By Euan Prentis
I know I have only been in Japan for one week, but I think I have already enjoyed the finest coffee available in the country. And, at only ¥300 for a latte, I suspect it was probably the cheapest one of such quality I am likely to find for the next month!
Warajiya Cafe and Gallery is a wonderful little spot in Takayama. It is owned and run by the kindest, friendliest gentleman who makes incredible coffees, frappes and tea amidst an expertly curated selection of locally-made ceramics and jewelry. Before sitting down for a delicious hot drink or a refreshing cool one, take some time to browse the items available for purchase. Amongst the goods on display is the work of the owner's son, Tadahiro Nakanishi. His beautiful ceramics in cool blues, olives and greys are sublime, and had I had more room in my luggage I would have liked to have take some home with me.
In fact, if you choose to order a latte, as I did, you will have the chance to enjoy your delicious drink in one of these gorgeous mugs. I was informed that the whilst the coffee was produced from an Italian machine, the beans and barista training was picked up in Chang Mai, Thailand. The nutty notes and light froth were all perfect, and judging by the positive reviews left on the cafe's Facebook page, I am not alone in my high estimation of the spot.
Warajiya is a perfect pitstop on your way to the Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall and Sakurayama Hachiman-gu Shrine, which are both a stones throw away from the coffee shop. On the September afternoon that I visited the area, it was relatively quiet and extremely laid-back - a welcomed change from the frantic rush of the more central areas in the city.
Perhaps I am being overly ambitious in saying that my visit to this cafe was the highlight of my time in Takayama, but I know that I will for sure be back before I leave. That coffee at that price are just too good to not indulge in.
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South African born Anna is a writer with a passion for photography, food and travel. After a sojourn in Vietnam, she moved to Edinburgh where she completed her Masters degree in modern literature. Asia has captured her imagination, and she hopes to see much more of the continent in the near future.