January 21, 2014
by Namiho Nakazawa
Sarasa is a café that is well-known by people living in Kyoto, especially young generation. Kyoto has many cafés. Therefore, students often go cafés to eat lunch or dinner. It makes them feel at home while they enjoy the food and atmosphere of the café. It is often inexpensive, too! Sarasa is the one of the best examples of these Kyoto cafés.
The first Sarasa café was built in the early 1980s in the Tomino-koji area of downtown Kyoto. The Sarasa brand now has 7 cafés in Kyoto. To best understand the Sarasa concept, we will take a closer look at one of these 7 cafés: Sarasa Kayu-koji, which was started in 2003.
Sarasa Kayu-koji is built near Teramachi street, a popular shopping arcade in downtown Kyoto. However, the café is not actually on Teramachi street, nor is it easy to find as it is located down a tiny side alley on the second floor of an ordinary building. The entrance is not so big, but the café itself has a special atmosphere.
Most cafés in Kyoto have nice sofas, tables, and other decorations. Sarasa is no exception, as it also has cool furniture, most of which is recycled. That makes for a very pleasant atmosphere. There is a big carp that is made of Japanese paper on the second floor, and that makes this café have a real Kyoto ambience.
The majority of customers at the Kayu-koji branch are university students, young adults, and local employees. One of the main reasons is its good location, which is near a large shopping arcade popular with young people. Also, it is located near several popular department stores, such as Takashimaya, Marui and Fujiidaimar, so staff from these department stores often come to have lunch, as do sales clerks working in stores on Teramachi and Shinkyogoku streets.
As for the food, Sarasa places emphasis on homemade style dishes, which makes the food more delicious. The manager cares about employee well to work comfortably. In this menu, there are salads with meat, original voluminous hamburger steak, donburi and so on. There are many kinds of drink menus like soft drink to alcohol. My favorite drink menu is rose soda. This drink is mixture of rose syrup and soda. I recommend it.
In sum, Café Sarasa Kayu-koji is a great place that have a relaxing time and eat your fill of delicious food.
The Future of Sarasa Kayu-koji
I spoke with the manager of Sarasa Kayu-koji. He cares deeply about the café’s furniture, dishes, staff members, and especially the overall atmosphere. He is constantly trying to make his café better. He wants it to be a lively place. For example, he wants it to be easy for anyone to visit the café, including both Japanese and foreigners. Also, he wants to increase the number of regular customers, so he can see the same faces over and over.
Also, he values the service he and his staff give customers. He is trying to grow the O-MO-TE-NA-SHI of his staff. O-MO-TE-NA-SHI means hospitality in English. He thinks his café will flourish with improved service, more regular customers, more delicious dishes, and better hospitality.
The Manager’s Recommendation
Sarasa offers both lunch-time and dinner-time service. The manager recommends dinner-time for a number of reasons. First, there is a better atmosphere at dinner-time, so guests can enjoy themselves more easily. Second, there is a much more variety of choice at dinner-time. Therefore, it is difficult to choose which is the best meal from the menu. However, the excellent staff will recommend the best dish of the day if you ask them.
Lunch time: 12:00 ~ 15:00
Late lunch: 15:00 ~ 18:00
Dinner: 18:00 ~ 23:00