October 17, 2018
by Rena Tokunaga, Riku Hamaguchi & Maya kondo
Do you know a place called Sujin-Shinmachi? It is a collection of food stands built on a temporary location in downtown Kyoto. It is open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm each day. It is only a five-minute walk from Kyoto station, in the Takakura-shiokoji area. Even if you have too much to drink, it is not a big deal. Don’t worry about it! It is easy to hop on a train and go home.
Sujin-Shinmachi opened on the February 1st, 2018, but is set to close in 2020 because a university campus will be built on the location. The reason why Sujin-Shinmachi was built is because the area is facing a declining birth rate and an aging population. The locals want young people to know how nice this area is and that there are so many things to do there, just like the Shijo area of town several kilometers to the north, which is currently where young Japanese people often hang out.
More About Sujin-Shinmachi
At Sujin-Shinmachi, there are about 15 different food stands offering a variety of food styles, like Japanese, American, Hawaiian, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish, so it is not difficult for you to eat and drink whatever you want. This space is divided into four sections called, 1 cho-me, 2 cho-me, 3 cho-me, and 4 cho-me, each with four different food stands.
But wait! There is more: Would you like to wear kimono while you are in Kyoto? If so, Sujin-Shinmachi is the best place for you to go because there is a kimono rental shop there. They rent out yukata, too, which is like a summer kimono, so visitors can choose to wear kimono or yukata. In the summer, we recommend wearing yukata, while eating and drinking at Sujin-Shinmachi. In this way, you can experience traditional Japanese culture in a fun and delicious way.
The latest food stands at Sujin-Shinmachi are popular with young Japanese people, especially for posting on their their social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. We especially recommend that young people go there, take pictures, and share on their own SNS. They might get a bunch of likes from many people!
Something for Everyone
Not only young people, but also middle-aged adults and elderly people can definitely enjoy Sujin-Shinmachi, too. As we mentioned before, it is near Kyoto station, so many tourists from all over the world go there for dinner, so you enjoy eating, drinking, and talking with an international crowd.
Moreover, Sujin-Shinmachi often holds some events for the purpose of revitalizing the community. For example, kyogen, which means ‘make believe’ or ‘trick’, is the name of a traditional Japanese drama, which is sometimes performed at Sujin-Shinmachi. Also, there are live painting events, in which artists come and paint pictures on a wall as entertainment for customers.
How to Enjoy Sujin-Shinmachi
At Sujin-Shinmachi, we can meet many people. It is easy to hang out with strangers because the gap between the tables is so close. Also, many visitors like to drink when they come to Sujin-Shinmachi. So, it has a nice, festive atmosphere, which makes it easy to meet people.
All of stores offer a lot of small dishes, so you can order your food from a variety of stores. First, you should look around and throughout all of the food stands, while thinking about what you want to eat and drink. Then, you should decide where to sit. After that, you go and order what you want, then come back to your table with your food and drink. Finally, it is time to enjoy yourself!
Don’t forget to take some pictures and post on your Instagram account, using hashtags such as #Sujin-Shinmachi #happy #yammy, etc. It also might be a good idea to try asking some of the employees there to recommended stands, or you can try to share your food with your new friends that you are sure to meet.
Originally founded in Kyoto, Sujin-Chaya is the special shop selling rice cakes (mochi) and sparkling green tea, made with gyokuro, a high-quality type of green tea. Here, you can enjoy having mouthwatering rice cakes that combine various tastes, each with their own recipe. You can feel Japanese and Western culture simultaneously through this combination of carbonated green tea and rice cakes that you have probably never experienced before. I’m sure that you will like them.
When we went to Sujin-Shinmachi, we tried as many foods as we could. The most delicious food and drink combination was the fried chicken (800 yen) from 58doorstepBURGER and Fruits Fizz (500 yen) from Kyokushiyaki Matuba. Because the chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the fruits fizz is sweet and sour, you can feel like it is summer no matter what time of the year it is.
One more food that we recommend is ‘Choboyaki 6 syumori’ (600 yen) from Yakiyakisujinshinmachi. Choboyaki is said to be the origin of Takoyaki, which is very popular in Kansai area, but it is fluffier than Takoyaki. It goes great with a beer. You can try this one, too.
Romankan is the name of the kimono store in Sujin-Shinmachi. Here, you can enjoy a fashionable and contemporary way of wearing clothes such as brand-name kimono and unique ones. The store is designed in the motif of the Taisho era of Japan, so you can spend time with a calm atmosphere. You can also ask the staff to take pictures for your memories. Everyone will enjoy Japanese culture by walking around the city in Kyoto while wearing beautiful kimono.
For visitors to Kyoto and locals alike, Sujin-Shinmachi is obviously a great place to come together and make new relationships while enjoying delicious foods and drinks. And because it is so close to Kyoto station and all the hotels nearby, we strongly recommend that you come to Kyoto and pay a visit to Sujin-Shinmachi. What is more, we hope foreigners get more interested in Japan and will come to travel. That is why the government should build more facilities that can attract foreigners by providing quality services for them. I hope this information will help you when you plan to visit Kyoto.