A Sumptuous Guide To Kyoto’s Traditional Japanese Sweets

A Sumptuous Guide To Kyoto’s Traditional Japanese Sweets
Keita
Keita
Updated

Kyoto is, no doubt, one of the most popular destinations in Japan. It is a city that blends the best of Japanese culture, history and natural landscapes. Apart from that, Kyoto is also a fantastic place to enjoy Wagashi - traditional Japanese sweets. They are unlike the cakes or parfaits that you commonly enjoy. Their pretty aesthetics and marvellous taste have been known throughout history and here are some of the best places where you can enjoy the most delicious Wagashi in Kyoto!

Seijo Kankidan


Kameyakinogoya sells a unique sweet that many probably have not experienced before. In fact, that shop is the only place where you can find the Seijo Kankidan Wagashi. It was first created all the way back during the Nara era (year 710 - 794) and was originally a sweet meant as an offering. Only the aristocrats got to eat it and most people were not given the opportunity.

The Seijo Kankidan has a hard skin made from a mixture of rice flour and flour, and when you bite into it, a minty yet sweet scent will fill your mouth. This Wagashi is actually filled with 7 different types of herbs such as mint, clove and cinnamon, which represents the originality of the Wagashi. Together with strained red bean paste, this Wagashi that represents Kameyakinogoya has a delightful taste that you should try out.

Kameyakinogoya

Address: 534 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0074

Access info: 7-minute walk from Gion-Shijo station

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 5 pm

Fixed holiday: Wednesday

Contact: +81 75-561-218

Official URL

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Hikichigiri


Hikichigiri means to “pull apart” in Japanese, and is the name of the Wagashi found at a shop called Eirakuya. There are several Eirakuya branches around Kyoto.

It is said that the Wagashi was named as such in the past, when there were not enough people to make mochi (rice cakes) by rolling them, so the people in the imperial court decided to tear them apart to save time.

The Hikichigiri rice cake has a chewy yet soft texture, and is one of the important sweets during festivals in Kyoto.

Eirakuya main branch

Address: Kawaramachi Shijo-dori Agaru, Higashigawa, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

Access info: 3-minute walk from Hankyu Dentetsu Line Kawaramachi station

Opening hours: 10 am - 8 pm

Fixed holiday: nil

Contact: +81 75-221-5170

Official URL

@kyo101010が投稿した写真 -

Black-bean Wagashi and traditional rice cakes

Shinseimame and Gion Chigomochi

On the left of the photo is a Wagashi called Shinseimame - a black-bean based Wagashi that can be found in two shops, either the Takehamayoshiharu or Kanaya-Masahiro. Black bean is coated with a type of powder called Suhamako, created by roasting and milling soy beans together with green peas. Then, some dried seaweed is topped over it.

When you eat the Shinseimame, the Suhamako and dried seaweed will melt in your mouth, creating an interesting taste that reminds one of the ocean.

The Gion Chigomochi, on the right, is one of the Wagashi that represents Kyoto’s Gion Festival. It is a rice cake style Wagashi and the sweet, chewy sweet can be found at a shop called Wakasaya.

Takehamayoshiharu

Address: Shinmachi Higashi, Kitaoji, Kita-ward, Kyoto-city

Access info: 5-minute walk from Kitaoji Station

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 9pm

Fixed holiday: Sunday, Bank Holidays

Contact: +81 75-441-8045

For more info


Wakasaya

Address: 604-8332 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Hashinishichō, 675−4

Access info: 5-minute walk from Tozai Subway Nijojo-Mae station

Opening hours: 9 am - 5:30pm

Fixed holiday: Wednesday

Contact: +81 75-841-1381

Official URL

Rice cakes and rice crackers!


On the right of the photo is a senbei (Japanese rice cracker) called Karaita. It is one of the famous Wagashi from Mizuta Gyoku Undo, a shop found in front of the Kamigoryo Shrine in Kyoto. It is said that the Karaita senbei was first created as a charm against evil when an epidemic occurred more than 1000 years ago. The crispy senbei comes with straightforward senbei colour - light brown - and has a simple yet addictive taste.

The treat at the left of the photo shows the Mugite Mochi, a type of rice cake from the shop called Nakamuraken. Kinako - toasted soybean flour - is poured over the mochi containing grained red bean paste, and has a delicious traditional Japanese Wagashi taste. It is best to enjoy the Mugite Mochi as soon as it is done because it will harden if you leave it to cool down.

Nakamuraken

Address 615-8021 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nishikyō-ku, Katsuraasaharachō, 61

Access info: 3-minute bus ride from Katsura Higashi Guchi bus station

Opening hours: 7:30 am - 6 pm (last order at 5:45 pm)

Fixed holiday: Wednesday

Contact: +81 75-381-2650

Official URL

Chogoro Mochi


The Chogoro Mochi is a red bean paste Wagashi that can be found from the shop named after the sweet. It was first created over 400 years ago. This Wagashi with a long history is a rice cake filled with grained red bean paste. The soft and smooth mochi was given its name by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, an ancient Japanese warrior from 16th-century Japan.

Although you can enjoy this Wagashi from the shop, it is also sold in the Tenmangu Shrine complex on the 25th of every month, New Year, Setsubun festival (that marks the beginning of spring) and during the Japanese apricot season (around spring).

Chogoro Mochi main branch

Address: 602-8336 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kamigyō-ku, Takigahanachō

Access info: 10-minute walk from Kitanohakubaicho station

Opening hours: 8:00 am - 6 pm

Fixed holiday: Thursday

Contact: +81 75-461-1074

Official URL

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Mamedaifuku

Kintoki's Mamedaifuku

Mamedaifuku is a type of soft mochi that is filled with sweet red bean paste. One of the great places where you can enjoy this delightful Wagashi is at a shop called Kintoki, located near the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Located about 8 minutes from the shrine by foot, Kintoki is an acclaimed shop amongst many other big Wagashi shops selling Daifuku despite being a small store. The Mamedaifuku has a soft exterior and a splendid harmony of sweetness and saltiness inside.

Kintoki

Address: 602-8474 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kamigyō-ku, Jōzenjichō

Access info: 5-minute bus ride from Kitanohakubaicho station

Opening hours: 8:30 am - sold out

Fixed holiday: Thursday

Contact: +81 75-462-2175

Ohagi from Otafuku

Otafuku's Ohagi

Ohagi is a type of Wagashi with a rice ball exterior enveloping ingredients such as red bean. At the shop called Otafuku, you can try out different types of unique Ohagi that comes in various flavours and colours. A total of 8 choices are available, including red bean, toasted soy bean, seaweed and black sesame. The vibrant colours make them look like jewellery and it is recommend that you have the Ohagi to go, they will be fantastic during your walk-and-eat exploration of Kyoto!

Otafuku

Address: 605-0811 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Komatsuchō, 564−24

Access info: 9-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo station

Opening hours: 10 am - 7 pm

Fixed holiday: Thursdays and 4th Wednesday of every month

Contact: +81 75-561-6502

Official URL

Feed the hungry insect! Mushiyashinai

Mushiyashinai

Mushiyashinai literally means “to feed the insect”, and means “to snitch food” in the Kyoto dialect - it loosely translates to people satisfying their hunger, “feeding the insect” in their stomach.

Mushiyashinai is the name of one of the Wagashi shops in Kyoto, and the most famous item on its menu is the Omou Tsubo. Omou Tsubo is a unique Wagashi that is served in a small vase. Many chocolate-coated red beans are found in the vase and the sweet red beans create a great taste symphony with the bitter chocolate. You will also be given the pretty vase that can be used to decorate your room!

Mushiyashinai

Address: 606-8115 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Ichijoji Satononishicho, 78

Access info: 16-minute bus ride from Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line Kita-Oji station

Opening hours: 10 am - 8 pm

Fixed holiday: Monday

Contact: +81 75-723-8364

Official URL

Fried Mochi

Jinbado's Yakimochi

Jinbado is a Wagashi shop with over 100 years of history and has been featured in television programmes several times. The most famous menu there is the Yakimochi - fried mochi. The exterior has a unique mixture of crispiness and softness and is filled with red bean paste. It is so popular that the sweets at Jinbado usually sell out by the afternoon, so make sure you visit the shop early!

Jinbado

Address: 603-8065 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kita-ku, Kamigamo Misonoguchichō 4

Access info: 6-minute bus ride from Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line Kita-Oji station

Opening hours: 7 am - 4 pm (or when it is sold out)

Fixed holiday: Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday

Contact: +81 75-781-1377

Official URL

Toji Mochi


Toji is a famous temple in Kyoto, known especially for its five-storey pagoda. Found near the Toji Temple is the aptly named Toji Mochi. The sweet that the shop offers has a simple design - plain white mochi - and it is filled with smooth red bean paste. It has an extremely soft and smooth texture that will melt in your mouth once you bite into it! You can have the Toji Mochi to go but why not have it at the shop while appreciating the beauty of Toji temple?

Toji Mochi

Address: 601-8428 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Minami Ward, Tojihigashimonzencho, 88

Access info: 6-minute walk from Kintetsu Kyoto Line Toji station

Opening hours: 7 am - 7 pm

Fixed holiday: 6th, 16th and 26th of every month (unless Sunday or Holiday)

Contact: +81 75-671-7639

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Mitarashi Dango

Kamo Mitarasi Chaya's Mitarashi Dango

Most of the Wagashi introduced prior to this were sweet flavoured ones. The Mitarashi Dango, on the other hand, is a Wagashi that has a great blend of sweetness and saltiness from soy sauce.

Five Dango (Japanese dumpling) are on the stick when served to you and you will notice that the top one is placed further away from the 4 below. It is said that this represents the human body (head and limbs). The soft and chewy Mitarashi Dango is best enjoyed hot!

Kamo Mitarashi Chaya

Address: 53 Shimogamo Matsunokicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-0816

Access info: 15-minute walk from Keihan Line Demachiyanagi station

Opening hours: 9:30 am - 8 pm (last order at 7:30 pm)

Fixed holiday: Wednesday

Contact: +81 75-791-1652

Official URL

Awamochi

Awamochidokoro Sawaya's Awamochi

Awamochi is a type of Mochi found in the shop called Awamochidokoro Sawaya that has a history of over 300 years of selling the treat. The Awamochi is filled with grained red bean paste and millet, and coated with Kinako (toasted soybean powder). The sweetness of the red bean paste is accentuated by the Kinako and fragrant millet!

Awamochidokoro Sawaya

Address: 602-8384 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward, Kamiyagawacho,838-7

Access info: 5-minute walk from Keifuku Electric Railroad Kitanohakubaicho station

Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm

Fixed holiday: Thursday, 26th of every month (unless 26th is a Friday, Sunday or holiday)

Contact: +81 75-461-4517

Official URL

Wagashi and Macha

Many of the Wagashi are shaped in ways that remind us of the beautiful nature that Japan is blessed with. The delicious sweets, appreciated together with the slightly bitter Macha green tea, will surely make your day!

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Hi there, thanks for stopping by to read my articles. I travel to various regions in Japan and constantly find myself discovering something new. Hope my work will help in your planning and enjoy...Read more

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