Something new for a Kyoto souvenir!
"Since I'm in Kyoto, I'd like to get something unique to bring home!". But with it being your second or third time here, you're probably getting the same stuff over and over again. So why don't you try getting bread as a souvenir instead? Kyoto people consume the highest amount of bread in Japan, and as a result it is a treasure trove of delicious bakeries. Among these bakeries, there are three that the locals have grown to love. Let's go on a journey for bakeries that are worth a trip and perhaps even a queue!
Get drawn in by the fragrance at the traditional "Maruki Bakery"
When strolling through the retro Matsubara Kyogoku Shopping Arcade, you're sure to catch a whiff of delicious baked goods. You'll find the Kyoto locals who hate queues, lining up outside Maruki Bakery. Established in 1947, this place has been teeming with customers even on rainy days. Needless to say, holidays get a whole lot more crowded!
The bestselling bread roll
This hot-dog bun shaped bread roll accounts for 70% of their total sales. In the area there used to be a High School for girls. Since the rolls were popular with the students, as a result, the bakery now offers 60 different types of rolls.
Plenty of ingredients to choose from!
The bakery staff will fill the rolls with fresh ingredients in the kitchen at the back of the bakery. It's a wholesome space filled with smiles. Rolls that aren't made for display are baked upon demand during opening hours. In the words of Mr. Kimoto (second generation owner of the bakery), "being petty won't make anything delicious!". These words are reflected in their rolls that are filled to the brim with ingredients.
Bread that can't be made anywhere else
"There's nothing special about what we do here, we try to make delicious bread in the most natural method possible" said Mr. Kimoto. He spends most of the week at the bakery and says that he could never bake the same bread anywhere else. The local atmosphere, smiles, bright voices, and closeness to the customers are unique to this bakery. Perhaps, this might be the secret ingredient to the delicious rolls made at this bakery.
Maruki Bakery's souvenir bread recommendation
There's a great variety of bread on display here, but the bread rolls are a must. Starting from the flagship ham and red bean paste, you'll also find potato salad, ham cutlet, cream and more. The popular ham roll costs 170 JPY (incl. tax). The simple cabbage and ham roll is perfect for bringing out the flavor of the delicious bread roll. The rolls here are affordable and come with heaps of choices, making them perfect for friends, family, large gatherings, and souvenirs for your workplace.
Matsubara-dori Horikawa-nishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi.
3 minutes walk from Omiya Matsubara Bus Stop (City Bus)
Weekdays 6:30 AM to 8PM. Sundays/National Holidays 7AM to 2PM.
The dazzling fruits of "Fruit Parlor Cricket"
Hirano Shrine is an old shrine known for its cherry blossoms. Just opposite to the shrine sits a bright and stylish Café by the name of "Fruit Parlor Cricket". Upon entering the store, you'll be treated to the sweet delicious scent and sights of fruits, preserves, and jellies.
The Fruit Parlor Sandwiches
The souvenir that I'd like to recommend is the fruit sandwich that sells for 1,200 JPY (incl. tax). The ingredients may vary depending on the season and harvest conditions. However, you'll generally find the most popular fruits such as strawberry and mango included. Two different types of whipped cream are used, resulting in a delicious balance of sweetness and richness. A hint of acidity in the fruits is brought out superbly to compliment the whipped cream as well.
Each fruit sandwich made every morning, is made with the hope of getting people more interested in fruits. The generous serving of fruits packed into each sandwich is something that can only be achieved at the fruit parlor.
The fruit sandwich with an immaculate balance is perfect for girls, ladies and mum gatherings
After 40 years of trials and errors, this fruit sandwich is said to have achieved a golden balance. It's cute and its dainty exterior makes it extremely popular at female and mum gatherings. They're made in a way of total equilibrium, so that you could take a bite from any angle and you'd still get the same generous amount of fruit and whipped cream. You'll have a great time sharing this sandwich with your buddies!
■ Fruit Parlor Cricket
1F, Sunnyheim, Kinkaku-ji Temple, 68-1 Hatchoyanagi-cho, Hirano, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi.
2 minutes walk from Kinugasa Campus Bus Stop (City Bus)
10 AM to 6 PM
Found this one on a stroll through Gion, the Kyoto-esque "Grand Marble Gion"
Taking a walk around Gion is essential to any Kyoto trip. Walking along Hanamikoji Street lined with Kyoto restaurants and cafés, I found an elegant bakery with a traditional noren curtain (traditional Japanese fabric divider). I was arrived at "Grand Marble Gion". The splendid courtyard garden at the back of the bakery adds to the high-class Kyoto-esque interior.
The flagship "Marble Danish"
The flagship marble danish at this bakery is a treat for the eyes. It's a luxurious pastry that brings together western and Japanese ingredients, garnering its popularity among both tourists and locals. The texture is surprisingly moist, and every bite is a rich one. The eloquent marble pattern seen in the cross section of each danish, is clear evidence of their craftsmanship.
You'll have to try the most popular flavor
Grand Marble Gion offers various flavors depending on the season, but the favorite has to be "Kyoto San-Iro", that sells for 1,080 JPY (incl. tax). This marble danish is made with 3 types of dough; plain, strawberry, and matcha that is sourced directly from "Gion Tsujiri". The acidity, sweetness, and bitterness work in perfect harmony! Made with the utmost attention, it's a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. Upon purchase, it'll last for a whooping 12 days, making it the perfect souvenir! Why not gift this to that special somebody who's always been helping you out?
■Grand Marble Gion
Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi
11 AM - 8 PM (may vary by season)
Bread, the new standard souvenir
The streets in Kyoto are lined with charming bakeries. Snacks and sundries are great in Kyoto, but fluffy, moist, and spongy bread is sure to be a unique souvenir. As there are so many types to choose from, you're sure to be able to choose according to the taste of your recipients. Please go forth and find your favorite bakery, so that you may give all your loved ones delicious bread.