When one hears of Kyoto, the rich history and culture of Imperial Japan come to mind. Another thing that Kyoto is well known for is its Japanese sweets shops and cafes, with matcha or green tea as the most popular choice. This article lists some of the best sweets shops and cafes that Kyoto has to offer!
Saryo Tsujiri Gion is perhaps one of the most popular green tea houses in Kyoto. Tsujiri is well known for their Japanese tea and matcha desserts. This 155-year-old Japanese tea brand was established by Riemon Tsuji in 1860 in Uji, Kyoto. Since then, they have strived to serve matcha that is genuine and of the highest quality.
Gion Kinana is the name of the store, but the official name of the brand is Kyo Kinana. Located along Shijo Street, it is one of the most popular and most recommended places to visit in Kyoto. They serve ice cream made with kinako or roasted soybean flour. A recommended menu is their Kinana Sanshumori, a dish with three different flavors of ice cream, perfect for people who want to taste several flavors at a time.
Located in Nishiki Market, Nishiki Ichiha is a cafe that serves matcha dishes and desserts. The cafe’s signature dish is their Nishiki Ichiha Fondue, which is served in a three-story box. The drawers are filled with desserts that you can dip into the matcha fondue on top of the box. Aside from their fondue, they also serve other matcha desserts and even matcha noodles.
Osakaya is an amazake maker who set up a cafe in Kyoto which serves amazake-flavored dishes. Amazake is the Japanese word for “sweet sake,” a sweet beverage with little to no alcohol content and is usually enjoyed on New Year’s. Osakaya Kouji is one of the few places where you can try amazake desserts and drinks.
Nakamura Tokichi first opened in 1854 as a tea shop. Now, it is a very famous traditional matcha restaurant in Uji. Because of its popularity, it is highly recommended to visit early because there can be long lines in front of the restaurant before it even officially opens. This cafe offers a “Hiki-cha and Tea Ceremony Experience” where visitors can grind matcha tea leaves and use the powder to make tea and eat other matcha sweets.
Kagizen Yoshifusa is a traditional sweets shop that sells various wagashi or Japanese sweets. The shop is located in Gion’s shopping street and has a 300-year history. Kyoto is filled with different sweets and matcha shops, but Kagizen Yoshifusa is the recommended place for first-timers. A famous dish is their kuzukiri, which are translucent noodles made from arrowroot served with brown syrup.
Kyo Hayashiya is another tea house and dessert cafe famous for its Japanese sweets and drinks. The shop’s specialty is their matcha warabi mochi or green tea bracken-starch dumplings. They also have a wide assortment of matcha dishes and are known for being the origin of the matcha parfait.
For visitors thirsty for knowledge and with a sweet tooth, Kyoto is the perfect place to check out. A lot of the Japanese sweets shops and cafes in the area are actually near cultural landmarks. After a tiring day of traveling, desserts from these shops can give the sweet ending to a perfect day.