There is a place to connect between people, culture and Kyoto at an old elementary school in a city.

-photo&text/ KENTA BABA 



Takase-river which used to connect Kyoto and Fushimi for 300 years as a canal.

Along Takase-river, there is an old elementary school which already closed 22 years ago in Kyoto city.



The former Rissei elementary school established in 1928. This place is also known as ’the first movie theater in Japan’ which was back in Meiji era.


Right now, they have a movie theater called ’Rissei Cinema’ on the third floor in this former school. Its gymnasium and courtyard is used for a cultural exchange holding various events.




Right after you go into the entrance on the first floor, you will see a big room that used to be a staff room in front of you.
It’s a opened a month ago having a warm sunlight and good breeze inside.




In this former staff room, chairs, desks, and everything is vintage stuff.

Using a school building, which was built in early Showa era, as it is, and everything such as floor, ceiling, atmosphere and every nook and corner are vintage stuff. They use ‘chairs from an infirmary’ and ’tables from a music room’. Everything is coming from everywhere in this school.




A chance to open up is ART GRID KYOTO which started collaborating with PARASOPHIA (International Art Festival) in Spring, 2015. started as one of the projects becoming ‘information center for visitors’ with limited-time offer at the former Rissei school.



Even though they finished the project already, people raised their voices not to close the coffee shop for good, so that they went through several formalities and finally re-opened their business a month ago.

locates themselves in a center of Kyoto city, but not a lot of people know about it. It becomes slowly a well-kept secret place that you can relax.




Mainly they have a drink on their menu. They also serve alcohol as well. (All reasonable price)




Big table with relaxed couch facing toward window.
It seems that I can stay here more than several hours.



There are some seats available on a terrace as well. It looks very fine with a cheerful autumn weather.




Thing that will be created by a person who knows ‘Kyoto that you have never seen before’ on the spot.

A representative of , Hiroshi Makino knows about ‘the profound attraction of Kyoto’. For 30 years since his 18 years old, he spent some times in France and more than half of his life in Kyoto. He also used to be the owner of which is known as a legend coffee shop.



Although he decided not to have any coffee shops after he closed the legend cafe, since he started , something good has started moving around in Kyoto little by little.

He says, “Visitors used to come to my ex-coffee shop to ask about Kyoto, but I think it gets much easier for them to come here somehow.”




The former Rissei elementary school is the place that locals and visitors can gather easily since it has a culture and locates itself in a center of Kyoto.

It has been only for a month, but it seems that a number of new good movement has already come up because people visit here and ask him about things they want to make happen.




A cup of amazing coffee is only 300 yen.

serves incredibly good coffee. This is the coffee that Mr.Makino says, “This is my speciality!”



Iced Coffee / 300 yen

It actually shocked me so much just like I felt when I had Gyokuro tea (hight quality green tea) in Uji city. Several flavor with hidden taste spreads in my mouth and they stay there for a while. This is something that I would like to have all day long.



Deeply roasted and blending beans from Columbia, Tanzania, and Brazil.
He makes ice coffee by dripping a water slowly in the morning and put it into a refrigerator. By doing this, the aroma of beans will become perfect.



He freezes a pure spring water in Kyoto to a big ice cube and crushes into pieces.  The more I hear about what he does for this coffee, the more I feel that he takes so much time.

He was laughing so much and says, “I took labor so much to make this coffee, but it only cost 300 yen. Can you believe that?”

He would rather have a cultural exchange place for various people than earning money.




But, why do you take so much time for that?

“Anything that you think its delicious usually takes some times you know. People just don’t say that they do make an effort or whatever. I think that’s how Kyoto is.”

People in Kyoto make an effort but they don’t show it to the public.
They think of it deeply behind the main stage.
Mr.Makino says, “thats how Kyoto is”.





I can’t stop asking him about things in this coffee shop, his special coffee, about Kyoto and more and more….



Since then, I just take my own time and relax. Simply, it is really comfortable and makes me feel like staying here forever. I totally recommend this place for every people who loves cafe.








スクリーンショット 2015-10-12 12.30.59

NEWS : ‘Kyoto International Student Film and Video Festival’ / Oct 15th ~ 18th, 2015.

During this festival, various events will be held everywhere at this former Rissei elementary school. Please come and visit as well. More information is here  →



Related Link :
A gourmet book “ORESHOKU-TSUFU” by Don Makino.

He visits local restaurants which will never be on a guid book in Kyoto and chooses the best of them. As a gourmet, he has written about the best restaurants for a year on KYOTO e-book and it’s free to view.
He says, “It’s like people usually go to the quite famous restaurants on magazines you know. So, I would rather look for something that people never know but it’s really good. Let’s say, If I choose Shimesaba, then I only collect 5 good restaurant which are specialized for Shimesaba. Same thing for Kushikatsu and etc… I narrow it down and introduce them to the public for a year.”

Please take a look at it if you get bored with a usual magazine recommendation here as your new restaurant guide.

A gourmet book “ORESHOKU-TSUFU” by Don Makino.






Beautiful three German girls visited this coffee shop while I was there and asked me to take a picture of them. I talked with them just a little bit. I felt like I was pretty much lucky guy living in Kyoto you know. Again, they were super super beautiful.





ADDRESS : 310-2 Higashi-iru Bizenmachi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city (MAP)
HOURS : 11:00 a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m.
FACE BOOK :  Traveling Coffee