Savor new style Japanese! Sweets & cafes in Kyoto
What comes into your mind as typical sweets in Kyoto?
Many people may say wagashi with matcha, azuki red beans, or so on. However, there are now many Japanese sweets in Kyoto, which can be enjoyed in a new style while preserving traditional tastes. We introduce cafes serving such latest “new Japanese” sweets!
Gion Kitagawa Hanbee 祇園 北川半兵衞
This cafe serving Japanese tea is operated by a traditional tea wholesaler. While the exterior, over 120 years old, is typical of machiya (traditional wooden townhouses), the interior is modern with a luxurious atmosphere. You can enjoy various kinds of Japanese tea along with special sweets prepared by its patissier. “Chayomi” is a set, which comes with five kinds of tea, including matcha, sencha, hojicha, Japanese oolong tea, and Japanese black tea, along with five kinds of sweets in bite-sized pieces. As the tea is served in a glass, you can enjoy it without worrying about formal tea manners.
Sasaya Iori, Bettei 笹屋伊織 別邸
Sasaya Iori, Bettei is a new-style cafe under the theme of “wagashi-style meal,” which is operated by traditional Kyoto confectioner “Sasaya Iori.” It serves a variety of beautiful, delicious Japanese sweets, including “Matcha Parfait” with a nice combination of smooth matcha cream and crispy texture of monaka shell, as well as savory dishes using wagashi ingredients, which were created under the wholly new concept. Some are only available at this place, such as “Iori no Ohagi,” which requires a spoon to eat.
eXcafe Kyoto Arashiyama Main Store
Located in one of the alleys in Arashiyama, this cafe uses a renovated old house. Once inside, you will be surrounded by Japanese art and can get a nice view of the Japanese garden through the windows. “Hokuhoku Odango Set” is a fun set, where you can grill odango (dumplings on a skewer) on your own clay charcoal stove and eat them with your favorite sauce, such as mitarashi (soy-and-sugar syrup) or tsubu-an (coarse sweet red bean paste). Turn your skewers on the baking rack while enjoying the nice roasted aroma, and eat them when they are grilled just right for you.
ENFUSE at Kyoto City KYOSERA Museum of Art
There is even a cafe like this!
Kyoto City KYOSERA Museum of Art reopened after renovation in May, 2020. This museum cafe looks up at the Grand Torii Gate of Heian Jingu Shrine through “Glass Ribbon,” a unique glass window. Among various drinks and dishes, seasonal wagashi sweets with a design based on the collection of the museum is a must-see (eat)! It is a perfect place to drop by after enjoying art.