A popular area in Kyoto city, Higashiyama area, is an area which contains lots of main tourist attractions.
The place we want to introduce this time is the famous Hanami-Koji Dori (花見小路通、Hanami-Koji Dori Street).
This street locates right in the middle of Gion（祇園）, where it is famous for Geisha（芸者）.
On that day, we visited Hanami-Koji Dori after visiting Kennin-ji. Hanami-Koji Dori starts from the main entrance of Kennin-ji, so it is a nice combination.
The whole street from North to South, connecting Sanjo street and Kennin-ji, is about 1 km long.
Hanami-Koji Dori is a street with an ancient view, looking like how the ancient capital, Kyoto, looked like in the past. With its long history, it also has many old and famous restaurants and tea shops; along with interesting stores. It is a place where any Kyoto’s tourist guide books would recommend you visiting!
Too bad the day we visited, the weather wasn’t nice…please bear with the cloudy photos…
Hanami-Koji Dori is most famous for its street view, it maintained the original view of the tea house street. While walking on this street, you’ll feel like as if you have traveled to the past.
In Kyoto, often times you can see people walking around wearing Kimono,Yukata, or even dressed up like Geisha; but most of them are tourists and not real Geishas.
But at Hanami-Koji Dori, in the evenings, you may get a chance to see some real Geiko and Maiko (Geisha) walking heading to their work places, such as restaurants and tea houses.
From the exterior it is hard to tell, but this is a Leica Store Kyoto located on Hanami-Koji Dori.
The interior of this store is very beautiful as well and it sells a lot of Kyoto limited edition products; even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it is still worth taking a look around!
There are many stores located on or near Hanami-Koji Dori that are worth visiting.
The next one we want to introduce is the chocolatier “Cacao 365.”（加加阿365）
This chocolatier is a branch from a famous Kyoto’s pastry maker, Malebranche. Their desserts have been a popular choice for people to bring to friends or as souvenirs when visiting Kyoto; and now the chocolatier have joined the list.
Since this brand is locally from Kyoto, many of their products have intergraded features of Kyoto, even if you are not buying anything, you should find the chance to stop by.
The interior of the stores located on or near Hanami-Koji Dori, matching with their exteriors, are specially designed with an ancient look; it is different from other stores and is quite interesting to look around. However, before you take out your camera or phone to take photos, it would be better to ask the staffs for permission, no matter if you’re buying anything or not.
After walking for a while, we finally reached the cafe we wanted to visit: Japanese style cake of Jouvencelle（京洋菓子司 Jouvencelle）
On the first floor of the cafe, there is a pottery shop, so the entrance is a bit hard to find. The entrance is actually the small entrance on the right with the small green Noren (のれん、Shop curtain).
We finally found the entrance…But!!
The menu we wanted to try, the Gion fondue（祇園フォンデュ）, was sold out already…
Friends who have tried it said it was good, definitely recommended for people who likes matcha!
We will need to revenge to go back and try it out!
For anyone who is planning to give it a try, we would recommend going a little earlier and not like us, arriving in the late afternoon and everything was sold out…
We didn’t get to try the Gion Fondue so instead, we decided to head to the last spot before it gets dark.
On the way, we walked pass Sagawa Express’s office located in Gion.
Sagawa Express（佐川急便）and Yamato Transport（クロネコヤマト）are two main door-to-door delivery services in Japan, and this specific office of Sagawa Express is famous because it has an ancient look. The way how the office looks and the bicycle in front of the office are the “decorations” for them to look like part of the Gion streets.
P.S. the bicycle is not actually used for delivery, they still use their usual trucks to work; but since the look is so special, many people would stop by for a photo while visiting Higashiyama area / Gion area.
We left Hanami-Koji Dori behind and start heading to our last destination, Yasui-Konpiragu Shrine.
- Address: Hanamikoji Dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
- Access: Gion-Shijo station（祇園四条駅）, 5 minutes on foot. Hanami-Koji Dori starts from Sanjo Dori in the North to Kenninji in the South. It is about 1 km long and you can decide where you would like to start from.
- Opening Hours: The opening hours would be different depending on the stores; most of them are open between 10:00 – 18:00. Please double check the exact opening hours and holidays before visiting.
- Webstie: 京都観光Navi (This is the official tourism bureau for Kyoto, the website is available in many different languages including English; however, the explanation of Hanami-koji Dori Street is only in Japanese)
- All Images: TabiScarp