Translated by GonzalezLaura
Ginza Kimuraya: The Pioneer Behind Japan's Bread Culture
Written by OsawaKimie
Japan's thriving "bread culture" is not a recent boom at all. In fact, it goes back over 140 years, and has its roots in a famous sweets shop located in Ginza.
One thing that'll surprise overseas visitors when coming to Japan is Japan's bread culture. In contrast with some Western cultures where bread, not rice, is eaten at every meal, there's a large variety of breads and sweet breads in Japan's bakeries.
The reason as to why Japanese think of bread as "sweets" or "snacks", mostly has to do with one Japanese man's idea that developed, over 144 years ago. That man, was the man that became the pioneer for sweet breads in Japan: Yasube Kimura.
People from all over the country flock to Kimuraya in Ginza, to get their hands on on the Sakadane anpan (*1) that Yasube Kimura came up with in 1874. Today, we'll take a look at Kimuraya's well established, very popular anpan.
*1……Anpan is a Japanese sweet used by wrapping some freshly baked bread around sweet an (a bean jam made by boiling sweet red beans with sugar).
A long established bakery: Kimuraya's head store in Ginza
This is Kimuraya: with people going in, one after the other, being lured into the store by the aroma of the bread wafting outside the storefront. This store on Ginza 4-chome isn't just a bakery, it also houses a Kimuraya managed cafe, grill, and restaurant.
Kimuraya's head store in Ginza doesn't only sell the anpan on the signboards outside; they also have jam-filled breads, and curry breads, amongst countless types of breads lined up on the shelves.
This is a leaflet giving some information on Kimuraya's anpan in English. As these leaflets have the nutritional information for the products, as well as what ingredients constitute the anpan, even overseas visitors can feel relieved when purchasing the store's products.
The history behind Ginza Kimuraya's Sakadane Anpan
Around the 1800's, people in Japan were still not very familiar with bread. During this time, Yasube Kimura was trying to think of more ways to help increase the popularity of bread in Japan. In thinking this, he came up with bread which is made using a special active yeast called fermented sakadane. As this sakadane produced a more flavorful bread, this ended up being the bread that was used to fill with an, and used to create anpan. The name Kimuraya became well known a little while after their special anpan made its appearance on their shelves.
No.1 bestseller: Sakadane Sakura (150 yen)
Sakadane Sakura: when you take a bite, you can enjoy the sweet, great-tasting an, wrapped in soft dough. The salted sakura also gives the bread a delicately salty, sour accent. This store is also known for having presented some of their products to the emperor when the store was founded. This is a superb sweet, with quite a bit of history to it.
A simple, staple item: Sakadane Ogura (150 yen)
Sakadane Ogura is Kimuraya's no.2 bestselling anpan. You can taste the azuki's natural sweetness and thickness with Kimuraya's original "an". Also, the anpan's small, easy to eat size is also popular with women and children.
Seasonal favorite: Sakadane kurikabocha (180 yen)
Kimuraya periodically sells seasonal sweets that match the difrent seasons. The anpan pictured above is a fall-only item which uses kuri (chestnut) and ebisukabocha (pumpkins from Ebisu), which has sweetness similar to that of a sweet potato, and mixes it into its an. During spring and summer though, the store has different sweets lined up in its shop; it features sweets making use of apricots, and sweet Waston pomelo, among other seasonal ingredients.
Kimuraya's anpan is an unchanging constant, in the ever-changing town of Ginza. Kimuraya is a bakery that shows that Ginza that loves tradition, and has been able to withstand the test of time, over several generations, without so much as a shudder. If you ever find yourself in Ginza, definitely experience Japan's bread culture by stopping by Kimuraya.
Ginza Kimuraya Ginza Head Store
Address: 4-5-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
1F Bakery: 10:00-21:00
2F Cafe: 10:00-21:00／LO 20:30
3F Grill: 10:30-21:00／LO 20:30
4F Restaurant: Lunch 11:00-15:00／LO 14:30 Dinner 17:00-21:00／LO 20:00
Closed: Open year round (excluding New Years Holidays)
Wi-Fi Availability: None
Credit cards accepted
Multi-lingual support: Japanese, English
Multi-lingual menus available: Japanese, English
Nearest station: Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line/ Tokyo Metro Ginza Line/ Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
Access: 1-minute walk from Ginza Station A9 Exit
Price range: -999 yen
Religious dietary considerations: N/A
Official website: Ginza Kimuraya