When in Kyoto: % ARABICA Arashiyama @ Ukyo Ward – Touristy and Overrated? Iconic Kyoto Coffee Shop Overlooking the Togetsuko Bridge

Togetsuko Bridge. Tenryuji Temple. Bamboo Forest. These are just some of the must-see spots for any tourist worth his or salt at Arashiyama, Kyoto. But for coffee aficionados, there’s one more item on the checklist – %ARABICA.


Opened in 2014, %ARABICA is the brainchild of Kenneth Shoji,  a coffee farm owner and coffee machine distributor whose love for coffee sprouted during his time in the “unique fusion of beach hippie culture” in Venice Beach, California. Since then, the coffee chain’s minimalist stores have sprung up around locations ranging from historic to iconic, as well as fashionable cities like Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.

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When in Kyoto: Bakery Wälder @ Sakaicho, Nakagyo-ku – Quaint, Cozy German-Style Bakery Near Nishiki Market

I’ve gotten less… particular about my travel pacing, i.e. how many spots I must absolutely squeeze into every overseas trip as I get older (age has a lot to do with it). Yet sometimes, “no plan” means “no places to see” in some cases, like that one time I got up too early to explore Nishiki Market on my second last morning in Kyoto; 9 out of 10 stalls had yet to open. That said, I was pretty lucky to stumble upon this charming spot that was already ready for the day.


Sakaicho, Kyoto

Tucked away from main areas of Nishiki Market, about a six-minute walk away from Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station, Bakery Wälder is a German-style bakery that is said to offer about 100 different selection of baked goods on weekends.

Check out my other Kyoto travel tips and reviews!

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Konnichiwa, Kansai! The first timer’s FAQ to Kyoto

Whether you’re a first timer or a well-seasoned traveller in Japan, Kyoto ranks high among the cities to visit. After all, with a plethora of religious monuments and sites, cultural icons, and endless cuisine, it’s hard to run out of things to do in Japan’s former capital.

I get it – you’ve pinned countless to-do’s on Pinterest, trawled through travel blogs and forums a hundred times and now, after one long ass plane (or train) ride, you’re finally in Kyoto. You wanna do everything! So how can you make the most of your time?


While I don’t claim to know everything about Kyoto, I think the two times I’ve travelled there has given me some insight as to what to do – and what not to do, hence this nifty first-timer’s list (you’re welcome!).

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