Imagine traveling the world and picking something, a souvenir, at every stop and opening a café furnished with all those memories when you get back home. This place would be the Wife and Husband café in Kyoto.
Ikumi and Kyoichi Yoshida celebrate the past, its timeless beauty, its warmth and peace. The couple gathered a vast collection of antique clocks and jugs, coffee mills and bird cages, straw hats and silver plates to fill their tiny space that looks like a cozy wooden captain's cabin. It's so beautifully, so intuitively put together, that it's impossible to escape its magic. They set up their open kitchen right in the middle of the room. It's a glass box where Kyoichi roasts the beans and cooks his coffee with the concentrated precision of a scientist, while his wife Ikumi takes care of the food orders. Her honey and blue cheese toast is addictive and one of the reasons why you'll always find a line of people in front of the café, even before they open. This fluffy juicy breakfast creation is moist and sticky, lusciously dripping cheese melted into subtle sweetness. I'd call it one of the best cheese toasts I've ever had in my whole life. The design of the café is the reason why it's a popular spot in Kyoto for instagrammers, yet the food and coffee are the reason why locals and foreigners fall in love with it.
Wife and Husband is a quiet place, the light is dimmed, the ceiling low, it feels a bit like the kitchen at a friend's house, a place where you can sit and sip your coffee, nibble on your sandwich and watch your friend prepare some yummy treats. To watch Ikumi and Kyoichi follow their duties in this little antique cosmos is mesmerizing. Both of them have their tasks that they passionately concentrate on, but as the space is so tight, their movements are woven into each other. "We are like a puzzle," says Ikumi. That never changed. The first time they met they roasted coffee beans together, they still do, and I'm sure they always will.
Outside the café, in front of the large window, you can grab Japanese wooden stools, small tables, and French baskets off heavy metal hooks. It's a beloved attraction to pick up some delicious treats from the café and enjoy a picnic at the Kamo River nearby. It's particularly popular during the cherry blossom season when the river is lined with flaming pink trees all along the banks. It's a stunning scene, eagerly awaited, not just by instagrammers.