Kyoto isn't home to just traditional Japanese sweets, but actually a number of delicious sweets shops. Here are 5 shops known for being very delicious.
1. LA PATISSERIE DES REVES
This is the first Japanese branch of a popular Parisian bakery. The theme is "new, classic sweets," and their line-up is full of simple and nostalgic cakes that have fresh yet refined appearances. One of their most popular items is their standard Tarte Tatin. Thinly sliced apples are layered like a mille-feuille, then baked in a lemon-vanilla syrup. Underneath the melt-in-your-mouth apples is a crispy pie. The delicate differences in texture feels new in your mouth, and the gentle sweetness brings forth nostalgia. This is a precious shop where you can enjoy Western sweets that are both cutting-edge and traditional.
This is a particularly popular bakery even among Kyoto bakeshops. There are many products that sell out in the early afternoon, so it's recommended that you go early. The distinguishing characteristic of their cakes is that all of them are made using high-quality products and seasonal fruits. Particularly recommended are their mousse cakes, including the product that bears their name, S. S has a gentle sweetness that comes from fromage blanc mousse with the perfect amount of sourness from lemon and berries for a harmonious flavor that melts in your mouth. This is one of the few shops that will let you truly be satisfied with the delicate mousses created by Japanese people!
3. PATISSERIE AU GRENIER D'OR
This shop is so popular that there probably isn't anyone in Kyoto that doesn't know about it. This is a take-out only shop, but nearby there is a related cafe called Salon de The AU GRENIER D'OR. They have a wide variety of sweets available, including elegant baked sweets that make the best of their ingredients, baked sweets perfect for souvenirs, popular jams, and more. But their most popular product that always sells out is the Pyramid. As the name implies, it's a chocolate shaped pyramid filled with rich chocolate mousse. The smooth texture gives it a blissful taste. You should definitely go early to get it!
4. Lotus Yogashiten
This bakery offers orthodox French sweets. They have standard products like cream puffs and eclairs to popular mousses and tarts using seasonal fruits. This shop's recommended cake is the Mouton. The tart, made with chestnut and cassis, is filled with mascarpone cheese. It may seem like a novel mix, but the balance of the acidity and the sweetness is wonderful, as is the combination of the rich cream and crisp pie. This is a recommended shop for people that want to eat a cake they've never had before.
*Photo is for illustrative purposes.
5. Salon de Royal Kyoto Branch
This is a sweets shop offering products like chocolates and macarons managed by Kakimoto Akihiro, the Japanese representative to the 2013 World Chocolate Masters. The standard Chocolate Gateau is made with layers of chocolate cream, hazelnuts, and orange cream, then coated with nuts and crunch. It feels light but the chocolate is very rich, making it a poplar product. Also, from May - September, the inside of the shop extends over the river (there may be times where it's unavailable during the day) so it's recommended that you take a quick break here in the cool evening air.
Kyoto is a battleground not just for Japanese sweets but for Western ones too. Please enjoy some sweets that you can only find in Kyoto while taking in Japanese aesthetics.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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