My third post on Kyoto foods or Kyo-ryori and this one is all about Kyoto cafes with Kyoto sweets. Traditional sweets is one of the most famous things about Kyoto. Next to the mouth of most shrines are stalls or petite cafes for enjoying anything from an ice-cream to the rare one of a kind desserts. I’m going to talk about three that are definite highlights of Kyoto sweets. I’ve been to a other dessert places in Kyoto but they just didn’t hold up as well as these three Kyoto sweets cafes for originality and taste.

I also have a map at the bottom that I’ve compiled all my Kyoto food recommendations I’ve blogged about before and some new ones.

Seasonal Kyoto sweets right near the famous temples – Kyodai-ji and Kiyomizudera

Jumodo (十文堂)

address: 京都府京都府京都市东山区玉水町76

Jumodo is a modern Kyoto zakka-style approach to traditional sweets. They have a well designed website and beautiful graphics for their menus and signage. But, Jumodo is still a really cute 4 table sweets place located perfectly next to many Kyoto famous sights.

I decided to stop in and fortify for the temple walks ahead and I was very satisfied I did.
jumondo-kyoto-sweets-cafe jumondo-miso-dango-kyoto-sweets

Man ordered the Modan set (もだん) which includes red bean and mochi monaka, along with a mitarashi kinako (honey peanut) and sweet miso dangos.jumondo-monaka-mitarashi-dango

The monaka to make yourself were temple bells. So cute for Kyoto.

kyoto sweets jumondo-roasted-chestnuts-matcha-latte

I ordered the roasted chestnuts (栗きんとん kuri-kinton) and a matcha latte. I’m usually anti-chestnuts but wanted to order a seasonal item since it was Fall. These were incredibly delicious and although I sampled my man’s items the chestnuts were my favorite.

kyoto sweets at kyoto cafes

The homey outside of Jumodo.


200 year old Amazake Kyoto Sweets

Osakaya Kouji Cafe (大阪屋こうじ)

address: 605-0037 京都市東山区三条通神宮道西入ル西町147-1

Amazake (甘酒) means sweet sake. It’s a very low (or no) alcohol sweet wine enjoyed during New Years. 200 year old Amazake makers Osakaya opened up a cafe called Kouji in Kyoto that serves mainly Amazake flavored items.

Kouji (website from the 90s here) is pretty much the only place I can find where you can eat amazake ice cream or try an amazake latte. So it’s definitely worth it for the one of a kind experience. And who else can you trust to make you the best amazake but a company that has been doing it for over 200 years?

It’s near several temples and shrines including Zuikoji and a small walk from the Inari station which is next to the famous Fushimi-Inari shrine.

The hostess was very kind and offered us an English menu so don’t feel afraid on stopping by!

amazake kyoto cafeamazake-drink-kyoto-osakaya

My man chose the traditional Amazake. Served with a spoon to eat some of the sweet rice, but mainly a drink.

amazake-latte-osakaya

I went for the Amazake Latte complete with matcha sprinkled top. Was very sweet but good.

amazake-icecream-kouji-kyoto amazake-kyoto-icecream-hazlenuts

The highlight for us both. Amazake ice cream with hazlenuts. Very light and delicious!

amazake-kyoto-kouji-osakaya-dining

If the one-of-a-kind items aren’t enough maybe the atmosphere will draw you in? A lovely garden and seating areas.


Enjoy a parfait in Gion

Gion Kinana (祇園 きなな)

address: 京都市東山区祇園町南側570-119

In the lovely old area of Gion away from the busy and tourist-packed Shijo-dori is Gion Kinana. The official name for the brand is Kyo Kinana (京きなな) but its store is named Gion Kinana. Kinana is both traditional and not. It’s founded by a Japanese chef who was making French food and finally after a few moves settled in Gion in 2004.

gion-kinana-kyoto

And why wouldn’t you want to settle in Gion? Gion looks beautiful in any light, but I do like it at twilight especially.

Kinana loved by tourists and locals alike for their seasonal ice creams and parfaits and its small amount of seating on the second floor fills up quickly.

There is an ice cream counter on the first floor but you can only buy one flavor of ice cream on the first and none of the regular menu items. My wait time was about 15 minutes before getting a seat at 5pm. They will sometimes have to split up large parties.

Gion Kinana has a small seasonal menu that rotates, but mainly stays in the yomogi, warabi, matcha traditional Kyoto sweets style.

gion kinana traditional modern japanese sweets

They had two main parfaits for the season:

Left – Kinana Hapon (Nipon)

Warabi Mochi, Red Bean, White mochi with plain, seasame and yomogi ice cream.

Right – Berry Berry Kinana

Yogurt and raspberries make this a “healthy parfait” with plain, seasame and matcha ice cream.

gion-kinana-menu-items

You can also order a half scoop of ice cream and create a menu set. You can choose between the mochi and rollcake set or the mochi and pound cake set.

kyoto sweets gion-kinana-parfait-wa-yomogi

What did I choose? Of course the most wa one! Kinana Hapon! This also included a fresh chestnut (maron) and a shogoin yatsuhashi (聖護院八ツ橋総 | site). Yatsuhashi is a cinnamon flavored sweet made with rice flour. Shogoin yatsuhashi made these into curved cookies that are famous in Kyoto. Kit Kat even picked them as their Kyoto flavor in 2013.

I got the pound cake set which was delicious.

Although Gion Kinana is a sweets cafe do not expect to get a latte or any coffee. Only simple green tea is served here along with juice or sparkling water. The parfait was huge and although I finished I couldn’t stomach food for a long time afterwards. Definitely bring your appetite!


Google Map of all Kyoto food and sweets recommendations

Places I’ve tried and sometimes blogged about on this site. Click through and read why I think it’s a good choice.

So much good food to enjoy in Kyoto! I’ve got two upcoming sakura related posts about Kyoto and then I’ll be hoping to some other places in Japan for food and travel. But this blog is soon going to get very sakura so be prepared for the pinkness :dotbow:

 

I love blogging about Japanese local foods, read all the posts here.

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I’ve been using Les Merveilleuses Laduree make-up line for three years and in those years I keep meaning to do blog post after blog post about them, but I haven’t. But finally here we go! First all about the brand along with in-store photos, then I’ll break down their make-up line the good and the bad which will be a multipost.

 

Get to know Les Merveilleuses Laduree

What is Les Merveilleuses Laduree?

website: http://www.lm-laduree.com/

Laduree is a French luxury sweets maker that has been around since 1862. Yup 1862! It’s one of the most famous sweets brands in the world and I’ve been lucky enough to sample their wares in Versailles. They’re very popular in Japan with several shops.

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree launched in 2012. Les Merveilleuses meaning marvelous in French are according to the Laduree website post-revolution “goddesses of liberty”.

Les-Merveilleuses-by-Laduree-brandstory2
Les-Merveilleuses-by-Laduree-brandstory

You can read the full story on their English website here

It seems like an odd combination for a luxury sweets maker to do a make-up line. However, Make-up is one of the most profitable money making schemes by luxury houses. Its speculated that Chanel makes 80-90% of its revenue in makeup, skincare and fragrance! (Chanel is a private holding so they don’t have to release profit breakdowns) So if you’d like to make some paper, make-up is where it’s at!

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree is Asia only for now

Although Laduree is a French brand, Les Merveilleuses Laduree is a mostly Japanese brand. It was launched in Japan first and has expanded into other parts of Asia (Taiwan and Hong Kong). It is around Sephora Paris locations but only a few products unlike their stand alone stores, I’m not sure how much it is anymore.

They also have a soap and lotion small line that began around 2013. In 2014 they expanded into skincare with a small line based on the pearl whitening.

Les Merveilleuses has no e-commerce site and they do not sell to third parties. So the in-store experience is the only way to buy. imomoko.com sells the brand at a price-hike here Les Merveilleuses Laduree.

Behind the Brand

Laduree teamed up with the make-up manufacturers Albion the same people behind Paul and Joe Beaute, Anna Sui and Jill Stuart Beauty to create their line.

In Japanese it’s レ・メルヴェイユーズ ラデュレ
Yes Les Merveillesus by Laduree is expensive. It’s aimed at being a boutique luxury brand.

Brand vs. Les Merveilleuses Laduree Price comparison

I’ve decided to use Japanese yen and the Japanese prices on the cosmetics to directly compare. I chose to other brands of MAC and Chanel to show you the price difference on various items. MAC and other overseas brands are more expensive in Japan FYI.

Powder cheek blush

LM Laduree – 4,500 yen for compact and blush refill
MAC – 4,300 yen
Chanel – 5,500 yen

Lip Stick

LM Laduree – 2,500 yen
MAC – 3,132 yen
Chanel – 4,000 yen

Face Powder

LM Laduree – 4,500 yen for compact and powder refill
MAC – 4,100 yen
Chanel – 5,800 yen

 

The stores

Ahh it’s like being in Versailles but more homey. Lovely little jewel boxes of stores with comfy padded benches that you sit on waiting for your order to be rung up. Lots of light and mirrors. Just scroll down below to see how beautiful everything is, don’t just take my word for it.

 

The service

The service is definitely top level. I feel like Les Merviellueses are very conscientious about offering this experience. Their store is Versailles, you are a Princess because you’re there. After six months the staff remembers my name. Admittedly I’m a foreigner and I buy often there when I’m there, but still I appreciate the quality of service. The staff are all friendly and suggestive without being pushy. They also hold special in-store events for its clients to sample new releases or reserve seasonal items. I would say it’s very similar to a brand store in that respect.

Once you’re in their system they track your purchases which is terribly helpful when you want a blush refill and can’t remember the numbers. They’ll just look it up for you! You won’t expect to chat up about their personal lives like gyaru shop staff, but the staff are very lovely.

laduree-makeup-lm-harajuku-purchase-shopping-bag

Here is how my first purchase from Les Merveilleuses by Laduree looked. The lace bag held primer and foundation samples.

The more often you buy the more samples they’ll give you. My experience inside luxury stores and in luxury make-up counters is very similar to Les Merveilleuses.

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree makeup in store shots

I wish I could’ve taken higher quality shots of the inside, but photos aren’t usually allowed. I was allowed to take a few iPhone photos to showcase Frances. Because Frances is life, follow her on instagram at franceslovesyou!

All of the photos were taken at their La Foret Harajuku store which I mentioned in my Tokyo make-up and skincare post.

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree makeupladuree-makeup-lm-harajuku-store-frances

laduree-makeup-frances-les-merveilleuses laduree-makeup-harajuku-les-merveillueses-rose laduree-makeup-lm-harajuku-christmas-cards laduree-makeup-lm-harajuku-store-blush Les Merveilleuses by Laduree makeup laduree-makeup-lm-harajukuladuree-makeup-lm-les-harajuku laduree-makeup-lm-inside

Although I did not watermark these photos, please credit and link back to Universal-Doll if you share on tumblr, pinterest etc…

Next up about Les Merveilleuses Laduree is make-up reviews and recommendations on where to spend and not in their product line.

 

I like to blog and review about kawaii make-up from Japan and Korea. Check all the posts here.

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Before I go down the Otona Kawaii trends road and talk about trends I have to shout out Emi x Lea’s blogpost for their excellent description of Ane Agejo. Oneegyaru was a mixed and murky world and putting out Ane Agejo as a definition to discuss how Oneegyaru is melding with Agejo and how Agejo as we once knew it is disappearing.

I’ve talked about Otona Kawaii style before in during my Sweet magazine talk and also throughout blog posts to see shop staffs dressing in it. This season I thought it’d be fun to break up trend talks into genres and not just an all encompassing one. Since Larme takes cues from Otona Kawaii of course some of the trend talk may be similar, but I think there’s some good differences to point out.

Otona Kawaii is also known as Sweet-kei because of the popular Sweet magazine.

I’ll be talking about Otona Kawaii brands: Snidel, Lily Brown, Mercury Duo, Lodispotto, Rirantrue, Dazzlin, Misch Masch, Titty & Co and Royal Party

Otona Kawaii trend One – Knit Top and Flare Skirt

otonakawaii-flare-neckline

Lily Brown | Mercury Duo

No simple scoop neckline for Otona Kawaii this season. Instead the flare skirt in lace, retro print or big floral (all trends) gets dressed up with either off-shoulder (like in the Larme trends), or a v-cut or sweatheart cut.

Now this is a common look for Otona Kawaii, the knit-skirt combination. But instead of a scoop neckline or a cardigan with a tight neck, the neckline change is the big point of note for this season. Retro short cardigans seem to be not as popular this season.

Otona Kawaii trend Two – Trench Coats

otona-kawaii-trench-coat

Misch Masch | Royal Party | Lily Brown

This is an early Spring trend that may drop off when the heat and humidity lead to summer, but girly colors of trench coats are a big commodity for Otona Kawaii brands. Most brands I looked for were doing this coat in one pastel or another.

Otona Kawaii trend Three – Girly Denim

otona-kawaii-girly-denim

Lodispotto | Snidel | Titty & Co

Now Otona Kawaii magazines seem to be pushing this wide leg denim pant. And it’s cute. But I can’t see it being as popular as denim done girly ways. Case in point the Snidel denim dress is sold out but not the pants.

Otona Kawaii trend Four – Gown Coats

otona-kawaii-lace-gowns

Diecy | Snidel | Lily Brown

Trench coats will give way to gown coats. Perfect for that UV protection during Spring/Summer without overheating. Long lengths are popular now, but maybe they’ll give way to short when it gets warmer? Lots of ways to style these but they look best with similar numbers like the denims and not the lace embroidery.

This is my most questionable trend forecast. Larme brands tried this last summer without much success, but maybe it was just the first push. Gaucho pants needed that before they were everywhere. Aomojikei brands also seem to be picking this up for the Spring.

Otona Kawaii trend Five – Big Floral

otona-kawaii-big-floral-dress

Royal Party | Mercury Duo | Miia

Big Floral sounds too close to Big Oil, like it’s some monster set of corporations taking over Otona Kawaii fashion. Big Floral… well florals are a cornerstone of Otona Kawaii so it kind of is. Brainwashed by BIG FLORAL!

otona-kawaii-big-floral-setups

Snidel | Rirantrue | Mercury Duo

In this case big floral is really popping up in mini dresses, set-ups and long dresses. I love those cute and casual floral set-ups. So perfect to transition to summer. Great for Spring dates and casual strolls.

other trends of note: lace-up oxfords, silver shoes

Onee-Gyaru doing Otona Kawaii trends

Something I’d like to point out is a lot of the Onee-gyaru brands are doing a lot of these trends but a touch different. I’d like to show them below to show how you could use them in an Otona Kawaii wardrobe, but how they are Onee-gyaru as they are. I think it’s a good visual to see how trends may be the same, but style tribes interpret them differently.

otonakawaii-trends-as-oneegyaru-trends

 Resexxxy | Rady

From the recent Onee-gyaru spring collections. The trench coat, girly denim and big floral trends all will be popular with Onee-gyaru but in a definite Onee-gyaru style.

Rienda – The Otona Kawaii and Onee-Gyaru bridge

otona-kawaii-oneegyaru-rienda-spring

Lately it seems Rienda is doing a much more adult style, and not in the way that Rady is doing or other Onee-gyaru brands. It seems their style is a bit more simple and not as flashy as Onee-gyaru brands. For that reason they are a bridge between Onee-Gyaru and Otona Kawaii. They fit both categories.

Past trends for Spring 2016: Larme trends for Spring

I will probably wrap this up with an Aomojikei trends for Spring and then shut down trend forecasting to focus on other trends that pop up through the season or back to brand spotlights.

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Cha Kaiseki at Minoko is one of the rare cuisines to sample in Kyoto. Kyoto for being the center of cultural Japan lacks in a lot of traditional cuisine. Mainly Kyoto is known for sweets (post up coming), kaiseki and obanzai. Compared to neighbor Osaka which is known as the kitchen of Japan, Kyoto’s sickly. But the refinement of Kyoto cuisine is just lovely.

Minoko (website | english blog about it | Japanese: 美濃幸 | address:
605-0821 京都府京都市東山区 祇園下河原通清井町480) is a 100 year old teahouse which serves cha-kaiseki for lunch and full kaiseki for dinner.

Kaiseki is a multi-course meal that has origins in the tea ceremony but has developed into mini dishes change according to seasons and location of the kaiseki being held. It is an expensive and luxurious affair. Kaiseki is also known as the onsen (hot spring resort) meal and many onsens pride themselves on their kaiseki as much as their hot healing waters. Cha-kaiseki is more of a smaller relaxed meal and is usually a lunchtime event. If you’d like to learn more Kaiseki wiki english page is actually quite good.

Reservations thankfully were not required for lunch and we came early enough to be seated quickly.

I was a bit nervous so I didn’t take as many pictures as I should, I mean I was at an 100 year old teahouse that served what is thought be as high cuisine. This was not a camera moment, but I had to sneak a few. Since Minoko did lovely sakura themed items I thought I’d post it now for the upcoming flood of sakura travel posts.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-minoko

We came early enough that inside their main tearoom we got the choice spot near the garden window. Birds and turtles played in the streams inside.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-bento

Cha-kaiseki is usually served in a black laquer bento box. Ours had two levels. First level was first meal (upper right box): a plate of vegetables and cooked fish. Second level (center) was a light fish and broccoli mix (left) along with a chawan mushi or fish custard (unopened center).

kyoto-minoko-bento-cha-kaiseki

Looking at me you can se the first course laid out on the right.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-fish

A close-up of the delicately sauced fish and spring vegetables.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-minoko-mealkyoto-cha-kaiseki-sakura-container

Of course right on the left in a wooden pot and right was this lovely sakura lacquerware that held miso soup.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-minoko-tea

Since it was a cha-kaiseki or tea-kaiseki hot green tea was kept fresh in a pot. The green jar (far right) held sweetener.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-stonewarekyoto-cha-kaiseki-sakura-fish

Absolute winner for me was this pot reveal. It’s actually a fish dish in a salted light sauce, but made to look like the traditional sakura mochi. Seasonal, clever and light on the palate.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-strawberries

Dessert came in the form of fresh fruit. This is typical for a lot of nicer traditional restaurants.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-matcha

Finally bowl-like cups of freshly made matcha and sweet snacks.

kyoto-cha-kaiseki-sakura-candy

Sakura!! And a peanut jelly. So sugary but worth it!

Our meal was 3,500 yen for lunch a peice ($32). Prices for dinner start at 12,000yen ($110). I highly recommend lunch. It was a great experience and the food was elegant yet filling. After the hustle and stress of traveling it was such a relaxing moment.

Update! Google Map of all of my Kyoto Food and Sweets recommendations

Other Kyoto cuisine: shojin ryori / obanzai which I sampled in Arashiyama, kaiseki courses in the heart of Gion there is Gion Endo and I ate there back in 2008 it was delicious and I still remember the food (english) and an upcoming post all about Kyoto traditional sweets.

I’m on a trend right now of food and travel | fashion | make-up/skincare and I think I’m going to follow that trend for a while in posting cycles so up next… fashion!

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