Kyoto is famous for many things, one of them being Kyo Wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets that are usually served together with thick matcha green tea at Kyoto tea rooms. Most Kyo Wagashi feature anko (sweet red bean paste) and are served to offset and balance the typical bitterness of matcha. Here is our list of the best spots for Wagashi in Kyoto.
Kagizen Yoshifusa is considered by many to be the best traditional sweet shop in Kyoto. Located on Shijo-dori in the heart of the traditional geisha and entertainment district of Gion in downtown Kyoto, it specialises in traditional sweets and Kyoto desserts. The tranquil tea room is the perfect escape from all the hustle and bustle of Gion. The delicate wagashi are served with cups of matcha green tea. If you like what you try, take home some sweets as a souvenir.
Sasaya Iori has been in operation since 1716. You know the sweets here are going to be good as the shop served the royal family at the old Imperial Palace in Kyoto. It still provides its handmade wagashi to numerous shrines, temples and grand tea masters of Kyoto. The exclusive sweets are works of art and the height of luxury, with their parfaits particularly popular. Luckily, regular folk like you and me can also enjoy these tasty treats at their main store on Shichijo-dori, or at Kyoto Station.
Toraya Karyo is a well established Japanese wagashi shop on the west side of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It is famous for its yokan jelly (red bean sweets) and nama-gashi (sweets used in Japanese tea ceremony). Here you can enjoy a traditional Japanese sweet and cup of matcha green tea while relaxing and looking out on the beautiful garden. What could be better?
Gallery Cafe Kyoto Saryo is located in the Kyoto Station concourse. Along with the great selection of Japanese sweets and green tea, it has a gallery featuring traditional crafts and historical items from Kyoto. Gallery Cafe Kyoto Saryo is an affordable spot that offers a serene break from shopping, or just a place to rest and wait for your train to arrive.
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Hourandou specialises in handmade warabi mochi (jelly-like confectionery). The main store is located just off the south end of the famous Togetsukyo (Moon Crossing Bridge) in the historic sightseeing area of Arashiyama. It is a fantastic place to take a break and recharge the batteries if you are spending the day exploring the area. Here you can enjoy a hand whisked matcha green tea and snack in an authentic tatami mat room.