Picnics are undeniably romantic.

They have all the ingredients: the warm, nostalgic glow of an English storybook scene or from a flower viewing party in an ukiyo-e print; the innate poetry of the natural world, particularly when spots are chosen with care; and, of course, delicious food.

Kyoto is incontestably picturesque and has some of the most accessible natural spaces in Kansai, from the popular Kamogawa river to the sprawling Botanical Gardens. All perfect for picnics. For couples on the beginning of their dating journey, a day trip to the ancient capital may seem standard, but add in a picnic morning tea or lunch, and it deepens into a core memory.

But why choose a picnic date over one in a café? A café date is an easy, safe option where neither party needs to invest too much time into the preparation or planning of it. But, a picnic will always be a unique experience, a mindful ichi go, ichi e moment; a different season, a new location, a personalised menu. Potential partners witness the other’s romantic side as well as their planning abilities, which can leave a lasting impression while encouraging that elusive element: chemistry.

To further sweeten the suggestion, Kyoto is home to an adorably vintage picnic rental service that makes packing easier and the selfie photos so much cuter.

Kyoto Cafe Wife And Husband Makes Great Picnic Sets

Wife and Husband

Tucked into an alleyway on the west side of Kitaoji-bashi bridge, this tiny café and picnic rental shop goes all in on its idyllic, old world aesthetic. Staff, dressed in all natural fibres, bustle between hanging tin kettles and glass coffee drippers as they prepare the house blends and snacks for customers. Picnickers can rent stools, benches, folding tables, mats and straw hats to complete their image of the perfect ‘Wind in the Willows’ outing for a few hundred yen each piece. While a woven basket with a wicker covered thermos of coffee, ceramic cups and homemade rusk biscuits go for a little over one thousand yen per person. More substantial nibbles, and practicalities like plates and forks, should be purchased prior.

Wife And Husband Café

603 – 8132 Kyotofukyotoshi Kitaku Koyamashimouchikawara-cho 106 − 6

Open: 10:00 – 17:00

Making A Picnic Set For Dating Couple At Wife And Husband Kyoto
The initial rental time limit for picnic equipment is only 90 minutes, which can feel all too brief, especially when the company is good, but this can be extended for 100 yen per item and paid for on return. Another possible inconvenience is that the café itself keeps a week-day schedule, primarily Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as the owners run a coffee roastery on the weekends. Couples that take the time off, however, will get to enjoy a much quieter Kyoto and may even get to sit next to each other on the bus.

The main appeal in choosing Wife and Husband’s service is, of course, the pictures. Creating the most Instagrammable arrangement may not seem significant, but it encourages a sense of shared purpose, which is an important ingredient for deeper relationships. It can also be a lot of fun.

Dating Couple Enjoying Picnic And Sakura Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

Perfect Picnic Spots

For those who choose the rental option, the closest and most convenient location to set up is on the banks of the Kamogawa river, only a few minutes walk away from Wife and Husband. The Kamogawa is one of Kyoto’s favourite outdoor spots, and while spring is perhaps the most obvious timing for a romantic date, the river is gorgeous in all seasons, and is also a fantastic people watching site. University students rehearse their choreographed dance moves, musicians practise everything from the shamisen to the tuba, and a man with a feather in his hat courts crowds of pigeons. The Kamogawa is clean enough to swim in and stretches in a lush line of green, with blue mountains to the north and the faint outline of Daimonji to the east. Beware danger from above, however, as circling black kites swoop unsuspecting snackers, and are said to have a particular taste for the Wife and Husband rusk biscuit.

Picnic Date In Kyoto Great For Couples Of All Ages
Alternatively, a location less known for bird attacks and within an easy walk is the Botanical Garden. With an ever-changing variety of floral beauty and a negligible entrance fee, twosomes can explore one of Kyoto’s few remaining hidden gems, though they may sometimes share the space with crowds of adorable kindergarteners on field trips. Depending on the season, bees and photographers buzz through an extravagant rose garden, choirs of bullfrogs sing in the lotus lily pads, or families hold hanamiparties beneath the hundreds of blooming cherry trees. All year round, visitors can enjoy a lush rainforest environment, warped cactus, and the world’s largest flower flourishing within the giant glass structure of the Conservatory, for a small additional entrance fee. Obviously, with all this abundant natural beauty, the 90-minute rental limit for Wife and Husband items is quite limiting and packing a personal picnic kit or even a bag of convenience store treats, is recommended. However, the garden’s ticket allows same day reentry, so that those who prefer their coffee on an aesthetically pleasing straw mat and in a cup have the chance for a longer stroll later.
Picnic Good Way For Couples To Date And Relax Together

Of course, the prepared romantic should always be aware of factors that could jeopardise their picnic, chief among them, weather, and to have a back-up plan just in case. Luckily, Kyoto is home to excellent museums, galleries and has many delicious coffee shops too.

The beginning of any romance is a time of potential. It’s when the best memories seed, and sweet, relationship creation stories originate for friends to exclaim over and future family members to eye-roll about. The trick is in evoking those sparks of curiosity and delight that see one early date lead to another. If chemistry is a mixture of anxiety and attraction, the picnic date allows participants to show their most aesthetically pleasing sides, while channelling their nerves into a shared project, with the photos to later reminisce over. Though it seems like a little more effort to make a plan for romance, enjoying a unique and memorable date can be as easy as packing a picnic basket.

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