Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gallery Cafe Kyoto Saryo

During my first afternoon in Kyoto, I learned that a favorite wagashi (traditional sweets) shop no longer offered the tea service I had been looking forward to.  Determined, I set out to find a new tea room where I could relax and re-energize after a long day filled with travel and errands.  Fortunately, Gallery Cafe Kyoto Saryo/ギャラリーカフェ 京都茶寮 saved the day!


Kyoto Saryo is located on the 2nd Floor of the Kyoto Station Building.  From the North Entrance across from Kyoto Tower, take the escalator up one flight and the tea room will be on the right, next to the Tourist Information office.

Inside the entrance is a gallery of teaware and tea ceremony items.  Further inside is the cafe with elegant and modern decor creating an intimate atmosphere and a pleasant escape from the crowds of tourists, travelers, and shoppers in Kyoto Station.



I was seated at a bar in the back where I could admire the floral arrangements and extensive collection of chawan on display, some of which is available for sale.



The tea menu includes thick matcha (koicha) and thin matcha (usucha), gyokuro, sencha, and houjicha.  A wagashi (tea sweet) menu is also provided to complete the set.  The wagashi are a feast for the eye and provide a sweet contrast to the teas.



My tea set included the "Suzaku no Midori" sencha from Marukyu Koyamaen in Uji with Shidarezakura (Weeping Cherry Blossom) wagashi.  I was given a choice of hot or iced sencha and English instructions for preparation.  I was grateful for the yuzamashi (water cooler) because I prefer the sweeter flavor that comes from sencha prepared at lower temperatures to the sharp astringency brought out at higher temperatures.


The wagashi was surprisingly large and just as beautiful as the photo in the menu.  The sencha was fantastic!  I was able to enjoy five or six flavorful cups and only stopped when the carafe of water was empty and preparations for closing were underway.

The staff were very helpful, answering my questions about the tea origins and providing me with a brochure for Marukyu Koyamaen which I plan to visit during my next trip to Japan.  I will certainly return to Kyoto Saryo!

Address:
〒600-8216 京都市下京区鳥丸通塩小路下ル 京都駅ビル 
Kyoto Station Bldg 2F, Karasuma Shiokoji-dori Kudaru, Simogyo-ku, Kyoto

Hours:
12pm-9:00pm (7 days a week)

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