Clamp Coffee Sarasa, Kyoto

Categories Café Hop

Unlike the Japanese capital, Kyoto isn’t exactly known as a bastion for specialty coffee. Well-preserved machiya (traditional townhouses)? Check. World heritage sites, from Buddhist temples to Shinto shrines? Check. Single origin pour-overs? Well, that’s more of a rarity here.

So it is a pleasant surprise to discover a gem of a café, not in the bustling city centre but further north near the grand Nijo Castle, hidden away in an alley-way. Clamp Coffee Sarasa was founded by barista-roaster Tomonori Kanbara after he was invited to join Kyoto-based F&B chain Sarasa (its other outlets include a bakery and a café inside a refurbished sento (bath house).

The unobtrusive entrance to Clamp Coffee Sarasa is almost hidden by a wall of vines (bone-dry or leafy green, depending on the season). Inside the café has a weathered ambience with plenty of re-purposed wood doubling as furniture and furnishing. Dried flowers and fresh plants flourish in vessels that are really odds-and-ends. Vintage items abound such as the clamp that gives the shop its name.

A mounted deer head watches over the coffee roasting area in one corner. Snatches of conversation – soft whispers, naturally – mingle around the communal table. To go with the coffee, there is a minimalist menu of toasts – buttered lightly and topped with the freshest ingredients. The décor may feel mismatched but everything feels just right. Drop by for a cuppa and you’ll know what we mean.

其中Clamp Coffee Sarasa 便是一家我們很喜歡的咖啡館。


Clamp Coffee Sarasa
67-38 Nishinokyo Shokushicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
+81 75-822-9397
Thu-Tue 8am-6pm / Wed closed

Kenny is a writer. CK is a photographer. Together they café-hop around the world and have contributed to The Malay Mail Online, Time Out, and other cool publications. Read more of Kenny’s stories at Life for Beginners and check out CK’s photography at Devil's Tales 胡思亂想.

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