Sagano-yu is an unusual cafe in the popular Arashiyama area in Kyoto. Formerly a public sento, or bathhouse, the whole building has been converted into a modern cafe while maintaining the highlights of the former bathhouse. Tile art, mirrors and faucets are abundant, giving rise to a feeling of nostalgia. The menu is diverse with the specialty being pancakes and desserts, and lunch sets include light salads and a daily pasta or curry rice. Japanese snacks including flavored rusks and crackers are for sale, too. In addition, artisanal home decorations (zakka) are displayed in the gallery upstairs. Sagano-yu is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the nearest stations within walking distance are JR Saga Arashiyama station and the Keifuku Electric Railway Randen Saga station.
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I first visited Japan in 2001 and since then have returned many times. With the efficiency and reliability of its transportation, the graciousness of the people, and the dedication to quality in food and service, Japan has been my standard for modern travel convenience. Every return has reminded me of the remarkable depth and diversity of the country with no two trips being alike, despite retracing steps through familiar neighborhoods. The constant dynamism of the urban centers combined with the emphasis on tradition, sense of aesthetics, and attention to detail make it one of the most exciting places to visit and an inexhaustible land for novel experiences, modern and ancient.