Enjoy a delicate Japanese confectionery and waves on a surface of water while feeling Kyoto culture.
Text : Keiko Kimura / Photo : Takashi Oka
As you know without need telling, we all know ‘Toraya’s Japanese confectionery’. Yokan, the company’s signature product, Monaka and seasonal confectionery can be tasted here at this old Japanese confectioner which has run a business for about 500 years so far. When you hear Toraya, you might imagine Tokyo first of all, but to tell you the truth, Kyoto is the one which established this old store. There are resources telling us that they opened the store in 1628 in Kyoto.
It was in May, 2009 when Torayakaryo Kyoto-ichijo store reopened after renovation. It was designed by a famous architect, Hiroshi Naito who also designed ‘Toba Sea-Folk Museum’ in Toba City, Mie and JR Kochi station as well. A comfortable space with tradition and modernity will be right in front of you.
Very traditional Japanese architecture with a store curtain saying ’Toraya’. Once you step inside you can feel relaxation with a calm illumination. The amazing thing that I have to say is that there are no poles in that spacious cafe area. The Kyoto sales division, Ms. Sawa Hashizume says, “A courtyard and cafe area became much bigger than before”. It has a plenty of room between each seat and surrounded by glasses in both sides, so that it does make everything so spacious. One of the distinctive part of this building is also its arch ceiling. A part of the ceiling sticked out to the both terrace sides and it feels outside and inside becomes one together.
Ms. Hashizume told me, “We reopened Torayakaryo Kyoto-ichijo store in order to have people enjoy our confectionery and Kyoto culture in this comfortable time flow”. That’s is why there are plenty of books about Kyoto culture here. Not only they have books about confectionery, but also about temples and traditional architecture here in Kyoto, so that you can enjoy both cultures as much as you like.
When you go outside on the terrace, you can see a wide courtyard with greens around and a modern water garden. They are all going to make you feel very cool even though in a hot and humid summer in Kyoto. You can also see a massive storehouse and torii gate right in front of you. There is no mechanism that the modern water garden makes the waves by itself. When the wind blows, it will have waves naturally. It fills with very clear water always since they take care of it all the time.
Let’s have ‘Uji-mizore (white beans paste in)’ (1,296 yen) while looking at a courtyard with foliage. Tasty maccha-honey is on top of the crushed ice and you can enjoy the texture of ice and maccha flavor. After eating some, a white beans paste will show up. Ms. Hashizume said, “This is not made from kidney bean, but it is made from rare white azuki beans”. Slightly yellow colored white azuki beans paste has a refreshed sweetness. It goes with maccha ice together very well.
On the terrace seats, they are going to hang wind-bells in summer time. When it becomes winter time, a surface of the water gets thin ice on top, so that you can enjoy four seasons fully. The best time to go there will be around in the morning since this is very popular store. Please visit here for the delicious confectionery, four seasons nature, and comfortable space.
ADDRESS : 400 Hirohashidono-cho Ichijo-dori Karasuma-nishiiru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-441-3113
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (L.O. 5:30 p.m.)
CLOSED : irregular holiday
WEBSITE : www.toraya-group.co.jp