Being content with time of listening classic music at a Meikyoku Kissa.

Text : Keiko Nakamura / Photo : Kanako Takimoto


  It is a brick building close to Keihan, Eizan-densha Demachiyanagi station. Going through a shop curtain with a G clef mark on and after going up the stairs, Meikyoku Kissa (a classical music cafe) ‘Ryugetsudo’ will appear silently in front of you. In their Taisho modern atmosphere listening room, all the couches line up facing toward decent speakers. It looks like I visit a genuine concert hall because all the customers sit with some spaces between and listens to music without talking and making any noises.They have about 8,000 analogue records collection such as Beethoven and Mozart. We all need to pay 500 yen for the entrance fee and you can request one music. I see a man who is probably around 70 years old closing his eyes and listening to melancholy classic music with some glitch noise. He must be a regular customer. I think he bought a bread at a bakery down stairs, which has a same name of this cafe, and brought it up here and ordered a cup of coffee from a orthodox waitress without making any noises. He sometimes sips a coffee without any sounds and put it back on a cup saucer. The way he moves and everything is such a gentleman. On the other hand, there is a room that you might want to chat and enjoy their music casually.

  It was hard to buy classic records privately because of its expensive price on. This cafe was established in 1953 by the founder, a father of the owner, Mr.Souichi Chin, who came to Japan to study at Kyoto University from Taiwan. He says, “When the time we all starved for music, we were all quiet and listened music without even saying ‘Be quiet’ at that time”. However, people started listening their own ways and their music taste became various after that, so they closed a cafe temporarily, and now it came back because of strong and many requests from their fans.Time passes and it seems most of the customers now are senior people who came here long time ago when they were students. He says, “A grandson, whose grandfather used to take his lodgings in Kyoto, came here with a Buddhist mortuary tablet”. It must have been a precious times being at Ryugetsudo back then. Once you open up a diary in a book shelf, you can see their memories of music, love, and all the ideas of daily life.

  I ask him if any younger people come here or not. He answers, “I think they are occupied with smart phones out there”. It might be hard to understand the value of paying a fee and being quiet to listen to music in a room for younger people because they can buy music anywhere they want through internet and they can listen to music riding a bike and also typing a mail on their smart phones. He kindly tells to those, “Once you feel you are old enough to come here and spend some times for yourself then you are welcome. I want them to feel and enjoy some differences between what they listen yesterday and today at this place”. When I go back to a listening room and listen carefully to a delicate touch of piano, I start feeling something tense in my mind and my senses feel sharper than before which I never have felt when I listen to music while doing something. I stand out and look for the music of Chopin which I used to love to listen out of a famous music list.



ADDRESS : 2F Ryugetsudo bldg, 5-1 Shimoyanagi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)

PHONE : +81(0)75-781-5162

HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. L.O.)

CLOSED : No holidays