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Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Part 6 – eX cafe Arashiyama

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Today’s post is the part 6 of the series Ki-Yan’s Kyoto – Washoku restaurants, café & shops introducing “wagashi” Japanese sweets of the popular eX cafe Arashiyama located in Arashiyama district in Kyoto.

I hope you remember (it has been a while since the previous post) in this series I am sharing with you some Washoku restaurants, cafes and shops located in Kyoto, which are introduced in my latest book Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Food & Art Explore Kyoto through the Artwork of a Japanese Pop Artist, an English-Japanese pictorial guidebook featuring the amazing mural art by a contemporary Japanese pop artist Ki-Yan (Hideki Kimura). Just before moving to Sydney, while still in Kyoto I encountered Ki-Yan and his spectacular artwork that eventually resulted in collaborating on publishing this book. You can find more information about the book and my other works on happydarumacreative.com

The book is recently available in a number of Sydney’s bookstores, so check it out!

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If you travel to Kyoto, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a different “face” of Kyoto – not only the delicious Japanese food in these restaurants but also experience the dynamic, colourful, and contemporary yet still inspired by traditional art, unique murals by Ki-Yan!

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, Arashiyama mountainPhoto by N. Ijichi

The district of Arashiyama (literally “stormy mountains”), where the eX cafe Arashiyama is located, has a special meaning for me – it is one of my favourite places in Kyoto, where I spent four years living in Japan. Located in the Western part of Kyoto, the area is tucked along Arashiyama Mountains and Oi River filled with temples and shrines, traditional small shops, cafes and restaurants.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, sakura, cherry blossomCherry blossom in Arashiyama – the view on Togetsu-kyo Bridge from Nakanoshima Island area

Although very touristy along the main streets and the famed Togetsu-kyo Bridge, if you walk upriver to Kameyama-koen park, visit Okochi-sanso villa and gardens or go much further into the mountains to the Adashino Nenbutsu-ji area, you will find the serenity and spiritual mystery of Arashiyama. Or, for quiet stunning views overlooking Kyoto go to the other side of the river and climb up the hill to a not so well known, but amazing hidden lookout spot, Senko-ji Temple, one of my favourites as well!

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, Oi river, sunsetSunset over Oi River, Arashiyma

eX café Arashiyama although located only one minute walk from the last train stop Arashiyama station of Keifuku (Randen) line, thanks to a little bit tucked away location from the main street, offers a quiet space to relax within Kyoto’s bustling tourist hub of Arashiyama.

The cafe itself, including the vast garden area, is larger than you would expect, located in a building which was converted from an early Showa period gorgeous home.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, entrancePhoto by K.Uchida

Upon entering the Japanese style gates, guests will encounter Ki-Yan’s elegant mural artwork “Black Peony” painted on the building’s black façade.

There is a surprise connected with the mural: the artist himself was surprised to find that the original wine red colour of the peony’s leaves transformed to vivid blue only a few years after the work’s completion.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, mural, black peonyPhoto by K.Uchida

The photo is taken just upon finishing the mural in 2010, you can see clearly the colour of peony’s leaves is wine red.

 

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, mural, black peony with blue leavesThis photo is taken recently, with the leaves turned blue!

Offering Western and tatami-style rooms as well as Japanese garden views on both sides, the eX café Arashiyama is favoured not only by tourists (domestic and international), but Japanese celebrities as well.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, mural, white lions, peoniesPhoto credit by Ki-Yan Stuzio

After entering the café space you will find the large Western-style room with tables and chairs, but if you want to see Ki-Yan’s amazing artworks turn left, head straight to the two tatami-style rooms to and choose your favourite – with white peonies and white lions called “White Lions” featuring Ki-Yan’s art painted on the walls as well as on fusuma sliding doors.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, mural, red lionsPhoto credit by Ki-Yan Stuzio

Or admire the fusuma paintings in vivid red – red lions and black peonies (with wine red leaves!), called “Red Lions” in the other Japanese-style room next door.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, mural, red lions

Photo credit by Ki-Yan Stuzio

You will find the original Ki-Yan’s “Red Lion and Black Peony” and “White Lion and Peony” kakejiku hanging scrolls decorating each tatami room.

Now after choosing your place according to the colour of the interior, sit crossed-legged on a tatami mat while viewing Ki-Yan’s red or white lions in the café’s Japanese style room and order your dessert!

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, Tenryuji Parfait

Photo credit by Ki-Yan Stuzio

The two most popular dessert sets are the beautiful “Tenryuji parfait” – the name comes from the neighboring Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site, definitely worth visiting while in Arashiyama. The dessert contains matcha ice-cream, sweet azuki beans and shiratama dango (a kind of mochi rice cake), with your choice of drink (here with matcha) served on a lovely traditional lacquered tray.

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, Tenryuji, Japanese gardenTenryu-ji Temple – garden, photo by N. Ijichi

 

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, cake, matchaPhoto credit by Ki-Yan Stuzio

Or you can choose the set dessert “Kyo-kuro-roru-kuromaru” cake with your choice of drink (here with matcha as well). “Kyo-kuro-roru-kuromaru” cake is eX café Arashiyama’s original soft sponge roll, baked with bamboo charcoal and filled with white cream or matcha cream, specially designed to melt in your mouth!

#washoku, washoku lovers, ki-yan, ki-yan’s kyoto food & art, sydney food blog, japan, japanese restaurant, sweets, wagashi, ex cafe, arashiyama, japanese art, japanese culture, japanese cuisine, kyoto, kyoto restaurant, cake

You can also have the famous “Kyo-kuro-roru-kuromaru” souvenir cake for takeaway, sold only here!

I hope you enjoyed the post, and if you want more information about Ki-Yan and Washoku restaurants (more shop details, maps in English etc.) pick up a copy of the book Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Food & Art, which is available in Sydney bookstores: Books Kinokuniya, MCA Store, Art Gallery of NSW, Gleebooks, Better Read Than Dead, The Cross Art + Books, and Radio Free Alice.

And for more info about the book visit:

www.happydarumacreative.com

The series Ki-Yan’s Kyoto – Washoku restaurants, cafes & shops continue. Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Part 7 is coming soon!

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