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If you’re heading on foot from Kyoto Station to Toji Temple with its iconic five-story pagoda, the most direct route is to head west on Hachijo-dori until you come to the north gate. At this point I suggest delaying your temple visit and venturing another 20 meters down the road to Cafe Antique, a bijou cafe bathed in white decor and minimally decorated.

Like most independent cafes and kissaten (Japanese coffee shops) it’s a labor of love — and sometimes solitude — for owner and chef Tatsuya Iwasaki. That wee bit of extra distance from the north gate pushes Antique just off the beaten track so that it’s rarely very busy. But there are a few reasons to continue your journey west.

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