8 Japanese Sweets Restaurants You Should Visit In Kyoto
When you think about things to do on your trip to Kyoto, the obvious answer is going around the various temples and Buddhist temples.
However, there's also the type of person who'll completely exhaust themselves by the end of the day from visiting everywhere all in one go.
The lovely Kyoto is somewhere you should explore with some intermittent stops to recharge with tasty sweets!
So, I've put together a selection of popular Japanese sweets in Kyoto here in this article. Your trip around Kyoto's temples might take a back seat to visiting sweets shops instead!
1. Demachi Futaba
This super-popular shop is located in the "Demachiyanagi" area, around 40 minutes from Kyoto Station by bus.
Tourists make a beeline for here as early as 8:30am hoping to get their hands on the shop's "mame-mochi." While this treat looks simple, the delightful harmony between its saltiness, from the plenty of green peas kneaded into the dough, and sweetness, from the smooth red bean paste, may make it the best mochi in all of Kyoto!
These mochi are also very affordable at 180 yen each, and they often sell out by just past noon every day.
I strongly suggest visiting this shop while you're in the neighborhood for other sightseeing locations nearby, like Shimogamo Shrine.
Address: 236 Seiryucho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Closed: Tuesdays, every 4th Wednesday
2. Kagizen Yoshifusa Honten
This is one of Kyoto's premier long-standing sweet shops, originally opened in in 1726.
Their "Kuzu-kiri," available at the Shijo Honten and Kodaiji locations, is the iconic item that has remained the same since the store's opening in the early Showa era. Made with costly Yoshinohon kudzu starch and water only, the shop kneads the kudzu starch and water together as each order comes in, making it always fresh and vibrant and giving it a lovely slippery texture. The brown sugar syrup, made with brown sugar from Okinawa, is rich and thick, but it has a very refreshing aftertaste. It's the sort of flavor that'll have people drinking up all of the leftover syrup.
Address: 264 Gion-machi Kita-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
3. Anon Gion Honten
This sweets shop is located in Gion, the heart of sightseeing in Kyoto. The cafe space, where you can relax with some sweets and look out into the inner garden, is a secretly popular out-of-the-way place.
What you should be sure to try here is their "Anpone (600 yen)," a treat made by sandwiching freshly-made sweet red bean paste from Hokkaido's red beans and house-made fragrant marscapone cheese cream. The refreshingly sweet red bean paste pairs beautifully with the rich cheese, making for a new type of flavor that's particularly popular among young women. It has a surprisingly long shelf life of 30 days, so buying the 1500-yen 5-pack to take back as gifts for friends and family is a great idea.
Address: 368-2 Seihonmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
[Sunday, Holidays] 10:00-18:00
The Furukawacho Shopping Street is a popular shopping area packed with long-standing traditional shops.
In 2017, the 2nd storefront for "JEREMY&JEREMIAH," a popular cotton candy store in Gion, opened on a corner of this same shopping street, frequented by Kyoto locals and discerning tourists.
The must-try item here is their "wata-hako (600 yen)." As a box of cotton candy topped with fruits and nuts and sprinkled with bright powders, it makes for great photos to upload on Instagram.
You can choose from 10 types of powders to sprinkle on your cotton candy, including matcha, cherry blossom mochi, and coffee.
Show off your unique taste by posting your creation onto social media!
Address: 444-3 Hachikencho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
5. Umezono CAFE & GALLERY
Opened in 1927, "Umezono" is now a well-established sweets shop that has 3 different locations across Kyoto. Located in Shijo Karasuma in the heart of Kyoto, the "CAFE&GALLERY" shop is inside of a renovated machiya-zukuri building. The 1st floor is home to the cafe, while the 2nd floor holds the gallery.
What you should try here is their "Sweet Dim Sum (670 yen)," where you can try 3 types of mochi at once. Umezono's specialty, their "Mitarashi Dango," are fragrantly cooked and covered in a sweet and salty sauce, perfect for an afternoon dessert when you're getting hungry.
If you're particularly hungry, try Umezono's most popular item, their "Matcha Hotcakes (930 yen)." You're sure to be blown away by how delicious the fluffy matcha-scented cake is!
Address: 180 Fudocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Closed: Open year-round
6. Daigokuden Honpo Rokkaku Store (Seien)
Close to the department store Daimaru Kyoto is this sweets shop, signaled with a large eye-catching sign with the character "殿" written on it.
The specialty here is their "Kohaku Nagashi (600 yen)." This agar dessert is topped with house-made sugar, and the transparent and jelly-like agar is given a fruity aroma and bright colors thanks to seasonal additions like grapes and chestnuts.
One of the secrets to this shop's popularity is how the flavor of the syrup changes monthly - cherry blossom in April, umeshu in June, peppermint in July, ginger syrup in August, grape in September, black soybean and brown sugar in December, and so forth.
I wonder if there are some Japanese-sweets-obsessed people who visit Kyoto every month to try the ever-changing "edible jewel" that is this Kohaku Nagashi...?
Address: 120 Horinoue-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
This sweets shop is located near Tofuku-ji, famous for its view of gorgeous autumn leaves from the Tsuten-kyo Bridge. The inside of the store, which is in a renovated townhouse, is a relaxing tatami room style where you take your shoes off. The courtyard, visible from the windows, is a pleasant and relaxing view.
Among their dishes, made with carefully selected ingredients like Tanba adzuki beans and Kyoto's famous mineral water, one of their most popular is their "Torori Warabi Mochi (650 yen)." This treat looks like a liquid, but when you bite into it you'll notice a chewy texture, achieved thanks to thoroughly kneading Japanese bracken starch into Okinawan brown sugar until completely smooth. Anyone who tries it will be shocked at how unique the texture is, so be sure to give it a try!
Address: 20-2 Sennyuji Goyonotsuji-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Closed: Irregular holidays
8. ex café Arashiyama Honten
Arashiyama is one of Kyoto's picturesque scenic areas. This shop, which is built inside of a renovated Japanese-style mansion, lets guests enjoy their time in the café while looking out over a gorgeous 400㎡ Japanese garden.
The treat you should try here is their "Fluffy Dango Set (1220 yen)." The unique style of this dish, where you can cook 2 types of dango, one white and one green, right before your eyes over a hibachi grill, is fun and popular.
Once the dango are cooked just right, you can choose between red bean paste and tare sauce before digging in. There's something amazing about the flavor of dango that you make yourself!
If you're particularly hungry, pair the dango with another popular dish here that's even received media coverage, the "Kyoguro Roll Harimaen Matcha (1290 yen with a drink)."
Address: 35-3 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto