Enjoy Breads and Pastries with Japanese Ingredients! 5 Recommended Bakeries in Kyoto
[Local College Students Tell All!] Most people think of traditional Japanese food when Kyoto comes up, but the truth is, it is the prefecture that consumes the most bread in all of Japan. There are various unique bakeries around Kyoto, and this article will introduce five of them. You’ll find out about one particular bread or pastry in every listed bakery that uses Japanese ingredients.
Jan 16 2018 (May 20 2020)
1. Yuzu Shiro Miso Anpan (Gebacken Sennyu-ji Temple Branch)
First up on the list is Gebacken. Its main branch is in Fushimi-ku, but it is recommended to visit their Sennyu-ji Temple branch if you are in Kyoto for sightseeing. The location is near Tofuku-ji Temple, which is very popular with tourists for its beautiful views. For example, you can see green leaves in the summer and fall foliage in the autumn.
They always have 70 selections of bread and pastries available, which range from hard and crusty breads to sweet pastries. There is an eat-in space on the second floor, where you can enjoy their breads and pastries right after purchase.
You absolutely need to try their Yuzu Shiro Miso Anpan (160 yen), which is a Danish bread that incorporates white miso (shiro miso) yeast and white bean paste (shiro an), which is frequently used in Japanese sweets. White miso is mainly used in the Kansai region of Japan, and is characterized by its sweetness, which is stronger compared to other types of miso.
Yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus) and cherry leaves are added to the paste, which has a refined sweetness, to make it stand out. Chewy rice flour dumplings (shira-tama) are added as toppings, making it remarkably filling.
Besides this pastry, here are two more recommended breads: there's the Kyo Dashi-maki Shokudo, which has rolled omelettes that are fried up using a special type of dashi (broth), as well as the Shiro Miso no Nasu Dengaku, which involves adding bacon and eggplants (nasu), and then seasoning everything with white miso.
2. Murasaki Imo Anpan Hana no Iro wa... (Boulangerie Mash Kyoto)
Boulangerie Mash Kyoto is located in Shijo Kawaramachi, which is known as Kyoto's top business district, making it easy to visit in-between shopping or sightseeing. It is a small shop that's housed in a refurbished old-fashioned townhouse.
They have plenty of breads and pastries that use Kyoto ingredients, such as the Kujo Negi to Bacon no Yaitan that uses Kujo green onions (negi) grown in Kyoto, as well as the Fujitsubo that consists of dough that incorporates powdered green tea (matcha) and Gyokuro (high-quality green tea) from Ippodo Tea Co. - a well-established tea store - that has been wrapped around red bean paste (azuki-an) and green tea-flavored rice flour dumplings.
This is the Murasaki Imo Anpan Hana no Iro wa... (180 yen) that has an edible violet on top. It was created based on sweets in Kyoto, and its dumpling (manju) appearance is cute!
The soft white dough is baked with sakadane - a type of yeast made from the same unrefined sake (Japanese alcohol) that's used in Kyoto's sake breweries. The inside is filled with mellow-tasting purple sweet potato (murasaki imo) paste.
3. California Uji (Boulangerie Rauk Main Branch)
Next up on the list is Boulangerie Rauk Main Branch, which is within walking distance from Kyoto Station, the gateway to sightseeing in Kyoto. This small yet famous bakery provides the breads served at Il Ghiottone, a famous Italian restaurant whose reservations are difficult to get a hold of.
Their hard and crusty breads, along with their baguettes, are popular. However, their soft and doughy breads are also delicious!
This California Uji (160 yen) is the bakery's signature bread. It won the grand prize at a contest!
Before baking, red beans and walnuts are kneaded into the soft dough that uses Uji green tea. The slight sweetness and the walnut’s fragrance are addictive.
Their Mochi Mochi that incorporates Gyuhi (a traditional Japanese sweet made up of sugar and starch syrup that's been kneaded into rice flour) and black beans that have been wrapped in soft bread dough is also highly recommended. As its name suggests, it has a chewy and sticky (mochi mochi) texture that is surprisingly attractive. They also have other varieties of breads, such as danishes, bagels, and sandwiches.
4. Shiba-zuke Tartar Katsu Sandwich (Oreno Pan Gion Branch + Cafe)
Oreno Pan Okumura is a bakery that was created and is managed by a famous French restaurant called "Gion Okumura". Other than this Gion branch, they also have branches in Kyoto Station and Shijo Karasuma.
The reason why the Gion branch was chosen over the others was because it's the only branch with a cafe space, allowing you to enjoy not only their breads, but also dishes like pain perdu (French toast), tartine (a slice of bread with a sweet or savory topping), soup, etc.
This particular sandwich is what's highly recommended. Katsu sandwiches, made of cutlets sandwiched in-between soft slices of bread, are classic and standard at many shops. However, this place's Shiba-zuke Tartar Katsu Sandwich (500 yen) is special, as it can be distinguished by its usage of shiba-zuke (a traditional pickled dish in Kyoto). The saltiness of the shiba-zuke perfectly matches the juicy, thick cutlets. Japanese greens such as potherb mustard (mizuna) and perilla (oba) leaves are also included, making it a sandwich that's full of Japanese tastes!
*This place has closed down.
5. Anpa-nyu (Eight)
The last bakery on the list is the extremely popular bakery, eight. It is so popular that people actually come all the way to its vicinity just to purchase its breads! It is located near Fujimori Station, which is only two stops from Fushimi Inari, a popular sightseeing spot.
There are about 50 types of breads lined up in this bakery, which is glass-walled and has a stylish interior. Around half of them are hard crusted breads, which match well with food and wines.
Among this large selection, the Anpa-nyu (180 yen) is the must-try.
The dough - made with rye or whole wheat flour - is shaped into the size of a palm before being baked. Red bean paste and butter are then spread into the bread. With this bread, the light sweetness of the red beans and the rich buttery flavor will spread throughout your mouth, and every chew will bring you the great taste of the dough.
They have many breads with flavors that adults will love that come highly recommended, such as the Rum Raisin Anpan - consisting of white bean paste (shiro-an), raisins, and walnuts wrapped in brioche dough - and their Smoked Cheese to Kuro Goma that consists of baked dough with embedded smoked cheese and black sesame seeds (kuro goma).
The bakeries in this article were chosen to be easy to visit while sightseeing around Kyoto. You might not find the breads you want depending on the time and season, but all these shops already come with well-established tastes, so there's no need to worry! You should be able to enjoy and consume any bread or pastry at any of these bakeries!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.