Enjoy quality coffee at a traditional cafe deeply involved with Gion Festival
Text: Hiroki Hayashi / Photo: Tamami Tsukui
Maeda Coffee is known for its high quality home roasted coffee and homemade desserts and food. The main cafe is at Hashibenkei-cho, with other branches spreading around 7 areas in Kyoto, Kyoto Art Center (former Meirin Elementary School), the Museum of Kyoto, etc.
The building of main cafe used to be a kimono shop. Now, a German roaster is placed inside the entrance covered by Japanese curtain. The amount of bicycles parked in front shows how many local people come here.
Takahiro Maeda, the founder, often cleans the entrance early in the morning. He has experienced working at 2 major cafe in Kyoto, the Inoda Coffee and World Coffee. After opening a small cafe in Omiya Takatsuji, he opened the main cafe, Muromachi Honten in 1986.
'I participated as much as I can with the Gion Festival in order to blend into the local community' says Takahiro. Hashibenkei-Yama is a very highly classified mountain that leads the yamahoko (procession) parade during the 'ato matsuri' (latter festival) without entering the draw. Therefor, men, young and old, has a tradition in participating to fully boost the festival. By participating in this, Takahiro had built a good relationship with the local people and soon the cafe was full of local business people.
Now that he has become one important person in the community, he will be participating in this year's yamahoko (procession) parade in a kamishimoa ceremonial dress with his son, the present owner of business, Tsuyoshi Maeda.
As a token showing his affection to the community, he exhibits an old manual fire pump from Meiji period (1868-1912), and a drawing of festival.
Takahiro showed me a 45-years old manual sample roaster to make a coffee for me. 'I have learnt from my days at Inoda Coffee, that I must always show my appreciation to the customers. I teach my employees this as well.' says he.