tapioca of Kyoto

by Kanae Hamano and Shiho Fujinami

Introduction to Tapioca

Recently, Tapioca has spread mainly to young people, and the famous Tapioca shop has a long line every day in Japan. In the Tapioca shop, we can choose the amount of ice and sweetness ourselves, so we can taste our own favorite taste. That is the reason why it is popular. In this time, we are going to introduce about history of Tapioca and three Tapioca shops in Kyoto where we recommend. First, in 1983, someone started developing Chinese tea into a Western-style, contemporary drink. That is the beginning of Tapioca Milk Tea. Only 10 years after its birth, it became a national drink for Taiwan, and it has spread to the whole world. Tapioca milk tea, which has become popular in Taiwan, was re-leased at convenience stores in Japan around 2000. Since then, various tastes have been developed in Japanese style.


This shop is characterized by a lovely design like a Korean cafe. It is espe-cially popular among young girls. Because there is a cuteness that makes you want to take pictures of the inside of the store, the bottle of drink, the appearance of drink and so on. There are abundant variations such as strawberry milk, ma-cha tiramisu, cafe latte, cream cheese latte. It is popular to drink these drinks in a container called a snow bottle. If you shake this bottle, the drink inside is beauti-fully mixed like a snow dome and it is very beautiful.

・Tapioca Hojicha tiramisu(ほうじ茶ティラミス) 790 (plus 80) yen

This is a recommended tapioca drink in MASHOLA. The aroma of Hojicha (ほうじ茶) goes well with the sweetness of tiramisu. This is not too sweet, so someone who is not does not care for sugary drinks will be able to enjoy it.

Koe Donuts Kyoto

This shop is a new donut shop which opened on March 21, 2019. The inte-rior decoration was designed by a famous architect. Koe donuts chose “organic”, “nature origin” and “local production for local consumption” for their keywords. And it selected carefully material in consideration for body and environment. This shop is popular among people not only for delicious donuts but also the photogenic tapioca drinks. It seems to have the menu which is congenial to do-nuts. Also, it is good to eat-in because the shop is fairly spacious.

・Cheese tapioca houji tea drink 680 yen This is a recommended tapioca drink in Koe Donuts. Cheese goes well with houji tea. This is a drink such as sweets. The tapioca of this shop is soft.


This shop opened as a second shop of MACHA HOUSE on July 5, 2018. This shop became popular by powdered green tea tiramisu (抹茶ティラミス) which suggestive of Kyoto. This shop has a shorter waiting time than the original MACHA HOUSE in Kawaramachi. This shop of Sanneizaka, (産寧坂) which is the classic Kyoto tourist attraction near Kiyomizu Temple, So, you can enjoy touring around Kiyomizu before go to this shop. An attractive characteristic of this shop is that it was built on the site of a Japanese garden. There are 24 terrace seats in front of this shop. There are nearly 100 seats include second story terrace. So, you can enjoy tira-misu or tapioca drinks while looking at a garden.

・Brown sugar macha latte tapioca drink 650 yen

This is a recommended tapioca drink in MACHA HOUSE. It is the best drink in which sweetness of the brown sugar and bitterness of the powdered green tea are matched.

Shop information


・Address: 406 Sakura-machi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto prefecture

・Nearest station: about 3 minutes from Hankyu-Kyoto Line “Kawaramachi sta-tion” Exit 9 on foot

・Business hours: 12:00 ~ 20:00

・Regular holiday: No rest

・Name: Koe Donuts Kyoto

・Address: 557 Nakano-cho, Shinkyogoku-dori Shijo-agaru, Nakagyoku, Kyoto prefecture

・Nearest station: about 1 minute from Hankyu-Kyoto Line “Kawaramachi sta-tion” Exit 9 on foot

・Business hours: 8:00~20:00

・Regular holiday: No rest

・Phone number: 075-748-1162

・Name: MACHA HOUSE 抹茶館 Kyoto Sanneizaka

・Address: 3-337 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto prefecture

・Nearest station: about 20 minutes from Keihan Line “Gion Shijo station” on foot

・Business hours: 9:00~20:00 (L.O. 19:30)

・Regular holiday: No rest

・Phone number: 075-532-5630

Table Manners of Japan

by Natsuki Yamane and Aya Tanaka

Japan has many kinds of table manners. We will introduce about that.

Ohashi (chopsticks)

Have you ever been in trouble when you visit to Japan? Especially, you will be particularly confused with how to use Ohashi. I will solve all those problems.

How to use Ohashi

First, you have to holding a pair of chopsticks with index finger, middle finger and thumb. Then you are holding the other one with base of thumb and ring finger. This, in a nutshell, like holding a pencil.

Forbidden Manners of Ohashi Use

1. Sashi bashi means pointing at someone or something with chopsticks. If you do it, you make people feel uncomfortable.

2. Tsuki bashi means spearing food rather than holding it to eat. Chopsticks should be used to grab. The act of Tsuki bashi to become thought of as an insult to the person who made the food.

3. Mayoi bashi means holding or fluffy chopsticks over plates of food while deciding what to eat. At first, mayoi bashi is looks not good. In addition to this.

4. Hashi watashi mean passing and receiving a piece or chunk of food to or from each one. This is taboo, because it done when picking up the bones of the dead a funeral.

5. Neburi bashi means licking or sucking your chopsticks. Neburi bashi is make people around you uncomfortable. If chopsticks get dirty, wipe them with paper.

6. Tate bashi means sticking your chopsticks vertically into rice. This is how a bowl of rice presented to the spirit of a deceased person, at their deathbed or at a Buddhist altar. Tate bashi is an act of offering rice to a person who died at a funeral.

7. Chigiri bashi means holding each chopsticks in a separate hand and using them to tear food. Chopsticks used in pairs. So it is not allowed to use one by one.

8. Jika bashi means using your own chopsticks rather than serving chopsticks when taking food from a shared plate. Some people are fastidiousness and we are should be avoided. If you do not have chopsticks for separate, you can ask the clerk.

9. Mochi bashi means grabbing a dish, glass or bowl whilst holding chopsticks in the same hand. It is better not to hold chopsticks and bowls together, as you may drop the dishes.

10. Kaki bashi means holding a bowl to your mouth and shoveling food in quickly. It does not look good. There is such a scene in animation, but please do not imitate it. If you do it, maybe you will feel like two cents.

OTOSHI (appetizer)

Otoshi is a dish. That is automatically served when you enter a restaurant such as an Izakaya. This charge is basically up to about 500 yen. Sometime called Tsukidashi. Otoshi is like a service charge. You must pay it. The purpose is a gain time when until the food ordered by the customer is served. Please enjoy the otoshi culture because otoshi is unlisted on the menu.

Types of bar

1. Tachinomi Izakaya is a type of bar where you can stand without sitting on a chair and drink alcohol. Most of them are under the overpass.

2. Beer garden is a type of bar where you can enjoy drinking and eating of self-service in the open air. Beer garden is basically summer only. It held mainly on the roof of department store.

3. Yatai (stand) is a temporary store where you can easily enjoy food and drinks. The mainstream is to move from store to store and drink at various stores. It called Hashigozake.

Useful words at Izakaya

1. When checking if a seat is available. “seki aitemasuka?” (Are there seats available?)

2. When you want to order beer. “toriaezu namade.” (Please give me a beer for the time being.)

3. When calling a clerk. Raise your hand. Then “suimasen.” (Excuse me)

4. A signal to drinking. “kanpaai!” (Cheers)

5. A signal to start eating dishes. “itadakimasu.” (Prayer)

6. When you want to order the same drink again. “mouippai onegaisimasu” (Please give me same drink)

7. When you want water. “ohiya onegaisimas” (Please give me water)

8. When you want hot tea. “atatakai ocha(atucha) onegaisimasu” (Please give me hot tea.) ※Almost shops offer water and hot tea for free. It is better to order them after meals.

9. When you want to check. “okaikei onegaisimasu” or “oaiso onegaisimasu” (Check please.)

10. When you leaving the shop. “arigatougozaimasu” or “gotisousamadesita” (Thank you)


by Yuka Nakamura and Sakura Nakatani


History of STARBUCKS

Have you ever been to the STARBUCKS? You know, STARBUCKS is one of the most famous coffee shops all over the world. STARBUCKS was opened in Seattle, Washington, in 1971. It became famous and popular because of takeout style and having some coffee to go.

In 2017, there were 27,339 STARBUCKS shops in the world. Surprisingly, there are 1,328 shops in Japan. Of course, the USA has the biggest number of shops. However, Japan has the third most shops of STARBUCKS after the USA and Canada, which is second. In Japan, many people call STARBUCKS as short word, STABA and it is loved by all ages in Japan.

The first STARBUCKS was opened on August 2nd, in1996 at Ginza in Tokyo. As I said before, there are 1,328 shops in Japan. The number of STARBUCKS per 100,000 people is 1.04 shops. The prefecture that has most STARBUCKS shops is Tokyo. Second is Okinawa. There are 33 shops in Kyoto.

What is the Third Place?

According to the web site, it says, ‘The third place is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (first place) and the work place (second place). Examples of third places world be environments such as churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks.’ STARBUCKS have been providing a relaxing place as third place. To make third place, STARBUCKJS listed 2 concepts.


They are sticking to making a comfortable atmosphere. To do that, they have a few big sofas, using some dark indirect lighting and highly selected BGM (background music). BGM in STARBUCKS is changing by seasons or menu that is on sale. They select music from all genres. The popular cafe’s music is jazz, bossa nova and Latin. In addition, they use hip-hop, French pops, oldies and sometimes they use classic and contemporary music. When people listen the same music, they would feel sleepy or bored. To select music from all genres, it might be making good atmosphere.

Regional landmark store

STARBUCKS put an effort into their Regional landmark store. It is a store designed in the place that become a symbol of Japan and it is a general term of shops which is spreading a tradition of region for all over the world. There are 23 regional landmark stores in Japan. One of them is in Kyoto.

Let’s go the world’s first Starbucks Coffee

A fashionable Starbucks came into being in Kyoto. It is in a famous tourist spot in Japan. This particular Starbucks was opened in Kyoto in June 2017. The store’s name is Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Tyaya. You can taste coffee in the world’s first tatami Starbucks.

What is Ninenzaka?

Ninenzaka is the name of the slope that continues from Kiyomizu-Temple to Yasaka-Shrine. There is a scary legend saying “When you fall down this slope, you will die within two years”. The street is narrow and lined with many shops. It is one of the tourist attractions of Kyoto.

Recommended points Noren

Noren are curtains, featuring a shop’s name or emblem, which hang from the top of a shop’s doorway about halfway down the length of the doorway. Japan’s Starbucks shops feature noren which contain the original Starbucks logo. Noren were originally used by Japanese houses to provide shade or keep out dust. Having noren creates a very Japanese atmosphere because it has been used in traditional houses for 100s of years. It is just like Japan to go into Starbucks through the Noren. The Starbucks has a good reputation among foreigners. They offer unlimited hospitality. Would you like to go there?

Recommended points ”Tatami”

This is the world’s first Starbucks with tatami. On the second floor of the store are three tatami rooms. You can take off your shoes and relax on tatami. There are seat cushions made from crepe fabric. There are items that you can feel “Japanese”, such as a shoj (sliding paper covered doors) tokonoma (an alcove used to display art), and soft lighting. The Starbucks provides a space for relaxation. You feel comfortable with the combination of tatami and coffee.

Recommended points “Exterior”

The beauty of the exterior is attractive. There is something elegant about the old town layout.

Starbucks is considerate about not damaging the scenery. It is a strange space where Starbuck’s logo looks like a Japanese style. That’s the important thing about the landscape.

Recommended points “garden”

There are three gardens, front garden, courtyard, and backyard. A washbasin called Tsukibai is placed. It allows visitors to wash their hands before entering the tea room. There are rocks and moss. It is a space where you can watch the Japanese garden.

Recommended points “Photogenic”

Both the appearance and the interior, the space of Japanese is spreading. It is a great spot for enjoying coffee and taking pictures. Large Starbucks logo on the wall, ikebana, indirect lighting, natural light are create a good atmosphere. Why do not shoot a nice picture? You cannot experience it at other stores.

Tumbler of Kyoto Starbucks limited

Starbucks in Japan, just like abroad, has a limited edition tumbler for each region. Tumbler of Kyoto Starbucks limited is black and based on a Japanese design.

Selling price: 335ml /2000 yen


Store name: Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Tyaya

Business hours: 08:00~20:00

Regular holiday: Irregular holiday

Access: 18 minutes on foot from Gion Shijo Station

10 mintutes Higashiyamayasui Kyoto city bus

Address: 349 Masuya-machi, Higashiyama-ku Kyotoshi Minami-dori Shimogawara


Phone number: 075-532-0601

Sizuya in Kyoto

There are a lot bakery shops in Japan. Especially in Kyoto, there are many bakery shops. “Sizuya” is the representative bakery shop in Kyoto. A lot of people who live in Kyoto are familiar with this bakery. We well profile the quality of “Sizuya”, the bread of “Sizuya” and the history of “Sizuya”. If you get more information about Sizuya you will surely go there and love it.

Quality of “Sizuya”

Good taste is the basis for making good bread, but Sizuya works on the principle that they are also “making a bread that is good for a body”. They always try to take care of “health, safety and support”. Because they want children to grow up health and safe.
So they take pride in these 3 qualities.

1. They don’t use a synthetic yeast.

Bread needs yeast in order to ferment and rise. This process, in turn, needs to feed the yeast. Some yeast products have many additives, for example bromine acid potassium, which has risks of carcinogenicity. However, Sizuya uses fermented barley extract, a contain lots of nutrients such as polyphenol and oligosaccharide.

2. BMP is combined in all bread.

BMP is base mix powder. Base mix powder is a natural product that consists of combined minerals (-malt and oxygen-) so the bread of Sizuya always contain lots of calcium. This has a high nutritional value.

3. Sizuya does not use refined salt, which has a chemical composition, but natural salt (akaho no amasio) in all their bread. Natural salt is unrefined salt that contains bitten and the bittern brings out the natural flavor of its ingredients.

As I explained, Sizuya works on making bread that is good for body. They make bread while bringing out the fresh, natural flavor of its ingredients. So Sizuya is loved by everyone in Kyoto, where they have can run their bakery for 60 years.

The bread of Sizuya

Sizuya is the representative bakery shop of the Kyoto. Especially, “carnet” and “beef cutlet sandwith” are popular items. These are called soul food. At first, I’ll introduce about “carnet”.

This is the “carnet.”
The carnet, a soft onion flavored roll, is the most popular food at Sizuya. There are some secret points that make it so delicious. The first point is the onion, which is very crisp and a little bitter. The crisp texture and mildly bitter flavor accent the bland taste of the roll. This onion is different of thickness in a season. It is important that a sense of crisp. It become too spicy if the onion is too thick. And more, bread become too wet if the water of onion. Onion of “carnet” is very important. Second point is the original margarine. This margarine having a mild taste. The seasoning of the “carnet” is only margarine. Therefore how to spread and quantity of margarine are decided in detailed. Third point is the bread. This bread is the French bread in the style of Germany. “Carnet” is originally “Kaisersemmel” of Germany. Therefore this “carnet” is very soft bread. And more, there are “carnet” that the flavor of pepper is popular, too.

Next, I’ll introduce about “beef cutlet sandwich.” This is the popular bread, too. There are some secret points that is delicious. First point is the sauce. This is the original and taste of salty-sweet. This sauce become accent of the taste. Second point is the taste of dear. This “beef cutlet sandwich” is just as that used to be. Third point is the toast. This toast is baked. It become crisp and a savory by baked. Fourth point is beef. It is used two-ply beef. The reason why is chewy. It is more have chewy by using two-ply beef. And more, it is important that how to fry. It become hard beef if the beef too fry. Therefore using a timer to take a time.

Next, I’ll introduce about the recommendation bread in this month. This bread is strawberry taste. In the bread, there is strawberry cream. And more, a taste of strawberry cracker is on the bread. The flavor of strawberry spread in the mouth.

The history of “Sizuya”

Sizuya is started by Makoto Hori in 1948. He started it for people in Kyoto, because he was born and raised in there. His business policy is “Take good care of deliciousness in Kyoto, Kawaramachi.” He wants them to eat delicious food, therefore Sizuya has many branches throughout the cities in Kyoto even other prefecture. He ran the firm under private as a bakery and a confectionary. After three years, he founded and made a start the joint-stock corporation, Sizuya. Do you know why he chose the name, Sizuya? Actually, he is a devoted husband. His wife’s name is Shizuko. Therefore he named Sizuya after his wife, Shizuko. Little by little, his business is headed in the right direction. A color television was presented to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding the Sizuya. In addition, he donated the shopping district in Kawaramachi and some associations to a contribution and an ornament. Because of the donations, he was officially commended by the Prime Minister. After that, Sizuya added branches steadily one by one. Now there are more than nineteen branches in Kyoto. Even if times are changing, Sizuya has been loved by many people. The reason is people his policy “Take good care of deliciousness in Kyoto, Kawaramachi.” from him all the time.

Sizuya has been loved for nearly 70 years not only by people who live in Kyoto Prefecture, but also tourists. The reason is they always have the founder’s policy “Take good care of deliciousness in Kyoto, Kawaramachi.” in their minds. In other words, Sizuya always thinks of consumers. Consequently, they have three qualities: They use a natural product to feed their yeast, BMP is combined in all their bread, they use only natural, rather than chemically enhanced salt. Moreover, they came up with various ideas to eat deliciously. For example, carnet is the most famous food in Sizuya. It uses onions, and they are particular about the onions.

You feel like going to Sizuya, don’t you?
If so, LET’S TRY IT!!

Ramen in Saiin

15ua0225 Hiroto Takao

15ua0084 Tsubasa Ota

15ua0011  Kyoka Azuma

We are going to introduce three ramen shops around Saiin station in Kyoto. Saiin station is a station on the Hankyu Kyoto line, just four stops from Kawaramachi, which is downtown. There are so many places that we can enjoy eating, having fun, and being relaxed around Saiin. Among them, ramen shops are really vibrant, so a variety of people often visit these ramen shops. The three shops we want to recommend are “Toritani”, “Kirameki” and “Watanabe Seimen”. We decided to introduce these shops because they are very close to Saiin station, have strong features and are very popular.


Kirameki Chicken Heart

The Kirameki group, which is a noodle restaurant in a chain that is also listed in magazines, currently has 8 stores in Kyoto City. Kirameki is a homemade noodle of commitment, all the noodles are blended with Nagano prefecture-produced, stone-milled wheat flour “Yumemanten ” and they do not use alcohol, so the expiration date of the noodles is only 4 days. The chicken stock is cooked carefully for a long time, using thigh meat and chicken skin, as well as chicken bones.

Kirameki Chicken Heart

The standard dish is a rich noodle with soy sauce-based dish filled with thick, rice-based chicken and pork noodles. A popular dish is Taiwan’s Mazesoba (Soupless Noodle) “Naotaro” is a hot topic. This dish originates in a Taiwan restaurant, and is only served in Kirameki inside Japan. It seems that the o

rigin of this name came from the owner’s son’s name. Taiwan Mazesoba is a type of ramen from Nagoya. Taiwan Mazesoba, provided by the Kirameki group, was created under the supervision of Mr. Shinzane, the general manager of “Noodle Shop NANABI”, which was its origin. Minced leek, onions, chives, seaweed laver, fish meal, garlic and egg yolk are vividly served and followed by small rice at the end. The chicken rich soup is great and it has a mellow but slightly bitter taste. On the table is a seasoning for mild buckwheat so that you can add the seaoning to your noodles. Another feature is the r

ecommendation that you use a “paper apron” , which is prepared in the restaurant, without being disturbed, and not being shy. In addition, there is a point card in this restaurant. When you order a meal, you can get points. Customers get one stamp for every noodle dish they enjoy. Ten stamps is equal to one point. Your noodle dish is free at 3 points. You can get an Original T-shirt with 5 points, and a hoodie is 7 points. Such ingenuity is also a secret of popularity. Moreover, all Kirameki restaurants close occasionally so that the Kirameki group can have a conference, and discuss improving their food and service. The Kirameki group has become a hot topic every day in internet reviews and the media. They seem to have plans to open new stores in the future.


Kyotohu Kyotoshi Ukyo-ku Yamanouchi Naecyo 28



The appearance is refreshingly simple and much in the the Japanese style. Inside of the shop, there is a counter, and there is one table seat. You can wait inside the store. Instead of a ticket vending machine, order directly from a waiter. The menu is a simple thing of handwriting, and the noodles are classified roughly into 4 sections of rich, light, dipping noodles, fish and soups. Only rice items are prepared for a side menu. Popular rice, chicken and butter pork roll are dishes recommended by an employee. The toppings are loaded with three types of roasted pork fillet, green onion and radish sprouts, which are well colored. Roasted pork fillet is a dipping noodle dish of chicken meat and pork, chicken is two kinds of thigh and breast, pork is tender and rare leaving as it is a light taste. Slightly strong seasoning, but overall balance is good, when you finished eating, the soup is entangled with the noodle so much that the soup hardly remains. After eating you feel a satisfaction, like eating chicken dishes rather than noodles, None of the ingredients use additives and chemical seasonings, and noodles are homemade, so this is supported by a wide range of customers. Depending on the situation such as vegetables in season, the kind of noodle seems to change subtly from day by day. That information can be sent by SNS.

The place is the about 15 minutes on walk from Saiin Station, heading somewhat west from the intersection of Nishioji-Shijo. Also there is a coin parking lot on the west side in the immediate vicinity.

6150566 Kyotohu Kyotoshi ukyoku Saiin Shijou H

atakecyo 1-22

Watanabe Seimen

Watanabe Seimen is a ramen shop in the back of Saiin Station. But their main menu is not ramen, but Tsukemen. Tsukemen are called dipping noodles overseas. There are three types of noodles, flat noodles, thick noodles, and medium thick noodles. To make the flat noodles, flour is blended with Canadian Western Red Spring and Domestic Wheat, as well as Prime Hard wheat from Australia. Furthermore, the noodles becomes elastic and chewy by kneading the dough with a vacuum mixer. By adding tapioca powder texture is further enriched. Thick noodles used medium wheat and Australian

Watanabe Seimen

medium flour. Because it removes the outer skin, there is a fragrance and a sweetness due to abundant minerals and protein. It is a recommended dish of the store. For medium thick noodles, cassava flour and tapioca powder are blended into the strong flour of Western Red Spring of Canada. This is also kneaded with a vacuum mixer, it is a multi-additive type noodle. Medium thick noodles are rarely used for Tsukemen, so you can enjoy the unique texture of Kansai.


There are four soups, which are seasoned soup, spicy meat, vegetable paste and curry taste. The seasoned soup is made of boiled fish with miso and yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus, similar to a lime) and blended spices. It has a dense and solid taste. Spicy meat soup uses minced pork stewed in Sichuan sauce. Spiciness and sweetness are blended, and you can taste a fine pungent taste. They use a vegetable stock made from six kinds of vegetables in vegetable paste soup. It has a balanced and mellow taste. Curry taste soup is blended with several kinds of curry powder and it has a mild sweet curry taste. In addition, recently shrimp flavored soup was added. There are a variety of autographs in the shops.


615-0012 Kyotohu Kyotoshi Ukyo-ku Saiin Takayama Teramachi 12-11




Meat of Kyoto


          There are many meat restaurants in Kyoto. Recently, there is an increase in the meat restaurants where delicious meat can be eaten cheaply. It is thought that the increase of foreign tourists visiting Japan is also greatly affected. Surprisingly, Kyoto is said to be the prefecture with the highest consumption of beef in Japan.

At this time, we are going to introduce the history of meat in Kyoto and three meat restaurants in Kyoto which we recommend.

          First, it is said that the spread of beef among the common people was due to the appearance of Gyunabe (牛鍋) (Japanese stew using beef), the originator of Sukiyaki (すき焼き) at Meiji (明治) Period (1868 – 1912). After the war, ordinary people were not able to eat beef easily, but now they can eat it readily. So, we will recommend the meat restaurants where beef can eaten cheaply and delicious.


          This restaurant was just opened in 2017. This is a meat restaurant which has an atmosphere like a cafe. It is very fashionable, so even women can easily enter. There are counter seats and table seats that are easy to use by one person in the restaurant. The main menu items are beef steak, pork steak, rice bowl, curry and a set menu. You can get 200g extra beef for plus 600 yen and 200g of extra pork for plus 300 yen. And SNS campaign is also carried out. If you upload the photo with the restaurant’s information on SNS you can get one free drink (soft drink or beer). Most items on the menu can be eaten for about 900 – 1500 yen.

*Beef steak rice bowl 1200 yen (200g)

The portion size is large and meat is very tender. It uses a slightly hot soy based sauce. You can put some spices; pepper, cayenne pepper powder and salt, you can enjoy different tastes at the same time. (Rice bowl and curry includes a soup and pickles. Pork steak and beef steak includes a rice, salad, soup and pickles.)   

Beef steak rice bowl 1200 yen


            This restaurant is a steak house, and which was opened on August 2, 2016. It serves good quality meat for low price. In addition to the matured steak, the steak bowl is also popular. The meat of this restaurant is tender and delicious. Also, there are table seats and counter seats.  Inside the restaurant, it is a clean and spacious with a  relaxed atmosphere.

*steak bowl (ステーキ丼) 1,000 yen

(Only served at lunch time. It includes a salad and soup. A rice large serving is free.)

Meat is very tender.  The sauce of this steak bowl is a little sweet. But this sauce matches rice very well. In addition, you put some fried garlic and some fried onion as a topping, you can enjoy more delicious steak bowl.

Steak bowl 1000 yen

Niku Shokudou(肉食堂)

            A famous Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) store in Kyoto runs this restaurant. So, you can enjoy good meat for low price. At first you enter the restaurant and buy a meal ticket with the ticket vender on the right. After that, the salesclerk will guide you to a seat. Because this restaurant has a lot of counter seats in addition to the table seats, you can go to eat willingly alone. There are a lot of toppings on the table such as garlic chips and red pepper flakes, seven kinds of spices (七味唐辛子). So, you can enjoy the change of taste.

*Gorilla rice (ゴリラ飯) 880 yen

(It includes a salad and miso soup)

This is a bowl which has fibrous meat on rice. Spicy-sweet sauce soaks into the meat. This sauce matches rice very much. And taste becomes mellow when you mix it with an egg. Also, the laver is a good accent.

Gorilla rice 880 yen

Restaurant Information

・Name: NIKUZAEMON (食堂 肉左衛門)

・Address: Second Shinwa Hall F2, 46-2 Kita Yakake-cho, Saiin, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto

・Nearest station: about 5 minutes from Hankyu Saiin station on foot

・Phone number: 050-5594-5028

・Business hour: 11:00~15:00 (L.O.14;30) / 17:00~21:00 (L.O. 20:30)

・Name: TK house

・Address: 107 Suzaku apartment, 7 Higashi Nakamizu-cho, Saiin, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto prefecture

・Nearest station: about 10 minutes from Hankyu-Kyoto Line “Saiin station” on foot

・Business hours: 11:30~14:15  18:00~22:00

・Regular holidays: Wednesday

・Phone number: 050-5592-4973

・Name: Niku Shokudou(肉食堂)

・Address: 25 Kashiwaya-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto prefecture

・Nearest station: about 5 minutes from Hankyu-Kyoto Line “Omiya station” on foot

・Business hours: 11:45~14:00  17:00~21:00

・Regular holiday: Irregular

・Phone number: 075-754-8282

Kyoto Chocolates

 by Ayuka Takashita and Yumika Ikeda

There are a lot of delicious things in Kyoto and many tourists enjoy these. Most people already know about famous traditional Japanese food but today I introduce tasty chocolates in Kyoto. Actually, so many stores specializing in chocolate are gathered there and these designs are unique. These are perfect products for souvenirs when you visit Japan. If you want to go to a little-known spot in Kyoto, you have check out these shops.

Chocolat BEL AMER

   Chocolat BEL AMER is opened in 2015 and it aims to make Japan-like chocolate. They are using the traditional houses as the store and these contain a small Japanese garden. On the first floor, you can buy original products what you like. There are so many kind of sweets, for example, Gateau, Four sec, or Stick Chocolat, but I recommend “Tablet Chocolat” and “Chocolat”. First one is really beautiful design and its pattern with Japanese motifs such as Ginkakuji-Temple, Arashiyama and Maiko. Packages are made of Japanese paper and it feels not only gorgeous but also has a delicate impression. Second one is the most recommend products, especially bonbon chocolats are so good. These designs look like art. Some of them are made with Japanese sake or green tea as ingredients, so you can savor Japanese things both of sense of taste and sight. Incidentally, the most popular item of Chocolat Bel Amer is kinshi masamune and it includes sake. If you,don’t usually drink, you should choose ume, it mean Japanese apricot. Of course, this apricot is a product of Wakayama prefecture in Japan. On the second floor, there is a café named Chocolat BER. You can eat all foods and drinks only this store. Popular products of this café are green tea soufflé and fondant au chocolat. The former one is served fresh and it is not too sweet and you can enjoy different taste to pour milk chocolate sauce on it. Next is the latter one. You would be surprised when you eat it because the direction is so nice. The clerk is serves this product covered with glass case and inside is full of walnut’s smoke. The glass case is removed in front of you and it smells great. This sweets is enjoyable to eat with various sauces. Other foods are really delicious, so you find your favorite one. This nice shop’s address is 66 Masuya-cho, Kitagawa, Sakaimachi-higashi Agaru, Sannjo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, KYOTO. You can get to there by taking the subway Karasuma Line and getting off at Karasuma Oike station. And it’s about 5 minute walk from this station.

Atelier du Munian

Munian is opened in 2009 and it is famous for chocolate truffles. This store is cooperated with Kakao tei; this is the chocolate brand. If you go there, you can see a building with a relaxing atmosphere and it has Japanese garden, too. Interior decoration reflects the chocolate wrapped foil and there is small café space. In the showcase, a lot of there are chocolate sweets, it’s MUNIAN truffle, Ganache Carre, Gateau MUNIAN, Gateau au Chocolat Blanc et Fromage, Gateau au Chocolat a la MUNIAN truffle. The most popular is MUNIAN truffle and I’m sure you have never experienced this texture before. It is bigger than normal one, but literally melt in your mouth. There are 12 flavors, including strawberry, green tea, vanilla, rose and so on. Matcha or gyokuro are good sellers because these products based on green tea but you would be satisfied with whatever flavor you choose. The store’s address is 416, Dainichi-cho, Shijou-Agaru, Gokomachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, KYOTO. You can get to there by taking the Hankyu Line and getting off at Kawaramachi station. But it is going to move to around Kyoto Imperial Palace, so you will have to check for the new address.

Salon de Royal

This store opened in 2012 in Kyoto and tries to combine Japanese and Western styles. Salon de Royal is the oldest of the three shops and has received a prize at Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat in 2017. Staffs in there are always try to make a space look unusual so these are beautiful and gorgeous atmosphere. When you come there, you can see colorful items inside the showcase like chocolate, cakes and macarons, Trade items of this shop are pecan nut chocolate and bonbon chocolat. First one is popular as a gift or souvenir because these are not too expensive and tastes so good. And then, the most featured chocolate is named “the Eiffel”, it is a chocolate actually in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. Any other items are really beautiful, so please go there and check out these products. Also, this shop has café space and it faces the Kamo-gawa River, so you can enjoy delicious chocolates or other sweets while feeling peaceful. Moreover, the veranda is opened in the summer season so it’s must-see. The address of this store is 502, Kamikoriki-cho, Oike-Agaru, Kiyamachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, KYOTO. You can soon reach it by foot from Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station on the Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line.

These three chocolate stores each have really unique and beautiful products and these will makes you happy. If you visit there, you can enjoy your trip to Japan even more.

Japanese Confectionery Wagashi and Wa-sweet

by Rio Yamada & Hazuki Yamagata

Japan has the particular confectioneries called wagashi (wa= means Japanese, gashi=菓子 means snack) that is a good old and traditional confectioneries, and trendy confectioneries called wa-sweets that has gained popularity in recent years, especially among young people. This article shows the history and features of wagashi that has been loved for many years, and the history and features of wa-sweets that are similar not only to Japanese people but also tourists and foreigners who are interested in Japanese food. This article also shows that the differences and the common point between this two topics.

The history of wagashi

Wagashi is Japanese traditional sweets. The origin of wagashi is that ancient Japanese started to eat fruits, and Chinese sweets came from China during the Heian Period (794-1185). Since then, the prototype of wagashi was established. However wagashi that was eaten at that time, has not kept its shape today. Many kinds of wagahsi that are still eaten, were developed in Edo Period (1603-1867). The Word “wagashi” is a term that began to be used as the antonym of “western confectionery”. Western sweets entered Japan from Europe since the Meiji Period ( 1868-1912).

The features of wagashi

Generally, wagashi is made to eat with green tea. It has strong link with four seasons in Japan. A high quality of moist confectionery called jo-namagashi expresses the sense of the seasons, not only the taste but also the visual beauty. As a one of main features of wagashi, these confectioneries do not use any dairy products such as butter, eggs, cheese, and milk, and they are also without any animal food products. It uses flour made from rice, such as rice-cake flour and glutenous rice flour. Another feature of this snack is the use of agar as a coagulant. Wagashi is made by using lots of sugar such as caster sugar, and wasanbon, which is Japanese refined sugar. There are typical wagashi sweets, such as manju (sweet bun), yokan (sweet vean jelly), mame-daifuku (mochi cake with beans), and senbei (rice cracker).


The differences between kyogashi and wagashi

There are some differences between kyogashi made in Kyoto and wagashi. Wagashi is a snack called cha-uke (tea ceremony) which is served with green tea, but on the other hand, kyogashi is used for events and ceremonies that are held in the Imperial Court and among the Court Nobles as offering sweets.


What are wa-sweets?

In recent year, wa-sweets have grown in popularity. Wa-sweets refers to sweets using Japanese and Western ingredients such as chiffon cake that is kneaded with kinako (roasted soybean poder) and matcha (powdered green tea), and bramanje that is made by using tofu. In this way, in wa-sweets, Japanese food ingredients are blended with a western confecionery. Most traditional Japanese food has a low calories and it is good for health. That is why wa-sweets have started to gathering a lot of attention.

There is no clear standard, but sweets that use lots of Japanese ingredients are called wa-sweets. Wa-sweets are often made by using butter and fresh cream similar to sweets that are made for Western confectionery. It can be said that wa-sweets are similar to Western-style sweets.

matcha cake

The history of wa-sweets

There are some theories that matcha sweets which are made of matcha has become popular such as Haagen-Dazs matcha flavor that was released in 1996. Matcha flavor ice cream became the second most popular product, after vanilla flavor, of the total sales of Haagen-Dazs. Matcha flavored ice cream started to added to the standard ice cream flavors because Haagen-Dazs matcha flavored ice cream became popular. In 2001, Starbucks also began to sell “Matcha Cream Frappuccino“. Because matcha started to be recognized widely as a standard flavor, wa-sweets have become world-famous as well .

The features of wa-sweets

Wa-sweets have many features. The first one is that they use animal food products often. The second one is that they have a lot of calories, a high fat content, and a high sugar content because wa-sweets are made by using high calories foods such as flour, sugar, and fresh cream. The third one in that these sweets use dairy products such as butter, eggs, cheese, and milk. The last one is that wa-sweets are made with gelatin as coagulant.

The differences between wagashi and wa-sweets

There are some differences between wagashi and wa-sweets. Wagashi are not be made by using dairy products like wa-sweets because Japan did not run dairy farming. Mostly, wa-sweets are made of azuki (red beans), ingen-mame (green beans), mochi-gome (glutinous rice), mizuame (starch syrup), sugar, and kudzu. However, the base of wa-sweets is close to Western confectioneries, therefore it is made by using not only dairy products but also another various ingredients.

The similarities between wagashi and wa-sweets

There are some similarities between wagashi and wa-sweets. Both of them are made by using Japanese flavors such as azuki, matcha, and kinako. Wa-sweets is a snack that is combined western-style confections with wagashi, but also it is made by using Japanese ingredients, its look is mostly simple and rustic like wagashi.

matcha tiramisu

On the whole

Recently, the popularity of wa-sweets and wagashi have been increasing. Wagashi is Japanese traditional confectionary that has been around for long time, while wa-sweets are new Japanese sweets that are gradually getting popular in Japan. Different snacks have different attractions, but both of them are made with Japanese ingredients. Because wa-sweets were born, the attention of wagashi has been increasing as well. These snacks will continue to get popular not only inside the nation, but also overseas.