A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
KYOTO: POCKET PRECINCTS Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh
(Hardie Grant, $19.99)
So much smart art and design, now let’s move on to the fabulous eating places and tea houses. Maido! Konichiwa! Welcome to Kyoto! Authors Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh reveal treasures galore in this guide to the city’s best, out on March 1. It’s a place of tradition and history where the influence of ancient temples and shrines (all 2000 of them) touches every aspect of daily life.
“But new generations are renovating old townhouses, setting up exciting new retail spaces and opening cafes, restaurants and stores with their own take on anything from coffee to handmade paper,” the authors say. Take me immediately to Kyoto Design House with its old-meets-new-meets-east-meets-west homewares, accessories and so much more; about 1500 items are exquisitely displayed. Then on to Tsunesaburo Lacquerware for eye- catching striped goblets, tea canisters and appleshaped sugar bowls. Hidden down a residential street find Artbooks Yamazaki with its parchments, scrolls and rare Japanese woodblock prints. Wherever you dine (and the choice is diverse), leave time to pop into Kotobanohaoto, a catthemed dessert cafe in a traditional wooden townhouse. Order a matcha latte then go for the cute Cat Parfait which, in a book of splendid pictures, looks purr-fect.
Much else about this guide is very good. It’s (almost) pocket sized and paperback light. The text is lively and there’s a handy street map. Only one small thing: where did that escalatorlike, falling-over “S” come from in the headline typeface? Snazzy design, I suppose.