A True Community Cafe

July 21, 2015

by Misa Ito and Yuka Shinde

Kyogoku Dining

There is an unusual café/restaurant in Kyoto called Kyogoku Dining. It is often called a “town cafe.” That is because it serves the local community and is a hub for not only the local community but also for  the occasional tourist. In addition, it takes on several different roles, that of “pub,” “café,” or “restaurant dining.”
 The main concept behind this café is “information.” It strives to be a place where people can access information to help them in the local community.  So the staff  listen carefully to the voices and opinions of the local residents.  Then they try to meet the demands raised by these voices.
Kyogoku dining in Horikawadori

Outside of Kyogoku Dining

The owner of the shop said that it was  first established after WWII, but there were many times when he was not sure whether to continue the shop or not, to keep it going or to tear it down. So he discussed with local residents. However, they thought they needed to revitalize the local economy and therefore the shop needed drastic reform. So they decided to keep this shop as a “home” for the public. It has a soft image. The residents wanted to make “Dining” a place  where people can come and hang out all the time.
The café has several features that make it different from other Kyoto cafés:
• You can use the toilet even if you don’t order food
• You can drink water even if you don’t order food
• There is a free Wi-Fi in this shop
• We can bring food from a shopping centre into the cafe
• You can ask the staff anything if you need help

Who Uses this Cafe?

The primary customers are local residents. When the café is open, people who work outside come in to relax. Europeans and Americans who live in Kyoto also frequent this shop.

Employment of People with Disabilities

This café hires people with physical disabilities. It also gives jobs to people who need them most, such as mothers who need extra money for their families. One reason they like to hire people with disabilities is that such people are often excluded from the labor market.

The Future

The owner wants  Kyogoku Dinng to become a community center. He hopes that it will be  a place where interchange is multi-generational.

Menu

The most famous item on their menu is curry rice. This curry is very spicy. It is profitable because it is 800 yen even with salad. There are other set meals. There is rice, main dish and a side salad. You can choose each one from the showcase. It is also 800 yen. The two are lunch menus. Lunchtime is from 11:00 to 17:00. There are many types of dinner menus. For example, meat dish, fish dish, pasta, pizza and so on.
the main dinner menu

dinner menu

the main dinner menu

dinner menu

Staff Voices

We also  interviewed a woman who was working at this café. She said that she can learn how to communicate with people who have disabilities. She can also have conversations with local residents and get knowledge about the neighbourhood. Another person said that this work is fun because she loves to work.

Access

The café address is 602-8111 Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku, Matsuya-cho (Horikawadori) 28. The business hours are 11:00-22:00 from Monday to Saturday. Sunday is 11:00-18:00.
The telephone number is 075-432-7563. You can get to this cafe by getting on any #9 to #50 city bus from Kyoto Station. It takes about 20 minutes; get off Horikawa-Shimotachiuri bus stop. You can reach this café.

This café is a place that will make a connection with people. Not only people of the local area but also tourists can relax and enjoy a homelike  atmosphere. And the staff will tell you a lot local information. We recommend visiting the Kyogoku Dining. Please visit this Website. http://horikawakyogoku.com/

Mamezushi

Junya Kitagawa and Miki Suzuki

 Mamezushi

As sushi is now well known all over the world, there are many sushi bars located in many different countries, and a lot of people have become familiar with it.  All over Japan you can find sushi bars serving many different kinds.  “Mamezushi”, which we would like to introduce here, is one type that originated in Kyoto.

“Mamezushi” is often called “Maiko zushi”, too, because its birthplace was Gion, in Kyoto, an area which is also famous for Maiko, or apprentice Geisha.  Maiko have a cute little button for a mouth, with the perfect size and shape for eating sushi.  Mamezushi means small sushi bean in English, as the shape is small and spherical.

In top-class Japanese restaurants, 15 kinds of Mamezushi are presented in a box and served to customers.  The kinds of mamezushi shown here, are from the upper left, squid sandwiched between sheets of kelp, mackerel oshizushi, bamboo shoot, pickled tuna, masuzushi, pouch of fried bean curd stuffed with vinegared rice, shrimp, butterbur, egg, pickled rape blossoms, kelp boiled in sweetened soy sauce, eel, Japanese ginger, with squid and pickled ginger to the lower right.  When the customer first removes the lid to begin to eat, they cannot help but be impressed with the beautiful colors before them, and almost always feel the urge to take pictures of it.  However they not only look elegant but also have a very refined taste.  Each one tastes different to the others, and we do not have to put on any soy sauce, which makes it a little healthier for us.

Mamezushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Mametora

There is really only one place where we can eat Mamezushi in Kyoto, and this is the top-class restaurant “Mametora”.  This restaurant has a calm atmosphere and is peaceful and comfortable.  The restaurant is located on Hanami-Koji Street, which is actually quite  noisy, however, you do not notice that once inside the restaurant.  There are 3 types of seating available here:  the counter seat, where you can see the inner garden, a private room, where you can eat lunch or dinner in privacy and relaxation, and on a covered table placed over a recess in the floor of a Japanese-style room.  Of course, you can enjoy a special lunch or dinner whichever seating arrangement you choose.

The restaurant has two service times, lunch time and dinner time.  Lunch time is from 11:30 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. and dinner time is from 05:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m.  At lunch time two options are available, one is “Mamezushi-Zen”, which consists of five courses.The main course Mamezushi, is served 4th, and before that courses containing foods in season are offered, with the final course being a dessert.  The other option is “Mamezushi-Sara Zen”, which consists of 6 courses, and offers many kinds of foods in small dishes in addition to the courses of “Mamezushi-Zen”.  At dinner time there are other options.  The first is ”Mamezushi-Kaiseki”, with different courses.  With this you can eat Mamezushi, deep-fried food, grilled fish, meat, or chicken, and 4 courses containing foods in season.  The second is “Choice Mamezushi-Kaiseki”, which offers 6 courses.  In addition to the courses offered in “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” we can eat one-pot type dish cooked at the table.  “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥3,800 per person, “Mamezushi0-Sara Zen ” costs ¥5,800 per person, “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥9,680 per person, and “Choice Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥13,200 per person.  As the dinner courses are so expensive, we recommend you try the lunch courses.  They are very reasonable and you can enjoy plenty of Mamezushi.  Fundamentally, the restaurant does not close on a regular day, however, on holidays, there will surely be a lot of customers and few empty seats.  Therefore, making a reservation before arrival is certainly a good idea.  You can actually now make reservations either by telephone or online.

Access

 There are a lot of ways to access this restaurant because it is located in the heart of Kyoto city, and near some famous places, for example, Kiyomizu-Temple and Yasaka-Shrine.

・Kyoto City Bus: you can take the “Gion Express” bus from Kyoto Station to Gion Bus Station, and thereafter it is a 3 minutes   walk to the restaurant.

・Keihan-train: if you take the train, please get off at Sanjo-Keihan Station, and thereafter take a 5 minute walk to the restaurant.

・Hankyu-train: if you take this train, please get off at Kawaramachi Station, and then take an 8 minute walk to the restaurant.

・phone number:075 532 3955

Additional informationI

In addition to enjoying this great traditional cuisine, please visit the two places of interest mentioned before.  Kiyomizu-Temple is very famous, and many travelers wish to visit it.  The view from this temple is really beautiful, and will give great memories.  Yasaka-Shrine is also famous, and especially for its connection to the “Gion festival”.  If you have time, please visit these wonderful places, too.