Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden

Details from the curtains hanging in the door of Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden, Kyoto, showing a man pouring latte art.I first discovered Bread, Espresso & when I visited in its original Omotesandō location. Conveniently located a short walk from my hotel in Tokyo, it became a regular weekend brunch spot on that and subsequent visits. While I knew there multiple locations in Tokyo and, increasingly, around the country, I was unaware that Bread, Espresso & had opened in Kyoto, until I was alerted by the lovely baristas at % Arabica in Arashiyama. It was timely advice, since I was looking for breakfast (% Arabica only serves coffee) and Bread, Espresso & was a mere five-minute walk away!

Kyoto has some amazing coffee shops in outstanding locations and Bread, Espresso & can be added to the list. It occupies a restored 200-year-old traditional Japanese farmhouse and associated buildings, set in a small compound. There’s a café in the farmhouse, the majority of the seating at traditional, low tables, while a separate takeaway bakery occupies another building.

Bread, Espresso & very much does what the name suggests. There are excellent (bread-based) breakfast and lunch menus, along with a selection of cakes, all baked on the premises, plus a concise, espresso-based coffee offering, all coupled with the usual high standard Japanese service.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The magnificent hills west of Arashiyama, Kyoto, the backdrop for a wonderful coffee shop.
  • Said coffee shop is not that easy to find though. Head down this alley...
  • ... past another cafe on the left, around this corner...
  • ... and there it is, on the right: Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Gardens.
  • If you come the other way, you'll go past this long hedge...
  • ... where you'll see the same building on the left.
  • Either way, you'll end up here, at the main entrance.
  • That said, if you do come the other way, you'll reach this building first: the bakery.
  • The bakery, seen looking from the cafe. Don't make my mistake and assume it is the cafe!
  • If you have come in via the bakery, there's a path inside the compound to the cafe.
  • The view back along the path towards the bakery.
  • There's more at the back, but that's off limits at the moment.
  • If you're confused by this, there's a handy leaflet inside, complete with...
  • ... a very useful floor plan...
  • ... and some details on the history of the farmhouse.
  • And here it is, a restored, 200 year old farmhouse, home to Bread, Espresso &.
  • The entrance, under the very low eaves, is on the right.
  • There's the obligatory (for Japan) umbrella stand.
  • Meanwhile, if you don't want to sit inside, you can sit out on the veranda...
  • ... which is a wonderfully shady spot. It's full table service too, so just take a seat.
  • There are also a couple more benches outside along the left-hand wall.
  • Meanwhile, back to the entrance, where this lovely three-part banner hangs...
  • ... seen here from the inside.
  • A wide passage way leads back past the counter and till on your right...
  • ... and a raised seating area on your left.
  • A view of the seating area from the corridor by the counter.
  • If you keep going, you'll reach the espresso counter at the back. However...
  • ... you only need to go as far as this broad step, where you slip off your shoes...
  • ... which you can leave in these little lockers if you don't want to leave them on the floor.
  • You enter the seating area to find an eight-person communal table in the centre.
  • To the left, at the front, is a large room with traditional, Japanese tables.
  • A panoramic view of the front room which runs the width of Bread, Espresso &.
  • There are two tables on the left...
  • ... and two more tucked around the corner on the right.
  • The windows at the front lead out onto the veranda.
  • The communal table in the middle joins all the rooms together...
  • ... such as this one to the left...
  • ... with its four-person table dead ahead...
  • ... and two-person table in the corner by the window.
  • There's one final room, right at the back, which also has a four- and a two-person table.
  • The two-person table in the corner in more detail.
  • This room also has an alcove to the right with a plant in it.
  • Best of all, the windows at the back can slide to one side to link it to the gardens.
  • Time to go back to the main room.
  • There are plenty of nice touches in Bread, Espresso &, including these flowers on the...
  • ... communal table, while other rooms have flowers in the corners.
  • There are also plenty of baskets so you don't have to put your things on the floor.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • There are takeaway sandwiches at the counter, but mostly this is a table-service place.
  • So, take a seat and the menu will be brought to you.
  • This has the drinks...
  • ... along with the breakfast...
  • ... and lunch sets.
  • My breakfast. The French Toast actually came from the takeaway bakery...
  • ... but the staff let me eat it here and even warmed it up for me. Awesome service!
  • Meanwhile, I ordered an espresso to go with it...
  • ... which is where I'll leave you.
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Bread, Espresso & is in Arashiyama, between the Katsura River and the Tenryuji Temple. It takes a bit of finding, tucked away down a narrow alley west of the main drag. However, it’s well worth seeking out, particularly for the beautiful thatched farmhouse, home to the  café (the “espresso &” part of the operation). The best approach is from the east, where you come to the main gate at the right-hand end of the compound. From here, a path leads straight to the farmhouse. This has a high, peaked roof, with low eaves (level with my chest, so I really had to duck to get under them).

A broad veranda, backed by large, multi-paned windows, runs along the front, with the door on the right. If you want to sit outside, there are six round cushions here, three on either side of a central pillar. Alternatively, here are some more conventional (ie western-style) benches around the corner against the left-hand wall of the building.

Inside, Bread, Espresso & has what is effectively an entrance corridor running down the right-hand side, with all the seating in a raised area on the left. This is accessed towards the back via a couple of broad steps, although you are first required, in true Japanese fashion, to take your shoes off (if you really can’t face this, you’ll need to sit outside). First though, you have to walk past the till (where you pay on your way out) and the cake counter. There’s also the coffee counter, at the far end on the right, but since Bread, Espresso & offers a full table service, you won’t need to go down there.

The majority of the seating is low, Japanese-style tables, the seats directly on the floor. My back/knees are too old for this, but fortunate there’s one table, an eight-seater, at the top of the steps, which has western-style chairs. Behind that, in its own room along the left-hand side, are a pair of tables, one two-person, the other a four-person one. There’s more seating at the front of Bread, Espresso &, where you’ll find four four-person tables, two in the windows along the front and two at the back. Finally, there’s another room at the back on the left, with a two-person and four-person table. The windows here can be slid across to open onto the gardens.

As well as the café, a more modern-looking building on the left houses the bakery, complete with take-away counter (the “bread and” bit) so if you just want bread/cake, this is the place to go (although there’s no coffee). Unfortunately, I came upon Bread, Espresso & from this direction, not realising there was a separate café, and bought my breakfast (French Toast) here. When I discovered the café, the staff took pity on me and let me eat my French Toast, even heating it up for me, which is excellent service.

I ordered an espresso to go with it (having previously only had cappuccinos at the Omotesandō location). This was gorgeous, beautifully-balanced and smooth, going down a treat. My French Toast was just as good, light and fluffy, more of a bread souffle than your typical French bread. It was the perfect start to my day, although not my battle to keep my expanding waistline under control!

December 2019: Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden was a runner-up for the 2019 Best Physical Space Award.

45-15 ASHINOBABACHO • TENTENRYUJI • UKYO-KU • KYOTO • 616-8385 • JAPAN +81 (0) 75-366-6850
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster In-house (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Cash Only
Saturday 08:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 08:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain National Visits 31st August 2019

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1 thought on “Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden

  1. Pingback: Bread, Espresso & | Brian's Coffee Spot

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