Horrible Experience at Kyoto Kanshundo — Sakura Mochi Ice Cream

Greetings from Kyoto

I visited Kanshundo (七條 甘春堂) near The Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple for a late afternoon wagashi and tea snack. I made the mistake of ordering the sakura mocha ice cream, which can be very good. (Like, Chibeta’s Sakura Mochi Ice Cream.) However, Kanshundo’s ice cream was really a lump of ice, no cream as it had not been made recently. It was horrible. The staff was also horrible and their cold, unprofessional service was horrible. I was with a French friend who was visiting Japan for two weeks. When we entered, the staff didn’t greet us the same way they did the Japanese guests. We were treated differently for not being Japanese.
The ‘ice cream’ was frozen so hard when it was served that I had to let it thaw for about 10 minutes before I could break off a bit with the spoon. Horrible, horrible, horrible. They should have just served a lump of ice, and advertised it as such on the menu.

Kanshundo is quite a famous and historic confectionary in Kyoto and I have been to their other ‘honten’ main shop in front of Mimizaka (Ear Tomb) and Toyokuni Shrine for a mediocre and perfunctory wagashi making lesson with overseas guests a few times. It was tolerable.

After we left, on our way to a real meal at Il Ghiottone, we walked past their retail shop just down the street, which was closed by then. I noticed the noren curtain as we walked past. To my huge surprise, I noticed that it was not only worn out and falling apart but that the proprietor had seen fit to put it back together with tape. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Kyoto people can be so low-end and tacky because of their inherent small-mindedness and stinginess. The bad food and bad service made perfect sense after I saw this noren curtain. This should be a huge embarrassment to any Japanese business owner.

I’ve heard it rumored that the Honten and Shichijo shops are now estranged due to family matters and Shichijo Kanshudo is worse than Hoten. Still, the several times I have been to the Honten, I felt the same bad service. So, I’m never going to any Kanshudo again.

More about Sakura Mochi here.
More about quality ice cream in Kyoto here.

Shichijo Kanshundo (七條 甘春堂)
Kanshundo Honten (甘春堂 本店)

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