ATTRACTIONS WITHIN THE VICINITY OF MATSU SHO AN
Matsu Sho An is situated in the heart of Kyoto.
Located just south of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the neighbourhood of Matsu Sho An is steeped in culture and history, with many famous temples, shrines, long-established businesses and restaurants dotting the landscape. During the Meiji period when Matsu Sho An was first built, the neighbourhood was considered an elite residential and commercial area; it remains so today.
TERAMACHI DORI (street)
Matsu Sho An is just a stone’s throw away from Teramachi-dori, one of the most famous streets in Kyoto.
The many temples and shrines along this street give it an air of calm and serenity. Teramachi-dori and the adjoining Ebisugawa-dori, which is one street south of Matsu Sho An, are also well known for their many specialist stores and antique shops selling traditional wares and antique furniture.
The portion of Teramachi-dori within the vicinity of Matsu Sho An, is also famous for its many art galleries, famous eateries and restaurants.
One of the more famous temples located within close proximity of Matsu Sho An is Shimogoryo Shrine. Built in 1791 after being re-located from the Imperial Palace, the Shrine was originally founded in the early Heian period when Emperor Ninmyo (810-850) reigned. It is currently the guardian shrine for the Imperial Palace.
For tea lovers, the Ippodo Tea Warehouse is a famous landmark located about 50 metres from Matsu Sho An.
A 300 year-old Japanese specialist tea emporium, Ippodo Tea Warehouse sells some of the finest green tea in Japan. It is also a historical building, attracting many visitors who sit in the tearoom overlooking a serene garden while savouring their cup of tea and reflecting on life’s adventures.
Just south of Ippodo Tea Warehouse is Kamiji Kakimoto, a famous shop selling traditional washi or Japanese handmade paper. Here you will find thousands of traditional washi in a myriad of colours, styles, textures and patterns.
PROXIMITY TO THE SHOPPING AREA OF KYOTO
The intersection of Teramachi-dori and Oike-dori is the start of the covered portion of Teramachi Arcade and Shinkyogoku Arcade and it leads to the shopping areas of Sanjo-dori, Kawaramachi-dori and Shijo-dori. The Teramachi Arcade and Shinkyogoku Arcade are the mecca for the young and the young at heart. Filled with a variety of fashion stores, curio shops, trendy cafes and restaurants, it is a leisurely 10-minute stroll from Matsu Sho An.
Be sure to visit the famous Nishiki market, and have an eel meal at Kaneyo a restaurant specialising in eel for more than 100 years. Or try some of the specialty tea at the Lupicia Tea Company, which is located in the Teramachi Arcade.
Within walking distance of about 10 minutes to the east of Matsu Sho An is the famous and scenic Kamogawa / Kamo River, the symbol of the city which has been mentioned in many historical works and literature. The river banks provide a popular scenic walk for tourists and local residents.
The area is also filled with a variety of restaurants that are usually known only by the locals. Explore these hidden gems when you are looking for places that offer a nice meal.
Places To Eat
A visit to Kyoto would not be complete without savouring some of its finest restaurants, cafes and other eating places within the vicinity of Matsu Sho An. What follows are some recommendations that you might wish to try; though we encourage to explore the quaint alleys and lanes for other ridden gems.
If you are looking for a nearby places to eat, one can always find a hearty breakfast for about ¥700 at Shinshindo Teramachi, a bakery and restaurant located along Teramachi-dori, about 20 metres from Matsu Sho An.
The cafe has an extensive English menu, and provides a wonderful continental and western breakfast for under JYP1,000, with refillable cups of coffee and tea. It is a great place to start the day. The cafe also serves a delicious western lunch menu, with a wide assortment of all-you-can-eat bread. One can also buy cakes, bread and pastries from the bakery for a nice afternoon tea.
About 20 metres from Matsu Sho An is Sumiyaki Akari, a famous chicken yakitori restaurant located along Teramachi-dori. Stylishly housed in a black timber panelled 2-storey building, the restaurant serves one of Kyoto’s most excellent grilled chicken in a variety of styles and flavours. The atmosphere in the restaurant is stylish yet casual, with black walls, timber screens and a long, beautiful Japanese wood table overlooking the chefs in action.
One of the best kept secrets known mainly to the locals is the restaurant Shiawase Gohan. Located on Fuyacho-dori which is to the north of and two streets perpendicular to Matsu Sho An, the restaurant is only a 3-minute walk away. Shiawase Gohan, which literally means Happy Meals, is a cosy restaurant serving Japanese food with a western fusion mix as the chef was also trained in Italy.
Located along Fuyacho-dori but south of Matsu Sho An is the highly regarded Hafuu Honten (the original). Originally a butcher shop, Hafuu is well known for its top-quality beef, and serves other appetizing Japanese cuisine in a modern fusion style.
Further south of Matsu Sho An but still within a 5-minute walking distance is a restaurant with a 170 year-old history. Suehiro has been serving Kyoto-style sushi since the time Matsu Sho An was built. This style of sushi – called Kyosushi – is quite different from Edo-style sushi and is worth a try. You can read a review of this restaurant at the Kyoto Restaurant Guide.
For a break from Japanese food, there is the simple yet elegant French restaurant, Blanc Pierre, a famous but low-key restaurant listed in Kyoto’s Michelin Guide 2015. Just one street away and south of Matsu Sho An, the restaurant is located on Gokomachi-dori and is about a 3-minute walk away.
Another famous French restaurant Mechant Loup is located along Teramachi-dori and about 100 metres from Matsu Sho An. A modern-style restaurant with an elaborate menu designed to arouse the senses, it is ideal for formal dinners with a twist.
Further south from Mechant Loup is a charming Lyon-style French bistro called Le Bouchon. For casual French fare at reasonable prices, Le Bouchon is a great choice. Like a good Parisian bistro, it tends to be boisterous, crowded and approachable. You can read a review of the restaurant on the Lonely Planet.
Other Notable Restaurants
Another restaurant with a long history that is within walking distance of Matsu Sho An is Honke Owariya, a restaurant that has been open since 1465 – making the 550 year-old restaurant one of the oldest in the world. Located south-west of Matsu Sho An, Honke Owariya is located along Kurumaya-cho–dori, about a 10-minute walk from Matsu Sho An but well worth the trip. Sample their famous soba noodles and dashi (Japanese soup/stock) specially made with well water.
They have a branch in Sanjo-dori, within a 15 to 20-minute walking distance from Matsu Sho An that is located on Kiyamachi-dori, overlooking the Kamogawa River. In summer, they even have tables where you can dine on a terrace next to the river. Go early evening before the sun sets and it’s a nice experience, eating beef sushi and some of the best beef in the world.
For a 3-star Michelin dining experience, Nakamura is nearby, a 15-minute walk south of Matsu Sho An. This restaurant opened its doors in 1827; about 40 years before Matsu Sho An was built. It serves kyo-ryori kaiseki (a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner).