Sannei-zaka Slope
Traditional Kyoto merchant's houses lining up
Fighting through the crowds at Sannenzaka Slope
January 21, 2016

Get your Cremia fix and yatsuhashi samples here

I find Sannenzaka Slope to be one of those necessary evils you pass through to get to Kiyomizu Temple - it's a street on the hill leading up to Kyoto's most famous tourist destination, and so it is lined with shops toting all manner of Kyoto-esque tchotchkes and the usual green tea-flavoured sweets, ceramics and little glass accessories. It sounds like Arashiyama, except it's narrower and absolutely thronged with busloads of tourists from all around East Asia and a smattering of everyone else in between. There are a few bright spots to being on Sannenzaka Slope. One is that you can also grab yourself a Cremia soft-serve ice cream at one of stands along the slope - it is my favourite soft-serve outside of Hokkaido. The ice cream itself is lush, rich and creamy; what takes it to the next level is the langue du chat cone it comes in. All ice cream cones should be buttery cookies - the worst are the ones that taste like airy styrofoam. Another plus point to this street is that you can basically sample every single flavour of yatsuhashi that you need in Kyoto before buying a box for your coworkers. Some of the shops will hand samples out on little toothpicks, or you can just walk through a shop dipping into the trays of cut up mochi. There are all kinds - green tea with red bean, black sesame, white sesame, strawberry, even ones filled with chocolate. My favourite is almost certainly the chocolate and banana yatsuhashi! Other than that, I'd hesitate really recommending this place as a specific must-visit. Arashiyama on a good day has more space to wander around, and similar shops. Only come here if you're already on the way to Kiyomizu Temple.

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I live in Kyoto and think incessantly about food, both making and eating it. You can find my occasional musings about food at Or more often showing you the places I've been to and what I've eaten on Instagram @furochan_eats. Y

The gentle slope with stone pavement connecting Yasaka and Kiyomizu-dera is called Sannei-zaka. This area is classified as National Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. The souvenir shops selling Kiyomizu ware and Nishijin brocade, etc. are lining up one after another and the street becomes the atmospheric cityscape. There is a superstition that if someone falls down on the stone street, he will die within three years, and that is the reason why this place is called Sannen-zaka. It is a outstanding walking trail for sightseeing after Ninnen-zaka, Nene no Michi and Ishibe-koji.

Sannei-zaka Slope・ District of Sannen-zaka Slope (Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings)

(Kyoto City Tourism Association)

◆Access/City bus from JR Kyoto Station and 6-minute walk after getting off at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop

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