If you are visiting Kyoto, Kaikado café is the perfect place not only to rest, but to experience the fusion of Japanese design with Scandinavian interior, and to see a glimpse into the future of Japanese crafts.
The Kaikado café is a five minutes stroll from their flagship store and studio in Kawaramachi district that we have featured previously(see blog on Kaikado). They opened in May of 2016, and have been a popular place among locals in Kyoto as well as travelers from around the world.
The café is located along the Kawaramachi-dori, and the high windows take in sunlight, bringing in warmth to the space that combines exposed concrete walls and oak furniture. The atmosphere there was somewhat familiar to me, and I soon understood why that was when the staff told me that the interior was designed by OeO Studio based in Copenhagen. I lived as an exchange student in Denmark 20 years ago, and learned to appreciate the Danish design and lifestyle. I became so fascinated that I pursued a career at a Danish lifestyle company after returning to Japan, and Danish design has always been something very close to my heart. The aesthetics, careful selection of material, attention to detail and craftsmanship are some aspects that are similar in Japanese and Danish design, and you can feel that resemblance at the Kaikado café. The mix of modern design and traditional design is brilliant there, and I must say that I feel in love with their copper lamps!! (Copper is one of the main material used for the Kaikado tea caddies.)
What is also unique about this café is that it is a result of a collaboration of several Kyoto crafts companies. It all started in 2012, when 6 traditional crafts companies from Kyoto, including Kaikado reached out to OeO Studio, and started a collaboration with creative director Thomas Lykke. The mutual goal of the six companies was to bring Japanese craft to a new level – to introduce their products to the international community. The project was named “Japan Handmade”. Combining new design with the traditional craftsmanship, they created new products to meet the modern and international lifestyle.
Kaikado, the oldest chazutsu (tea caddy) manufacturer in Japan also took a step out of their ordinary, and launched “The Objects Collection”, that includes a tea pot, water pitcher, tray, vase, milk jug and wine cooler. With the success of this collection, it was a natural choice for Kaikado to team up once again with Thomas Lykke in making the café. The location that was chosen was a former warehouse and office for the local city train built in 1927. It was Mr.Takahiro Yagi, the 6th generation of Kaikado that recommended this place for the café. As with the “The Objects Collection”, they successfully combined the old and new. The exposed concrete walls and black window panels from the original building adds “flavor” to the modern interior.
Another feature of the Kaikado café is that they use items from their fellow crafts companies from the “Japan Handmade” project. The cup & saucer is from “Asahi yaki”, the coffee dripper is form “Kanaami-tsuji”, the coffee stand is from “Nakagawa Mokkougei”, the bamboo basket is from “Kohchosai Kosuga”, and the curtain is from “Hosoo”. The coffee that is served is also from “Nakagawa Wani Coffee” in Kyoto. And the tea is from Postcard Teas of London, the tea shop where Kaikado first started selling their tea caddies abroad.
Although they use many local crafts, the items blend into the space creating an ambient atmosphere. The Kaikado café demonstrates that traditional craft is not only for the traditional homes and spaces – that there is a new way for traditional craft in the modern lifestyle of today.
352 Sumiyoshicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Opening Hours 10:30-19:00
Closed on Thursdays and the first Wednesday of the month
(they are closed some days for summer and winter holidays, so please check their website before visiting!)