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Top 4 Select Bakeries in Japan's Unknown Bread Town, Kobe

Top 4 Select Bakeries in Japan's Unknown Bread Town, Kobe

Hyogo 2016.02.26 Bookmark

Kobe at first glance might not look like Japan at all. Here we introduce 4 bakeries in Kobe that have lead the "bread culture revolution" in Japan.

Translated by GonzalezLaura

Written by Osawa Kumi

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After opening up its port in 1868, Kobe is one of the first towns to build a foreign residents settlement and to have foreign culture introduced to Japan. Due to that, while Kobe is a Japanese city, it has an atmosphere that feels very Western.

It's actually not just the feel of the city. Kobe is different from other cities in Japan in that it has its own culture, which came out of Japanese culture being influenced by Western culture. "Bread culture" is one of the results of this cultural blending. After the First World War, German bread artisans opened up a bakery in the area, and this acted as the start of Kobe's bread culture.

In light of this, Hyogo Prefecture has been named one of Japan's numerous "bread loving prefectures". According to a survey, when it comes to the yearly consumption of bread, Hyogo occupies the 2nd place in Japan (Statistics Japan, Japanese).

Due to this, even to this day Kobe has many wonderful bread shops.

There might be some visitors coming to Japan thinking: "I've come all the way to Japan. I'm not going to eat bread." We'd like you to hear us out for just a little though.

The dough for Japan's bread is soft, and the sweet rolls and dinner rolls have evolved into something entirely new. These breads' delicate flavor is currently very popular with foreign guests as well. If you're ever in Kobe, you have to try the quintessence of Japanese bread.

We will introduce products from 4 bakeries, each one clearly worthy to be deemed the "Best Bread in Kobe".

1. Isuzu Bakery's "Toreron"

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As of 2015, Isuzu Bakery has been around for 69 years. Kobe wouldn't be Kobe without this bread shop, and there are many natives of the city who grew up with the brand. There are 4 stores located in Sannomiya and Motomachi. This store is always bustling with people either buying bread for lunch in the afternoon, or bread for the following day in the evening.

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When talking about Isuzu Bakery, you're sure to also bring up Toreron (280 yen, tax included). This bread features a coarsely ground meat sausage surrounded by dough with a fluffy inside and crispy outside. Mustard helps enrich the taste of the bread, and the spice from the small mustard seeds gives the bread a distinct flavor. It is so delicious that you can't help but eating two or three pieces, one after the other.

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The store also offers convenient bags for those who want to have their bread cut in small slices.

2. Ça Marche "Black Tea Cream Bread"

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Ça Marche is a bakery located in Kitano, which is an area that has a very Western atmosphere. The bread pictured above is the Black Tea Cream Bread (180 yen, tax not included) which features plenty of black tea leaves, making for a refined flavor. The cream's thickness in no way comes in second to the tea flavor. You can enjoy this hot-and-fresh delicacy under the roof of the shop's terrace.

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There are blueberry and olive potted plants lining the path from the black gate doors to the shop's doors. The shop is so popular, that the queue usually goes out the door.

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At Ça Marche it is usual to order while talking to the staff. You can ask them whether they have any new breads or if they have any recommendations. As this store gets plenty of foreign visitors, you can try asking about the ingredients and bread contents in English. You will surely have a good time while shopping there.

If you purchased some bread, we recommend you eat it in the dining space outside the shop, while the bread is still warm and fresh. There's nothing better than enjoying fresh Ça Marche bread while feeling the cool breeze outside.

3. Tommy's "Red Bean Bread"

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This is the Red Bean Bread (650 yen, tax included), undoubtedly the most popular item at Tommy's, a friendly bakery located underneath the elevated railway tracks. The bread contains a swirl of anko (※1) inside. It's possible to freeze and save this bread for later, that is why this billboard item is often purchased in bulk.

※1... Anko: azuki red beans boiled with sugar. It is used a lot in Japanese sweets.

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Although the Kobe Sannomiya's Kōkashita Underpass, above which run the railway lines of both Hankyū and JR, is a bit on the smaller side, it has plenty of unique little shops. You can often see people buying bread from Tommy's on their way home from work.

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This is what the red bean bread looks like when you slice it. Although it's mighty delicious as it is, it's even better if you toast it lightly and spread some butter on it. Please try out this bread, which is the perfect match between Western and Japanese tastes.

4. DONQ: "Awaji Onion Bread" and "Crispy Melon Bread"

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DONQ, which is a bakery that can be found all over Japan, originated in Kobe. This is quite a long standing store, as it celebrates 110 years since its birth as the bakery "Fujii Bread" in 1905.

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From Sannomiya's DONQ we would like to recommend the Awaji Onion Bread (190 yen, tax not included) which uses plenty of soft, specialty onions from Awaji Island, located off Kobe. The secret to this bread's popularity is the texture of the sliced onions blended with a subtle sweetness.

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This is the Crispy Melon Bread※2 (190 yen, tax not included), which features a good balance between sweet and savory butter. This bread isn't so much for dinner as it is a snack bread, and is widely enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

※2…Melon bread: soft bread with a characteristic sweet, biscuit like outer layer.

Western bread culture took on a whole other life of its own after being introduced to Japan. A lot of foreign visitors probably think that breads such as the read bean bread, cream bread and other sweet breads, as well as yakisoba bread, are all Japanese original food creations. "They are similar, but different" is one characteristic of these breads that you can fully enjoy when going around Kobe's delicious bread shops.

Information

Isuzu Bakery Kitanozaka Store (イスズベーカリー 北野坂店)

Address: Kobe, Chūō-ku, Nakayamate-dōri 1-8-18, Sannomiya Goyō Building 1st F
Hours: 10:00-23:00 (Weekdays) 10:00~24:00 (Fri/Sat) 10:00-22:00 (Sun/Holidays)
Closed: N/A
Wi-Fi Available: -
Credit Cards Accepted: N/A
Multi-lingual Support: -
Multi-lingual Menu Available: N/A
Nearest Station: Sannomiya Station 三宮駅, all lines (Hankyū, Hanshin, JR, Kobe Municipal Subway)
Access: 10-minute walk from Sannomiya Station, all lines
Prince Range: 100-1000 yen
Religious Considerations: ー
Phone: +82-078-391-3963
Official Website: Isuzu Bakery (Japanese only)

Ça Marche (サ・マーシュ)

Address: Kobe, Chūō-ku, Yamamoto-dōri 3-1-3
Hours: 8:00-19:00
Closed: Tues/Wed
Wi-Fi Available: -
Credit Cards Accepted: N/A
Multi-lingual Support: -
Multi-lingual Menu Available: N/A
Nearest Station: Sannomiya Station 三宮駅, all lines (Hankyū, Hanshin, JR, Kobe Municipal Subway)
Access: 15-minute walk from Sannomiya Station, all lines
Prince Range: 100-1000 yen
Religious Considerations: ー
Phone: +81-078-763-1111
Official Website: Ça Marche (Japanese only)

Tommy's (トミーズ)

Address: Kobe, Chūō-ku 1-31 Kōkashita 35
Hours: 8:00-20:00
Closed: N/A
Wi-Fi Available: -
Credit Cards Accepted: N/A
Multi-lingual Support: -
Multi-lingual Menu Available: N/A
Nearest Station: Sannomiya Station 三宮駅, all lines (Hankyū, Hanshin, JR, Kobe Municipal Subway)
Access: 5-minute walk from Sannomiya Station, all lines
Prince Range: 100-1000 yen
Religious Considerations: ー
Phone: +81-078-333-8820
Official Website: Tommy's (Japanese only)

DONQ Sannomiya Store (ドンク 三宮本店)

Address:  Kobe, Chūō-ku Sannomiya-chō 2-10-19
Hours: 9:30-20:00
Closed: N/A
Wi-Fi Available: -
Credit Cards Accepted: N/A
Multi-lingual Support: -
Multi-lingual Menu Available: N/A
Nearest Station: Sannomiya Station 三宮駅, all lines (Hankyū, Hanshin, JR, Kobe Municipal Subway)
Access: 7-minute walk from Sannomiya Station, all lines
Prince Range: 100-1000 yen
Religious Considerations: -
Phone: +81-078-391-5481
Official Website: DONQ Sannomiya Store (Japanese only)

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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