Kansai Journey 2

Coffee Travels.  November 2019.  A return to the Kansai region of Japan, (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe),  to further explore it’s coffee and tea culture and hospitality in general.  Also covered is the overall cultural context of the Kansai region including Hanshinkan Modernism (between Osaka and Kobe).

Autumn leaves against a wall of the Tenryu-ji, Zen Temple, Arashi-yama in Kyoto.

Kyoto has too many tourists, but you need to see it.  Kyoto is truly unique, a treasure of a city, its geography, its history, its present culture.

Part of the grounds of Hogen-In Temple.

Coffee trees planted in moss wrapped with found drift wood, by Kyoto flora artist Mikiko Nakamura.  The name of her shop in Kyoto is Hanaki Towa (What is a flower, what is a tree).

Coffee Smart in Tera- machi Kyogoku , a covered market street in Kyoto.

Their Probat roaster in the front window

Matching grinder and Syphon Coffee maker at Takahashi Café in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

Pumping out the espresso in Arashi Yama.

Arabica Coffee is a slick coffee and roasting company with worldwide locations.  Their philosophy, ‘See the World through Coffee’.

It’s a buzz to walk into a Coffee Roastery and see a bag of Miller’s Coffee on the shelf.  LiLo Coffee in Shinsaibashi, Osaka, has their roaster 9 stories up.

Keita Nakamura the roaster for LiLo coffee shows their custom made sack.

Keita releases another fresh roast.

LiLo Coffee refreshment room, serves an assortment of single origins and blends, served through the espresso machine and pour over.

The small but perfectly created Voice of Coffee in Motomachi, Kobe.

Coffee beans for sale. Pour-over on site or to take home.

The owner, Keiji Sakata, feels the grind.

Gently using the pour-over.

The Royal roaster at Voice of Coffee.

The refreshment room.

Amo Shisai-bashi is a ‘collabo café’, for those working in manga and anime art.

Honolulu Coffee in Kobe.  Their refreshment room spreads over two levels with artful circulating fans as a motif.

An offering from Motomatchi Cake with coffee.

Indoor coffee plant at UCC Coffee Museum at Port Island, Kobe.

Traditional coffee equipment from Ethiopia, at the Coffee Museum.

This exhibit explains how 3 kilo of coffee cherries gives half a kilo of green beans which becomes 400 grams once roasted.

A cut-away coffee roaster explaining how it works.

Old style coffee roaster.

Mariage Frères tea-rooms in Motomachi Kobe.  Mariage Freres began in France in 1854 and represents Parisian minimalism at is finest.  A selection of over 500 tea’s with a small selection of cakes

A display of Okura Touen porcelain cups at Danke situated in Mikage, east Kobe.  After ordering your coffee the owner, Takao Sakata, chooses which cup he considers would suit you.

Takao softly uses the pour over.  Danke roast their own coffee.

Takao concentrates on the coffee he is making especially for you.

A Vienna coffee made at Danke.

Their roasting room is in a ‘secret’ location  where they combine a butter-bean roasting technique.

Mockingbird Café in Mikage.

A newer single unit home in Mikage which incorporates the characteristics of Hanshinkan Modernism.  Mikage was the original luxury suburb, of Hanshinkan Modernism, built around 1900 between Osaka and Kobe.  Surrounding suburbs were later built and by the 1920s Hanshinkan Modernism became a byword for new styles in living.  It's influence would spread across Japan and contiunes to resonate today.

A natural spring on the corner of a major highway and a busy city street in Mikage.

The spring’s runoff has been made to appropriate nature in what is a completely urban setting.

Most residential homes associated with Hanshinkan Modernism are influenced by western styling such as Art Deco and the Continental Villa.  However there are some very beautiful homes and gardens built in the Japanese style.

I-Sho-an (Hermatage of Learning Pine) house in Mikage is now a Museum. It was rented by the writer Junichiro Tanizaki in the early 1900s.  Tanazaki, known for his novel ‘The Makioka Sisters’, which was made into a movie.  He lived here for 7 years with his wife, their daughter and wife sisters, the models for the novel 'the Makioka Sisters'.

Tanazaki wrote an essay on Japanese aesthetics titled “In Praise of Shadows”.  This was his writing room.  It’s as if this house was an influence on that essay.

A large house in Mikage, originally built by the founder of the Asahi newspaper has been converted into the Kosetsu Museum and Art Gallery.  In the garden is an area for drinking matcha tea.

Matcha with matching sweets at Kosetsu Musuem.

Another city closely associated with Hanshinkan Modernism is Takarazuka.  This photograph is of the 93 year old Takarazuka Hotel.  It is about to be demolished.  It will be replaced by a new hotel on a nearby site.

Lobby chandelier.

The Renaissance Tearooms.

The food offering at the Renaissance Tearooms.

If you love paper then you will love Kyukyodo in Kyoto.  Selling all types of Japanese paper and block printing.  Specialists in incense, calligraphy materials and other traditional desktop items.  Kyukodo was established in 1663.