In Kyoto’s gift battle field there is one that is a line of products quickly rising up the ranks in popularity and attention. “Kyo-ponto” is the brand of snacks from Kyoto’s Fushimi ward’s more famous Kyoto style snack makers, Wakou. Among the line of snacks that is exploding with popularity is the rare cookie snacks call “Kyo-ekubo” (Kyoto dimples). With new products coming out regularly, the “Kyo-ponto” series is the eye of the typhoon of Kyoto gifts recently. With a dedicated cafe opening in the spring of 2014, “Kyo-ponto’s” drive for the top is seemingly unstoppable.
The rare-cookie with a new texture Kyo-ekubo’s super surge in popularity!
Mixing western and Japanese snack styles with perfect harmony is the series of snacks called “Kyo-ponto” from Wakou, based in the Fushimi ward of Kyoto. This brand name is quickly becoming a well-known name thanks to the media coverage its received recently.
At the top of the popularity rankings in this series is “Kyo-ekubo”. Having a texture like no other this rare cookie is a Japanese style polvorón (Spanish short bread). This new texture can definitely be experienced as you pop the cookie in your mouth it seems to melt. Available in Matcha with a hint of chocolate, strawberry and hojicha flavors, all are shaped in an adorable hearts. There also are season specific flavors such as sakura during the spring and chestnut flavors in the fall! Eat them at room temperature or even chilled, the most popular of “Kyo-ekubo” are the Matcha and strawberry sets.
Kyo-ekubo Matcha, strawberry set (12pc each) 1,080JPY Matcha, hojicha set (12pc each) 1,080JPY Individual Matcha, hojicha, strawberry (12pc each) each 540JPY
"Koicha no Ochame" packed full of Koicha flavor
With Uji Matcha Koicha (thick tea) flavored red bean paste, and a moist manjyu outside and a white chocolate coating is the “Koicha no Ochame”. Bite sized manjyu (red bean bun) shaped as little hearts, with “Koicha 恋茶” being a play on the word 濃茶 (thick tea) also read as Koicha.
The combination of the outer white chocolate and the Koicha flavored red beans mellowness is heavenly. Many snacks out there use regular Matcha but few use the very thick Koicha, “Koicha no Ochame” will definitely be a hit amongst tea lovers.
Koicha no Ochame 6pcs set 648JPY 9pcs set 972JPY
"Kyo-mizuki Shokora" a combination of Matcha wafers and chocolate
Introducing the new “Kyo-mizuki Shokora” (Kyoto moon gazing chocolat)! The name is derived from the Mizuki Bridge in Kyoto’s Fushimi ward. It is said that Hideyoshi Toyotomi stood on this bridge which spans across the Uji River to enjoy the moonrise. This snack “Kyo-mizuki Shokora” is an expression of the moon’s reflection on the River Uji.
Mixing copious amounts of Uji Matcha into wafers, then coating them in white chocolate, finally adding wavy lines of Uji Matcha chocolate to represent the waves on the water it is a snack that is pleasing to the eye as much as it is to the taste buds. This is “Kyo-mizuki Shokora.”
Kyo-mizuki Shokora 6pcs set 540JPY 12pcs set 1,080JPY
"Omotenashi" the masterpiece Matcha mille-feuille
Also a new comer is the “Omotenashi” (hospitality). With pie crusts sandwiching Matcha-cream, it is encrusted in a layer of white chocolate with Matcha-chocolate stripes in Kyoto style lattice patterns.
“Omotenashi” targets sweet-toothed women with its Matcha aroma and white chocolate flavors. No doubt attracting your gaze with its tasteful Tatami styled packaging, perfect for a Kyoto gift.
Omotenashi 6pcs set 756JPY 9pcs set 1,080JPY
Traditional Japanese style sweets cafe "Gion Kasha"
The spring of 2014 saw the opening of “Kyo-ponto Gion Kasha” at the foot of the stone stairs of the Yasaka Shrine. Themed in the brands image, with so many new products being released this sweets cafe is the next logical step to Wakou.
With the previously mentioned “Omotenashi” released alongside the opening of the “Gion Kasha”, there are many treats incorporating “Omotenashi” such as the “Omotenashi Parafait”! So many actually that it’s hard to make a decision on what to try first. It is definitely a must see spot when visiting the Gion district of Kyoto. You can purchase any of the “Kyo-ponto” series inside.
Kyo-ponto Gion Kasha Tel: (075) 533-7578 Hours: 11am to 7pm Closed Wednesdays
Kyoto’s newest brand name "Kyo-ponto"
“Ponto” derived from the Portuguese ponta, meaning “ahead”. The “Kyo-ponto” series strives to create new snacks while retaining traditions. Not only the flavors but the packaging also is made with women in mind and perfectly executes the “ahead” image.
The “Kyo-ponto” series can be bought at Kyoto’s many famous tourist spots as well as Kyoto Station. This is one brand that should be watched carefully.