Kyoto is a place where they revere and protect ancient traditions, but at the same time the latest trends are born here as well. Here are some Japanese sweets that you'll want to take home that you can only find in Kyoto.
Located in Kitayama, Kyoto, is the famous flagship store Malebranche Kyoto Kitayama. Cha no Ka, created by the three “masters of Kyoto,” use high grade white chocolate inside thick Kyoto Uji matcha-flavored cat tongue cookies in a fusion of Japanese and Western style sweets. The delicious mix of the faint bitterness of the thick matcha with the chocolate’s sweetness has been featured in the Parisian media. The package is well designed so it is a popular souvenir to bring back for visitors to Japan. Cha no Ka is only sold in Kyoto so it is an extra special gift. In the JR Kyoto Isetan store, there is a Malebranche self-service cafe with Cha no Ka as well as other original creations you can’t find anywhere else.
Kyouyougashi Tsukasa Jouvencelle has three stores in Kyoto (including 1 cafe). They offer sweets made with traditional Kyoto flavors using carefully chosen seasonal ingredients. Saga no Ji is a rare cheesecake wrapped in matcha flavored mochi that is then wrapped in bamboo leaves to give it a very Japanese-looking shape. The Japanese chestnut and black soy bean mixed Japanese style pound cake, Taketori Monogatari, is named after a famous Japanese legend. Like the story it is named after of a princess born from bamboo, it is wrapped in bamboo bark. The store is filled with unique Japanese-style sweets that even people that don't like Japanese sweets should be able to find something they like. You can also find their products at the Takashimaya Kyoto store and the JR Kyoto Isetan store.
Soba Bolo, made using soba flour, is the top selling item at the Marutamachi Kawamichiya flagship store. Bolo is a sweet originally brought over from Portugal around 1570. It is made by frying a mixture of wheat flour and sugar. Soba Bolo takes the original recipe and adds hen's egg and soba. The round plum blossom shape is very popular with women. It has a great texture and easily breaks and dissolves in your mouth. It's a simple flavor you won't get tired of. The expiration date is quite long, three months after the production date, so it's very popular with visitors to Japan.
The tea house, Uji Tea Itou Kyuuemon has been creating tea since the 1830s and is located right in the heart of Uji tea production area. Although it is a long-standing store, it has a wide variety of products that has moved with the times. The Uji matcha ganache chocolate and the Uji matcha roll cakes are popular with visitors. There is also a line-up of products flavored with a combination of Uji matcha and Tamba wine. In the storethere is a tasting counter where you can drink freshly brewed tea. Don't miss this chance to try real, traditional matcha. There is also a teahouse cafe where you can eat matcha parfaits, sweets, and snacks made with high quality matcha. Uji Tea Itou Kyuuemon keeps the same high quality they have had for over a century while still coming up with exciting new products. Make sure to come on an empty stomach!
Crème de la Crème is a choux cream puff specialty store near the Marutamachi metro station. Inside are flavors of cream puff that you could have never imagined! If you want to try flavors you can only sample in Japan, try the Kyoto Vegetable (made using high quality Kyoto produced vegetables) selection, KYO-VEGETABLE-CHOU. The Kyo-carrot flavor uses Kyoto carrots with a deep crimson color and a subtlety sweet flavor that you can't find in Western carrots. There is also the mountain yam flavor, which has a strong sticky yet soft texture that is unlike anything you've ever tasted, while the Kyoto white miso flavor uses Kyoto's white miso, a specialty in Kyoto for over 1200 years. There are a total of 14 flavors and three to four are chosen and displayed in the storefront based on seasonal availability. The crunchy choux skin is a perfect combo with the thick, deep flavored cream inside. Definitely give it a try!
We included stores in Kyoto that offer sweets that are a fusion of traditional Japanese with Western style. We of course recommend them as souvenir gifts to bring home, but buy some as takeout for yourself as well.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information