Kizakura Brewery

May 13, 2018

Kizakura Brewery

 

2015UA0266 Kanako Togami

2015UA0297 Yumi Nishidai

2015UA0301 Yuma Nishihara

 

Some hold the view that Kyoto has the oldest history of making sake, especially Fushimi, which is known as one of the most eminent brewing places in Japan. Fushimi is composed of plains along three rivers; Kamo river, Uji river and Katsura river and the peaks of the Higashiyama, including the Momoyama hills. Because of the geographical features of the land, Fushimi has a good quality of underground water and it gushes out from all over. The water is well-balanced with substances like potassium and calcium, therefore, it is an excellent water to make sake. The tradition of making sake flowered in Azuchi Momoyama Period. Since it started, the tradition has taken over for long time. Now, there are many breweries in Fushimi and many tasteful houses standing in a row. Everybody can enjoy tasting sake at many breweries. We introduce one of the famous breweries: Kizakura.

 

 

  • Kizakura CONCEPT

 

Kizakura provides a place that people can feel Japanese rice wine and they want everyone to deepen understanding of Kizakura products and sake cultures. Kizakura gets support from customers because they make TV commercials first and develop new products which not general idea. Their new products are liked by everyone, because they have a good taste and affordable prices. Making sake is a traditional occupation but this traditional culture depends not only on the manufactures. So they extend their activities for enjoying to drink sake to younger generations. Kizakura has made a facility which people can visit both making premium sake, made from rice polished to 60%, and making locally brewed beer. This brewery open to the public is located near a memorial hall with restaurant. It is called “Kizakura Kappa Country”. This is located in Fushimi Ward in Kyoto city. The best way is to take a train from Kyoto station. Take the Kintetsu Kyoto line to Momoyamagoryomae station and get off there. It takes 8-minutes walks from the Momoyamagoryomae station to the facility. If you take a car, it is OK because there is a parking lot. This is open every day besides the New Year. Moreover, there are English menu for foreign tourists and child menu for children so everyone can enjoy themselves without age and nationality. This is like a theme park of Japanese rice wine and locally brewed beer. So people can drink fresh sake there. Furthermore, the facility can be reserved for private parties. So people can enjoy a closed-door party with many people. Kizakura contributes to the region’s development and sticks to making sake and working on developing sake business.

 

 

  • PRODUCTS

 

Kizakura sells a lot of products. People think Kizakura sells only Japanese sake because Kizakura is the making alcoholic beverages. However, Kizakura makes somethings outside of Japanese sake. At first, I’ll introduce about Japanese sake.

 

1.

This is the Japanese sake of Kizakura. Japanese sake has many kinds of taste and rich in variety. Sake has a lot of ranks. For example, there is the top-quality sake brewed from rice grains milled to 50 percent or less of their weight. This is the top rank in the Japanese sake. At Kizakura, the rice for that top-of-the-line brew is used to make Japanese sake. The process of fermentation is changed every day. Therefore it is difficult to control and make Japanese sake. The experts who have years of experience working at Kizakura check and control the brewing process with scrupulous care day and night.

 

  1. Japanese sake is a relatively new product. This is the Japanese sake, too. And this is the like champagne. It has a good but mild taste. It has a pleasant aftertaste, which is softer than the aftertaste than Japanese sake. Therefore this product’s reputation is growing fast now. Sparkling sake is made from rice and koji ; malted rice. This is a little sweet and moderate sour. Japanese sparkling sake is popular among women.

 

  1. Outside Japanese sake. Kizakura makes and sells a lot of products. First is cosmetics. A professional of skincare say that water in which rice has been washed is very good for skin and has some good effects. Some of women wash their face with that. Therefore Kizakura made many cosmetics that is contained components of Japanese sake that take away alcohol.

Second is a sherbet. The flavors are strawberry and mango. A lot of fruit juice is used in the making of the sherberts. They are alcohol like a dessert. They also make shaved ice that only adults can eat, because they contain alcohol.

Third is resort-packed curry. This contains many vegetables grown in Japan. This taste has deep flavor and is a little sweet. There is no alcohol in the curry, so everyone from adults to children can enjoy eating it.

 

 

  • HISTORY

 

At first, Kizakura did not have a name. In 1925, the founder, Zhiichiro Matsumoto, became independent of his family business of the manufacturing industry of refined sake. He made Matsumoto Zhiichiro shopping district in Fushimi, and this was the beginning of Kizakura. This company has changed its name many times since its foundation.It became a joint-stock company in 1951 and was named Matsumoto Zhiichiro shopping district Co., Ltd. The name was Kizakura making alcoholic beverage Co., Ltd. in 1964 and then in 2006 he changed the name into Kizakura Co., Ltd. The reason of taking away “making alcoholic beverage Co., Ltd.” was to extend the range of their business. In other words, they make not only refined sake but also other kinds of sake. It is said that the company name of Kizakura is taken from the name of a flower. Kizakura is a kind of Satozakura that blooms with light greenish white flowers. Because Mr. Matsumoto loved the flower, he chose this name. Kizakura has the image of a kappa, a Japanese water imp, which they use as their own character on their website and in commercial messages. Why did they choose kappa? The reason was very simple. The second president-director, Shiro Matsumoto, read the comic “Kappatengoku” which is drawn by Kon Shimizu, and he liked it. Since he was so taken with the comic, Kizakura has been using the image of the kappa. After Mr. Shimizu died, Ko Kozhima who is a cartoonist, took over the design of the company’s trademark kappa character. Kizakura is trying to get attention to the culture of refined sake. Therefore, they made “Kappa Country”, which is the first restaurant in Kyoto that serves local beer and has a tour of “Fushimigura” so that people can see the process of making sake and beer at the same time. Kizakura has three wine cellars and makes sake there. And all of them got the gold prize in National New Sake Appraising and Deliberating Fair. Kizakura does not have long history in the manufacturing industry of refined sake, however it has been loved, because of many efforts.

 

Kizakura has a long history and many products, and has been loved for long time, not only by people who live in Kyoto Prefecture, but also tourists. The reason is that Kyoto is full of beautiful natural places. For example, beautiful rivers and mountains. Therefore, people can use pure water to make Japanese sake. Furthermore, Kizakura produces and sells not only Japanese sake but also cosmetics. Women can feel attached to Kizakura. Nowadays, there’s a Japanese sake boom in Japan. Therefore, everyone will drink it more in the future.

 

 

You feel like going to Kizakura, don’t you?

If so, LET’S TRY IT!!

Kyoyasai and Isoya Group

by Mayu Matsumoto, Sae Kawabata and Mayumi Otsuka

Kyoyasai is a general term for all local vegetables that are cultivated in Kyoto. In Japanese, ‘kyo’ stands for ‘Kyoto’, while ‘yasai’ means vegetables. What qualifies as kyoyasai, as opposed to just a normal vegetable has developed with each passing year. At present, there are 35 vegetables that qualify as kyoyasai. And in order for a restaurant to describe their food with the term ‘kyoyasai’, it must meet the following conditions.

  1. The vegetable must have been introduced in the Meiji era.
  2. It must be cultivated all throughout Kyoto Prefecture.
  3. It should contain bamboo shoots, in some form or another.
  4. It must excludes shiitake mushroom and ferns.
  5. It should includes vegetables that were grown or preserved, and extinct varieties.

Vegetables that satisfy these conditions don’t necessarily have to be of a species specific to Kyoto, they just have to be cultivated using methods specific to Kyoto. This would include, for example, Horikawa burdock, Ebiimo (literally, shrimp potato), Kyoto aralia cordata, Kyoto ginger, Kyoto bamboo, and so on.

Isoya Group

Isoya Group

One of the most popular groups of kyoyasai restaurants in Kyoto is the Isoya Group. It is kind of food management company with four strong values.

The first value is original farms. They have farm called Isozumi Farm in Mukou, Kyoto. The company owner grew up on a farm, so he has intimate knowledge of vegetable farming. The dedicated staff grow kyoyasai on these original farms to make customers happy.

The second value is about freshness. It is important to eat vegetables while they are still fresh. Isoya Group employees work hard to limit the time between harvesting and serving the vegetables. Furthermore, employees closely manage ways to keep the vegetables fresh in each restaurant.

The third value is a local farm network. The Isoya Group has cultivated a network of local farms that allow farmers to cooperate with each other. This allows the Isoya Group to always have a fresh supply of not only basic kyoyasai, but also specialty vegetables which may be hard to farm or difficult to find otherwise.

The last value is seasonal kyoyasai. The Isoya Group believes that it is important to eat food that is in season in Japan. Therefore, they make seasonal kyoyasai and cook it in an original way.

The Isoya Group has five restaurants in Kyoto.

Isoya Group Logo

Isozumi

This restaurant’s main food is oden, which is common and popular Japanese food. It contains many ingredients like eggs, white radish, and kelp boiled together in a large pot with a traditional type of Japanese broth called dashi.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-223-5050
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Monday)
HP: http://isozumi.isozumi.jp/

Onikai

This restaurant offers many kinds of boiled kyoyasai food like oden, tempura, and nabe, which are typical homemade foods in Japan. Also, nabe is similar to oden, but offers more varieties.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city second floor
Tel: 075-223-5052
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Thursday)
HP: http://onikai.isozumi.jp

Isoya

This restaurant offers many kinds of baked kyoyasai food. Many of their dishes contain salt, miso and some kind of sauce dipped into which you can dip your kyoyasai. Furthermore, they pay close attention to their baking methods and fire temperatures.

Address: 4215, Shimomaruyacho, Kiyamachi line, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Radicle Matsuya building 1F
Tel: 075-212-5039
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isoya.isozumi.jp

Isomatsu

This restaurant make kyoyasai food that pairs well with wine, as it is prepared in an Italian or French style. There are also big wine sellers, so you can enjoy many kinds of wine along with many kinds of kyoyasai food.

Address: 384, Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-255-1239
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isomatsu.isozumi.jp

ISOISM

ISOISM

ISOISM is a restaurant serving many kinds of marinated kyoyasai vegetables. For example, you can eat eggplant marinated in soy sauce, celery marinated in orange sauce , and tomato marinated in white wine. These dishes are unique and original, and are enjoyed by both Japanese and foreigners alike.

Like other restaurants from the Isoya Group, the vegetables served in ISOISM are grown on organic farms and are pesticide-free. Therefore, this restaurant is famous for its originality and safety.

Lunch at ISOISM

Lunch at ISOISM

ISOISM offers a lunch plate of marinated vegetables. You can eat up to 12 marinated vegetables, each of which has good effects on the health of your body. For example, you can eat sweet potato marinated with honey and lemon, and topped with cream cheese and nuts. The effect of this meal is improvement of your intestinal environment. Another one is pumpkin marinated with sweet soy sauce and cheese. The effect is hormonal adjustment and body rejuvenation. A third one is onion marinated with sake and salmon roe. The effect is to speed up the metabolism. Additionally, you can eat seasonal takikomi-gohan and soup. Takikomi-gohan is boiled rice seasoned with soy sauce and mixed with meat or seafood and savory vegetables. In this way you are able to experience the Japanese seasons and you can enjoy Japanese culture in this restaurant.

But be warned: ISOISM is famous, so you should get appointment beforehand.

ISOISM
Adress: 114, Nakai-sho, Karasumanishiiru, Shichijo-line, Gekyo-ku, Kyoto city.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Kyoto station
Tel: 075-353-5016 ( You can get appointment, if you tell this number.)
Time: Lunch(11:30-15:00) Dinner(17:30-24:00)
HP: http://isoism.isozumi.jp

As you can see, there are many restaurants in Kyoto using Kyoyasai. If you are not sure which restaurant is best for you, we recommend you to go Isoya group restaurants. They have the most enthusiasm toward serving kyoyasai dishes, and they also have the famous omotenashi spirit which makes Japanese hospitality an unforgettable experience. Since their restaurants are sometimes full of customers, we recommend you call ahead and check availability before you visit.

Restaurant Touyoutei

by Maya Kondo, Shiori Iwawaki & Eri Inaba

In Japan, we call hamburgers ‘hamburgers’, but there is no good English word for hanba-gu, unless you include ‘Hamberg Steak’ or ‘Salisbury Steak’. Hanba-gu is made from minced meat, onions, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Actually, the word hanba-gu is not English, but rather came from the name of a city in Germany: Hamberg. In Japan, the hanba-gu is a very popular food for people of all ages and there are many shops serving it in Japan. However, the most delicious hanba-gu shop in Kyoto is called, Touyotei. Touyotei is loved by many Japanese people because it has a long history and offer its customers a wide variety of delicious food. The head restaurant/office is a 4-minute walk from Kitayama subway station.

In the 30th year of the Meiji Period (1897), Takahashi Ginjiro served western cuisine at the restaurant of a hotel in the Kawaramachi district of Kyoto city. At that time, western foods were too expensive for the average citizen to afford, so he wanted them to know how wonderful foods these were. On the 21st of December, 1966, he opened his own restaurant, called Kyapitaru Touyoutei in the Kitayama district of Kyoto. When he ran the restaurant in Kitayama, there were no buildings around it. A few years later, however, because of the new subway line reaching Kitayama, many buildings were constructed and many people come to the area. Touyoutei then became one of the most popular restaurants in Kyoto. In 1996, 100 years had passed since Mr. Ginjiro had opened the restaurant. Therefore, he decided to open his second restaurant near Kyoto station in 1997. In 1998, he started serving Tsutsumiyaki hanba-gu (see image below), which has been the most popular dish in the restaurant. In 1999, concerned that the restaurant was a fire hazard, he decided to renovate the restaurant. From 2008 to present, he wanted everyone to know how delicious his meals were, so he opened 7 more restaurants in Kyoto and Osaka. Nowadays, people come to Touyoutei, not only for eating meals, but also for using it as a meeting place. Every location is easy to visit. Furthermore, their aim is to become the number one restaurant serving delicious hanba-gu so that every customer can be satisfied with not only the food but also the atmosphere inside the restaurant.

In Touyotei, there are many good employees because the recruiter for this restaurant chooses the staff carefully. When they choose the employees, they prefer people who like to eat food and talk to people. Moreover, one of the representatives of the company that we spoke with, named Takahashi, said that even if they never held a dish or used a knife, it is fine. More important things are being honest, cheerful, bright, and not being afraid to take on new challenges. Therefore, in Touyotei, every staff member is always doing their best when they work. Moreover, the staff is always thinking of the customer satisfaction first. Mr. Takahashi explained that he wants the employee to grow on a personal level. Touyotei is the place where both the customer and employee can smile and become happy. This is because the behavioral guidelines are to be an employee who is always trying their best. To be this kind employee, they should always reflect on their actions and appreciate everything. Moreover, it is important to identify their strong points and make use of their good points. One more important point about Touyoutei is to make a fashionable and fun space for the customer. Moreover, Touyotei always thinks about the ingreditents of the food, its taste and good service for the customer. Touyoutei’s goal from now on is to have more fans and to create a lively, fun and delicious experience for them.

Tsutsumiyaki hanba-gu

At Touyoutei, the hamburger steak is the most popular dish. It is said that if you come this restaurant, you must order this dish. This hamburger steak is like Salisbury steak. When we order it, the chef grills ground beef and pork. After that, beef stew sauce, hamburger steak, and stewed beef are wrapped in aluminium foil. When the dish is brought to us, the aluminium foil collapses with tasty smell. The moment we open the aluminium foil by ourselves, the smell will hit us strongly. Be careful though! When opening the aluminum foil, some customers risk being splattered with beef stew sauce, so don’t go there with your favorite white clothes. Not only hamburg, but also a side of grilled potato is popular for some customers.

Also, we recommend the whole tomato salad because it is very popular as well. When we entered the restaurant, we saw many boxes of lots of tomatoes. Of course, these tomatoes are used to make tomato salad, and the tomatoes change with each season. This restaurant always uses the most tasty tomatoes, regardless of the area of production. In this way, we can eat tasty tomato salad any time of the year. In fact, this tomoto salad is served as a whole tomato, literally. Normally, we don’t have opportunity of eating a whole tomato, but in this restaurant, we can. This tomato is submerged in hot water for 5 minutes and then placed in cold water. The tomato with peeling skin is arranged on a tuna and onion salad. Finally, on top of it all, a special dressing is placed. This dressing is made by the chef for the tomato, so the name of dressing is ‘dressing for only tomato’. This dressing is said to not fit with vegetables without tomatoes. It tastes a little vinegary and oily. We can buy this dressing in the restaurant for about 610 yen.

picture3 puddingFinally, one more popular item on the menu is a sweet called ‘one hundred puddings’. This pudding was created by the first founder of the restaurant and made with simple ingredients. For this reason, many guests feel nostalgic and like it. When we order ‘one hundred puddings’, the staff brings a cup of pudding and a plate, and then they turn the cup of pudding upside down on th eplate. When we visit this restaurant, we can enjoy this performance.

In conclusion, Hanba-gu is made from minced meat, onions, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. It is very popular food in Japan. In 1998, Takahashi Ginjiro started serving hamba-gu for the first time in Japan, and it became popular. We want you to try touyoutei hanba-gu when you go to the restaurant.

Kamishichiken and its shops

by Riho Miyagi, Akane Mukai and Yuuka Yamazaki

 

Kyoto has a lot of popular sightseeing spots, for example, Kinkakuji-temple (金閣寺), Kiyomizu-temple (清水寺), and Fushimiinari-shrine (伏見稲荷大社). Speaking of famous places, do you know any essential and passionate places in Kyoto?

 

What is Kamishichiken?

Kamishichiken” is a district of northwest Kyoto. It is the oldest of the five hanamachi  in Kyoto and located east of the Kitano Tenmangu-shrine. Local people pronounce it as “Kamihichiken”. In Kanji, it means “Seven Upper Houses”. In the Muromachi Period, seven teahouses were built from tools and material leftover from the rebuilding of the Kitano Tenmangu-Shrine. Kamishichiken has many traditional wooden buildings, some of which are teahouses or geisha houses. There are approximately 25 maiko and geiko in Kamishichiken now and they entertain in 10 teahouses in Kamishichiken. It is located in Kyoto’s Nishijin area, which is famous for traditional textiles.

 

The Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater

The Kamishichiken kaburenjo theater, considered by many to be the main symbol of this small Geiko district, is one of the few remaining wooden theaters. The Kamishichiken kaburenjo is the largest building in Kamishichiken. It is known for the performances of Maiko. Maiko learn and practice their songs and dances here every day. Their performance takes 1.5 hours. There are 20 performers dressed in kimono. This dance performance was first held as Kitano Odori in March 1952, to commemorate the 1050th year anniversary of Sugawara-no-Michizane’s death. He was a highly ranked court noble to whom Kitano Tenmangu shrine is dedicated. It also featured the tea ceremony, where Geisha prepare bowls of Japanese tea and sweets. The performance is considered as both elite and tasteful. The Kitano Odori performance opens on March 25th and ends April 17th. In addition, from July 1st until August 31st, a beer garden is open to the public at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre and offers unique chance to be served by maiko and geiko.

 

Shops near kamishichiken

The area around Kitano Tenman-gu shrine has lots of wonderful shops and cafés. I recommend you try shaved ice with real fruit syrup in summer time at KONOHANA.  At another shop, YUSURAGO, yuzu-flavored ice is very popular. Yuzu is a fruit. produced by a tree belonging to the Citrus family and is similar to oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit.. Another area shop is MAEDA, which is famous for baby sponge cake. Baby sponge cake can be eaten in all seasons and can be brought back home. If you want to eat Japanese sweets I recommend TENZINDO. This shop serves rice cakes, one for only 100 yen, so it’s very reasonably priced. And I really want to recommend NERIYA HACHIBE. This shop is famous for bracken-starch cake. This cake comes in two flavors: kinako (soybean flour) and matcha (powdered green tea). Matcha is now popular throughout the world, so you should try it. Kyoto is famous for tofu (soy bean curd) and yuba (bean curd skin). If you want to try one of these I really recommend TOYOUKE CHAYA. This shop is famous for tofu and yuba. you can enjoy traditional Japanese flavors at these shops.

 

Kamishichiken is not as famous as other hanamachi, but there are many interesting and fantastic shops here. Once you go, you can absolutely feel the core of Kyoto culture.

 

Tsukemono

by Sakina Nishitsuji, Nami Shinkado and Shiho Tojo

We will introduce about tsukemono. Tsukemono are Japanese-style pickles. Vegetables are pickled in salt, rice brain, miso or sake lees. They are served with rice as a side dish and with drinks as a snack. Tsukemono are beloved by many people in Japan. You can buy them pretty much everywhere in Japan. If you go to a supermarket, you will find them. There are various kinds. For example, takuan (daikon), umeboshi (ume plum), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage are among the favorites to be eaten with rice as an accompaniment to a meal. Some Japanese people make tsukemono by themselves. The easiest way of making tsukemono is just putting the vegetables with salt into a Ziploc bag. Roughly cut some vegetables of your choice and put them in a Ziploc bag, then add salt and kelp dashi stock and shake the bag. You release the air from the bag to make a lightly vacuum state in the bag and then stick it in the refrigerator for one or two hours. It is complete. This recipe for this preparation is simple but the tsukemono are delicious. Tsukemono are also popular with foreigners, not just Japanese people. And Kyoto has many specialty shops of tsukemono, so you can buy some kinds of tsukemono at Kyoto. It is really great for souvenirs. Tsukemono is known by most people, but they may not know the particulars about tsukemono. Tsukemono has a long history. So, below, we will introduce about the history of tsukemono, three major tsukemono outlets in Kyoto, and how to make tsukemono.

History of Tsukemono in Japan

Tsukemono have a long history in Japan.  Japan is surrounded by the seas, and it was a longstanding practice that food was preserved in salt or with salt water. Not only vegetables but also nuts, meat and fish were preserved with salt in order times. The origin of the tsukemono is not known for sure. However, when vegetables were not yet farmed, it is possible that people soaked the edible wild plants such as Japanese parsley or the bracken in seawater.

We do know that Chinese also used salt to preserve food. It was written that there was something like tsukemono in the old book called by the Chinese, “Shurei“. From 2000 years ago, it is said that a method to preserve food in salt was performed. As the times advanced, the tsukemono developed more, but came to be called “pickled vegetables” because the fragrance of the tsukemono improved when the Muromachi Era began, in 1336, by fermenting. Not only were tsukemono liked as side dishes and the tea cake of the meal, but also pickled plums came to be used in the sterilization of the wounds in the battlefield to prevent bacterial infection and blood poisoning. The Muromachi Era was an age of civil strife. And in Edo era, beginning in 1603, the tsukemono shop called the pickled vegetables shop appeared. From this era, tsukemono came to be eaten by the people at large. In addition, the kinds of vegetables grown in Japan increased, and during the Edo Era, beginning in 1603, many merchants came from all over the country to study some techniques and innovations in seasoning and how to make tsukemono. In the Meiji Era, beginning in 1868, Takuanduke and Naraduke became the important side business in the farmhouses in the suburbs of major cities, including Tokyo. During Taisho Era, from 1912, and the Showa Era, from 1926, the pickle manufacturing industry developed into a major commercial business. Recently, an important point is focus on the health. Fermented foods, according to recent scientific research, are important for intestinal health. That information made tsukemono even more desirable all over Japan.

 

Three Popular Varieties of Tsukemono

There are 3 famous kinds of tsukemono in Kyoto. One is Shiba-zuke. Shiba-zuke are made of eggplant, perilla leaves and cucumber pickled in natural lactic fermentation. Shiba-zuke vegetables are sprinkled with salt and are matured in a barrel for some months. Shiba-zuke was first made in the latter half of Edo period, about 300 to 150 years ago. A second kind of popular pickled vegetables is senmai-zuke. It is pickled turnip. Senmai-zuke which are sold in supermarkets are traditional pickles in Kyoto and are produced by marinating paper-thin slices of turnips with pieces of kelp, red peppers and vinegar. The third type of pickles is Suguki-zuke. Suguki-zuke is made of suguki, a kind of tunip, pickled with its own leaves. It is a kind of pickle which preserves both the leaf and the root of the Brassica campestris in salt. It features clear acidity. Recently, it gradually has become famous as a health food around the world. These pickles are called three best tsukemono in Kyoto.

The Old Tsukemono Shops of Kyoto

“Kyotsukemono” or Kyoto style Tsukemono includes various kinds of pickles. Pickles are available in many places but there are 5 famous old shops in Kyoto which still the. The first is Daitou. It is the shop which is the birthplace of the senmai-zuke. This shop was built in 1865. It has long history for about 150 years. Senmai-zuke is very popular in Daitou. The reason is rich taste. The second shop is Murakamiju. It is the shop which became the model of the pickle shop when it appeared in the NHK drama “Kyohutari” broadcast in 1990. The third shop is Akaoya. This shop is the oldest of them all. It was built in 1699. It has been making pickles and history for over 300 years. Pickles in Akaoya are made with a moderate amount of salt. The next shop is Narita. It is famous for suguki-zuke. It was built in 1804. The traditional taste continues now. Finally, there is Kinse. This shop was built in 1764. There are various pickles in Kinse. At Kinse, they do not use any preservatives or additives. On the other hand, this shop also makes an effort in new product development.

In conclusion, tsukemono were called the Chinese “Shurei” in long time ago.

After having passed for years, that name changed from “Shurei” to “pickled vegetables”, and it gradually became famous in Japan. Nowadays, many people buy tsukemono. There are 3 famous tsukemono, Shiba-zuke, senmai-zuke, and suguki-zuke in Kyoto. Speciality shops of tsukemono are long established businesses in Kyoto. For example, Daitou, Murakamiju, and Kinse.  These shops are very popular among Japanese people and foreigners. If you want to eat tsukemono, we recommend that you visit Kyoto.

Cafe

By Shiho Tojo, Nami Shinkado and Sakina Nishitsuji

A cafe is a type of restaurant which usually serves coffee and snacks.

The term “cafe” comes from French, and means “coffee”. A cafe is sometimes called a coffeehouse or a coffee shop in English. A Japanese person opened a coffee specialty shop in Japan. It hired barista. A barista stands at the counter of the bar, and receives orders from visitors, and pours the coffee or espresso. That style is known by most people. The famous shop is Starbucks. It is also popular all over the world. In some countries, cafe is closer to restaurants, because cafe is able to provide customers with hot meals, and alcohol. However, British cafes do not sell alcohol. In Japan, the first coffee shop was opened at the end of the Meiji period at Minou city in Osaka. Cafes have improved year by year. There are many cafes all over the world. If you want to relax sometimes, you can go to a cafe and relax there. You can talk with your partner or friends in the cafe. Recently, people can pick up a lot of new information from SNS. People take nice pictures, and post them on the Internet. Especially, Instagram can be connected to many people. We would like to introduce some cafes  in Kyoto. These are really talked about cafes now in SNS.

MACCHA HOUSE

MACCHA HOUSE is one of the most famous cafes in Kyoto. It was built recently. Customers have to wait for about 2 hours every day, because it has a matrix in front of shop. The shop is really popular in Kyoto among young people. MACCHA HOUSE recommends maccha tiramisu to customers. They also seek it. It is really delicious and give a fun impression. Its price is 500 yen. So you can eat it for a reasonable cost. There are many items on the menu as well as maccha tiramisu. For example, green tea, ho-ji cha tiramisu, and maccha parfait. If you visit Kyoto, you should visit MACCHA HOUSE, and eat maccha tiramisu with your friends.

Location

It is near Kawaramachi station. It takes about 3 minutes by walking from exit 3B.

JOUVENCELLE

This cafe is one of the famous cafes in Kyoto.  JOUVENCELLE was built on Oike-street at the time of the Gion Festival in 1988. JOUVENCELLE means “maiden” in French. This cafe uses the seasonal ingredients. This cafe reserves many Japanese confectioneries to customers. It is very popular as an experience of Kyoto.

Location

It is near Karasumaoike station. It is about a two minute walk from exit 1.

GREEN TEA FONDUE

Green tea fondue is the most popular sweet in this cafe. The other popular dishes are pound cake, Dango and other Japanese sweets. Another dish is banana, strawberry, baked orange, sweet potato and Warabi-Mochi. A popular drink served here is chocolate flavored with green tea. It is a little hot and smells of green. Bitterness of the powdered green tea offset the sweetness of the chocolate.
It looks beautiful and cute. So, this cafe is very famous among young people. Green tea fondue is about 1500 yen. You can enjoy eating it.

Location

This cafe is about 100 meters south of south tower gate of Yasaka.

IPPODO-CAFE

Ippodo is a famous shop of Japanese tea in Kyoto. It sells just Japanese tea. Tea is good for the health. Every year, the flavor of tea changes with the temperature. However, this cafe blends their tea so that the taste does not change. In addition, to its café, Ippodo has a classroom and a shop. Classes are held at Ippodo. People can learn how to drink tea with proper manners and rituals, and learn about Japanese tea more deeply. Ippodo-cafe is in the head office. Everyone makes tea by himself or herself in this cafe. Customers can order green tea, gyokuro, gen-tea, ho-ji tea and genmai-tea. These Japanese teas all have different tastes. Each tea has a different level of bitterness. The important points are how to drink, temperature, quantity of the tea leaf and time to brew. Ippodo’s staff tell the customers how to make each tea. People can drink tea with Japanese sweets. You can go with family or friends or just by yourself. There is a menu in English, for the convenience of foreign visitors to Kyoto who come to this cafe. So, foreign people can have a good time. This cafe also has take-out available. The design of the take-out cup is so cute. If you ever visit Kyoto, I recommend visiting Ippodo.

Location

Ippodo is near Kyoto Shiyakushomae Station. It takes about 5 minutes to walk there from the station. There are some antique stores and galleries on this street and people can feel Kyoto.

There are many cafes in Kyoto. Sightseeing spots in Kyoto have many green tea shops. That is because Kyoto is really famous for Maccha within Japan. Particularly popular are Maccha HOUSE, JOUVENCELLE, and Ippodo. Maccha HOUSE is famous for Maccha tiramisu. JOUVENCELLE is famous for green tea fondue, Ippodo is famous for Japanese tea. As for the popular key points, desserts of those cafes are not only tasty but also beautiful to look at. The appearance of these shops is fashionable and there are English menus for foreign tourists.
Nowadays, Maccha is popular all over the world. Maccha is green tea powder. Japanese green tea can be bought from some supermarkets, vending machines, and also in most Japanese tea shops. Recently, Japanese green tea is becoming well known around the world. Japanese green tea shops became famous in Twitter and Instagram. Many people visit cafes in Kyoto and eat a dessert made of Maccha. They also take a stylish picture of food and put down that photo on SNS. After that some other people see that picture on SNS. The popularity of these cafes has spread a lot thanks to SNS.
However, you must line up for approximately two hours on weekdays if you want to visit there, thanks to the popularity. This is a problem caused by popularity and widespread use of SNS. However, people never stop lining up. In this way, the cafe of Kyoto is popular with people from around the world who are able to feel at ease, and able to enjoy an atmosphere only in Kyoto. It is pleasant to visit the cafe of Kyoto on an occasion of the sightseeing of Kyoto. Please try and go.

Kyo-yuzen

by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa, and Kanako Wakamatsu

You can see Kimono (old style Japanese clothes) all over Japan, but especially in Kyoto. Kimonos have many different patterns and colors, but do you know how many of them are actually designed? Well, the designs on kimonos are often achieved by dyeing, using a method known as Kyo-yuzen. Here, we would like to introduce some aspects of this unique dyeing method.

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Kimono

1. History of Japanese dyeing methods

2. What is Kyo-yuzen?

3. How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen

4. Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries

5. Actual experience of Kyo-yuzen

History of Japanese dyeing methods

There have been a lot of dyeing methods used in Japan over the years, and most of these were developed from Chinese dyeing types. These were introduced to Japan several thousand years ago, and taught by people from China or Korea, they formed the basis of Japanese dyeing tradition. Before this people dyed clothes very simply by applying different types of grass, flowers or even mud. In the Asuka era, in the middle of the 6th century, there was a system developed that divided people by the color of the clothes they wore. This was to distinguish between class and status, and required greater use of color in fabrics and design. In addition, in the Nara era, in the 8th century, international trade was increased, which meant further diversification in dyeing methods were introduced and spread all over Japan, with each area developing its own style. One of the most famous of these was Kyo-yuzen, a dyeing method created in Kyoto that became hugely popular. Next, we would like to introduce this unique and beautiful, traditional Japanese item.

What is Kyo-yuzen?

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Kyo-yuzen

Kyo-yuzen is one of the dyeing methods developed in Kyoto during the Edo era of the mid to late 17th century. At that time, there was an artist in Kyoto by the name of Miyazaki Yuzensai, who had built a reputation for the exquisitely drawn folding fans he produced.  Due to this, his patrons soon began to encourage him to apply his artistic skills to designs for kimono, too, which he did.  Following this, his name quickly came to be associated with top class kimono design in Kyoto, hence the name that was given to this particular dyeing style, Kyo-yuzen.

There are some interesting features unique to Kyo-yuzen that need to be noted.  First, it is possible to apply any kind of design you want, just like drawing a picture.  Second, there are many colors and hues used in the production of Kyo-yuzen pieces.  Third, a technique using elements of glutinous rice is used to guard against colors mixing or merging together.  Finally, Kyo-yuzen is done by combining more than one dyeing method, and requires several steps to achieve a final result.  Through this, Kyo-yuzen is quite superior to other dyeing methods and has become very popular all over the world.

Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries

As we said before, Kyo-yuzen is very famous globally.  For example, some events involving Japanese culture have been held recently in Paris, and there are sales booths for Kyo-yuzen products set up there.  At the booths, stainless steel mugs that are made in cooperation between Japanese Kyo-yuzen craftpersons and craftpersons in Paris are sold, and these are also available in Eigamura, a very famous sightseeing spot in Kyoto. Selling a large number of these mugs means expanding the exposure to traditional crafts of Kyoto to people in foreign countries

How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen

There are two main types of dyeing method used for Kyo-yuzen. One of these is hand painting, and the other is using stencils. First, we will explain the hand painting method:

  1. Think of the design you want for the cloth and make a design pattern  
  2. Trace the design onto the cloth
  3. Apply the special glue ② to prevent the colors from mixing with each other (this is called Itomenorioki)
  4. Apply the colors to the cloth
  5. Steam the cloth
  6. Wash the cloth
  7. Steam the cloth again and stretch out the wrinkles
  8. Using a stencil, draw the design onto special Japanese paper and cut out the pattern to make the stencil
  9. Paste the cloth onto a wooden board that is called “Yuzen-Ita”
  10. Put ① onto ② and dye
  11. Same as ⑤~⑦ of hand painting method

Actual experience of Kyo-yuzen

In Kyoto, visitors can actually experience Kyo-yuzen at some special studios.  Participants can experience dyeing cloth items like handkerchiefs, wrapping cloths, and so on.  One session is usually about one and a half hours long, and costs between 1,500 yen and 2,500 yen. Therefore, you can experience a traditional craft of Kyoto easily, and after the lesson, you can take the Kyo-yuzen item that you made with your own hands home with you.

Japanese dyeing methods have continued to develop over the centuries, and Kyo-yuzen especially. This method was created by combining a lot of different dyeing methods, which have been improved upon over time, and have become famous all over the world.  You can buy Kyo-yuzen items in many places in Kyoto, and you can also make them by yourself.  Why not give it a try!  

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Kyo-yuzen studio

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Kyo-yuzen items

One of the studios where you can experience Kyo-yuzen is “Marumasu-Nishimuraya” in Kyoto city.

Here’s their website:   http://www.marumasu-nishimuraya.co.jp/

You can reserve an experience time and get the access details there.

Doi-Master Picklers Of Kyoto

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Have you ever tried Japanese style pickles? If you imagine they are like foreign pickles, you would be wrong, because they are very different. Nowadays, there are many pickles in the supermarket, but the pickles in this shop are much nicer compared to them. “Doi no Shibazuke” (Doi’s Pickles) might be the perfect Kyoto souvenir for your relatives or friends.

 

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Doi-master pickles shop

Doi no Shibazuke is one of the most well-known pickle making companies, and is famous for its shibazuke. It has a very long history and has been loved by many people for years.  The company was founded in Ohara, Kyoto, in 1901.  Ohara is a famous red perilla (Japanese basil) growing area, and is the birthplace of shibazuke, which are pickled summer vegetables.

 

Mr.Doi

Mr.Doi

The first CEO of the company wanted many people to know about shibazuke, so he founded this company there, first of all selling tsukemono (regular pickles) just in front of the family home. After years of struggle, they finally managed to build the main store in Ohara, and thereafter opened more branches, one after the other, throughout Kyoto.  Now, they currently have 15 stores including a sub-branch in a department store. There are also branches in 6 other prefectures: Osaka, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Fukuoka, and Kagoshima.  This company has only had five presidents in its history, and the current Mr. Doi is the 5th CEO of the firm.  He has worked at Doi no Shibazuke as a staff member since he graduated college, and in 2001, when the company celebrated its 100th anniversary, he was inaugurated as the new CEO.

 

 

Doi no Shibazuke has their own farm for growing perilla leaf, and the reason for this is that they can have greater control over the taste of the product. They grow perilla leaf from seed, so they can have the same level of quality year on year.  They don’t use agricultural chemicals to grow their perilla and use a cultivation method that is more than 800 years old.  From June to July is generally the season for growing perilla leaf, but they extend their growing beyond this to make sure they can provide more pickles. DSC_0704

Importantly, Doi’s way of making shibazuke is to use eggplants only, and not cucumber. A cheaper way to make shibazuke is to use cucumber instead of eggplant because it reduces the cost and the process is easier, but Doi insist on eggplant for the sake of quality.

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First they get the best eggplants from their partner farms. Secondly, they use a machine to chop the eggplant into smaller pieces.  Thirdly, the employees hop into a big wooden barrel containing the eggplant, fine perilla leaves and salt, and then tread the mixture

with their feet, just like they do with grapes for wine making. The reason they tread the eggplant mixture is to help retain the taste and smell of the vegetable.  If they don’t tread it, the good smell will disseminate and the great taste of the perilla will not be mixed in.

Finally, the mixture, along with added ginger, is packed into a wooden barrel and left to ferment for around one month, with a large stone placed on the barrel lid to seal everything in.  Every year, this company makes 120 huge wooden barrels full of pickles and keeps them for shipment.  Overall, they produce an average of 200 tons of pickles in a year, so in the busy period they can make up to one ton of pickles a day.

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So where can you buy them? Doi no Shibazuke has 6 shops in Kyoto, and they are also sold in department stores in Japan, so you should be able to locate them easily.  If you do have a problem hunting them down though, you can also buy them on the Internet. (http://www.doishibazuke.co.jp/)

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The best 3 tsukemono are; shibazuke (475 yen), senmaizuke, which is made from radish and tastes slightly sweet (691 yen), and assorted tsukemono, which offers a variety of different pickles (2,025 yen).   When you buy pickles on the internet, there are some different assortments that are very special and cost around 4,000 or 5,000 yen.  We are sure if you buy these for your family or friends they will be really happy.  The shop manager also told us a good way to eat pickles is to put them on a cracker with some cheese.  Japanese pickles also go well with pasta as a topping, and some match well with certain wines.

 

Japanese pickles are not like foreign pickles, and this company is a much nicer shop compared to other shops. They have their own farm, grow their own perilla leaves, and make pickles on the premises.  If you plan to come to Kyoto, we really recommend you visit and buy some pickles at Doi no Shibazuke – an Ohara and Kyoto tradition.

(permission to use photos given by Mr. Doi)

 

 

 

Kyoto BAL

By Yumika Fujii, Erika Wada & Konomi Shimbashi

frontThere are many shopping stores in the Kawaramachi shopping district in downtown Kyoto. The name of the district comes from Kawaramachi-dori, which is one of the main streets running north and south in Kyoto city. People who live in Kyoto and Kansai call the entire area ‘Kawaramachi’. There are many popular places in Kawaramachi, such as big amusement arcades, fast food shops, fashion buildings, department stores and so on. In addition, there are some famous places, such as Gion and Yasaka Shrine near Kawaramachi, so you can go there on foot. Both young people and elderly people can enjoy themselves in Kawaramachi because there are many traditional souvenir shops and modern restaurants. But among those, one historical place to shop is an impressive building called Kyoto BAL. The Kyoto BAL building has a long history of about 40 years, and a lot of people have loved it for a long time. However, recently it closed for 2-and-a-half years in order to rebuild and change the concept of the store.

Kyoto BAL

The BAL has two stores in Japan: in Kyoto and Hyogo. The Kyoto BAL is located just south of the intersection of Kawaramachi Street and Sanjo Street, on the east side of Kawaramachi. There are 8 floors, 2 in the basement and 6 above the ground, including 33 shops. Kyoto BAL was first built in November, 1970, as a building devoted to fashion-related shops that has a lot of attractive merchandise. Therefore, many people come to shop at BAL and they have loved it for a long time.  The original concept of BAL is the place where a lot of people can get together, like a party in France.

Recently, BAL has been closed down for renovation. The purpose was not only to change its appearance, but also its interior and concept. The result was a business space that three generations of parent, child, and grandparent can enjoy together. For example, there is the Café and Meal MUJI on the fourth floor, which is a café where you can enjoy the natural flavor of vegetables or fruits. This would be attractive to parents and grandparents. Children, on the other hand, can enjoy the colorful goods at Flying Tiger Copenhagen of Kyoto BAL annex, which is also located on Kawaramachi-dori. There is also the Tiger SpilBar on the third floor, where you can enjoy playing table tennis, table soccer, the board games, and so on. In addition, people can drink a glass of beer or a cup of coffee, so adults can enjoy it, too.

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The Appearance and The Interior

The appearance and the interior was significantly changed in 2015. The inner and outer appearance of the BAL is like a traditional American luxury hotel. The floor is made of wood, and the aisles is quite wide. In addition, there are many windows on each floor, giving a bright and expansive feeling to customers when they shop. Furthermore, a lot of sofas are set around the elevator hall, near the escalator, and also inside the shops on each floor so that customers can take a rest while shopping. Especially, the restroom for women on the 4th floor is bigger than any other, and is based on a beautiful white space, giving it a European atmosphere.

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Maruzen Bookstore

For many years, the book store called Maruzen was a Kyoto BAL mainstay. However, it disappeared from the BAL building in the mid-2000s for about 10 years. Fortunately, however, the historic Maruzen bookstore is back in the Kyoto BAL again. Maruzen is famous for the novel, Lemon (檸檬), written by Motojirou Kajii (梶井基次郎).   Motojirou Kajii was born on February 17th, 1901 in Osaka, and his life ended when he was only 30-years-old. He was a Japanese novelist, and he continued to write a lot of novels while he struggled with disease. Therefore, he is the one of the most famous novelists because he wrote a novel which combined the sensory with the perceptual. It is said that the famous novel, Lemon, is one of his masterpieces. In the novel, Maruzen is one of the featured locations. For this reason, Maruzen and Lemon will forever be intertwined.

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Maruzen was first built in 1872 and then relocated to Sanjo Street in 1907. After that it was relocated in its current spot in 1940, but in 2005 it closed down. During its existence, many fans of the novel, Lemon, put real lemons in front of the Maruzen while they felt sad. And now that is back in new Kyoto BAL, it is bigger than ever, spanning both the 1st and 2nd floors of the basement including a cafeteria where people can taste Lemon cake. Also, it features about 1 million Japanese books, including manga (comic) and study-aid books, and about 70 thousand foreign books. In additional, it has not only books, but also writing materials. Now that Maruzen is back, Lemon fans can once again put out real lemons when they feel sad.   As you can see, although there are many shops in the Kawaramachi district of Kyoto, it is Kyoto BAL that is one of the most historic and attractive buildings in the area. If you visit Kyoto, why don’t you go to Kyoto BAL and enjoy your time with family and friends.

Access to the Kyoto BAL

251 Yamazaki-cho, Kawaramachi-Sanjo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, KYOTO, Japan   You can go there by taxi easily, if you tell this address to a taxi driver. It takes seven minutes on your foot from Kawaramachi station, Hankyu It takes eight minutes on your foot from Sanjo station, Keihan It takes five minutes on your foot from Shijo Kawaramachi, bus stop of Kyoto City Bus.

Candy Culture in Kyoto

by Akane Kitakido and Narumi Kitagawa

Candy has been loved by Japanese people for many generations, and is a great representation of traditional Japanese culture. Most people might imagine that candy is a solid, sweet, and circular thing. However, Japanese candy used to be in liquid form for a long time, and people used to use candy as a kind of seasoning. These interesting facts are reflected by the origin of candy in Japan.

One of the main ingredients of traditional Japanese candy was liquid from ivy, so it was mostly a sweet syrup. For this reason, candy was used as not only a sweet seasoning, but also as a precious source of nutrients. After refined sugar came to Japan from abroad, the candy culture quickly developed. At that time, it was considered to be a classy and expensive food.

In Kyoto, a unique way to enjoy candy appeared. It was called sculptured candy. It is said that a candy craftsman made a special red and white colored candy to present as an offering to a temple. Gradually, many craftsmen competed in the design and beauty of their sculptured candy with creative ideas. Even now, sculptured candy is developing more and more in wonderful ways, and some of them capture the eyes – and tongues – of the world.

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Kinds of Candy

The single word ‘candy’ covers many shapes when it comes to Japanese candy. The most basic one is called tamamono. Sometimes people call it tamaame or teppoutama. ‘Tama’ means ‘sphere’ in Japanese. When we hear the word ‘candy’, everyone will imagine this spherical, round candy. There are single colored ‘tamamono’, which come in six or seven different colors. The most colorful one is called temariame because it looks like a temari, which is a traditional Japanese ball used as a toy since the Edo period (1608-1868).

Another kind of candy is kumiame. It comes from the word kumu, which means ‘to assemble’ in Japanese. This candy is made by assembling many kinds of ingredients. In this way, a complicated design like a pattern or flower, or a character’s face can appear on the surface of the candy. By changing the way to we set the candy during production, we can make a lot of designs on each candy. These candies are made from sugar and starch syrup. After stewing at 160 degrees centigrade, flavor and pigment is added, followed by kneading. While it is still hot, it is cut and made into a desired shape.

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A Wonderful Shop: Nanaco Plus+

Nanaco Plus+ is a shop that sells accessories made from traditional Japanese candy. It respects the changing seasons that Japanese people have cherished throughout history to create their unique and modern crafts. Not only candy, but all of the Japanese sweets have sense of seasons because they show the beauty of nature. With this characteristic of Japanese sweets, Nanaco Plus+ has made handicrafts that make it easier for people to love both tradition and the change of seasons. The concept of this shop is “to enjoy seeing, wearing and eating candy,” so it can bring us the fun from traditional to modern candy culture.

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Products of Nanako Plus+

In this unique shop, there are many kinds of products. Accessories like earrings, hair ties, and hair clips are all made with real, traditional Japanese candies like tamamono or kumiame. All of these sweet accessories are really cute and especially they go well with traditional Japanese clothes like yukata or kimono. Not only does Nanaco Plus+ sell candy accessories, they also have charms for bags or smartphones. It might be nice gift for friends or foreign people. They must be surprised if they know that such a cute accessory or charms are made with real candy. These cute and unique products are a great combination of the traditional and modern in Japan.

Interview from Nanaco plus+

We visited this wonderful shop. It is located on a narrow street. Actually, the store is not large, but it was packed with people anyway. Not only young people, but also older people were enjoying seeing the products of nanako plus+.

Unfortunately, taking photos is banned inside the shop, but we were still able to talk with the clerks. They said their belief is in the importance of continuing something with creativity. “We hope to express the traditions of Japan through our products,” they said. They also said that recently they had opened a store in Tokyo, so now more foreign people are interested in their products. They were very happy about it.

During our visit, we bought a charm and earring there. The charm with green tea candy can be bought only at the Kyoto store.

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Left: piercing 1,296 yen / Right: charm 540yen

 

Access

There are two Nanaco Plus+ shops in Japan, but the main one is in Kyoto. It is near the most popular street in Kyoto: Shijo-Kawaramachi, so visitors from overseas can easily stop by the shop while sightseeing. Moreover, they can feel the tradition of Kyoto culture on the way to Nanaco Plus+. If visitors are unable to visit the shop, they can still order their products online.