Translated by Jasmine Nishino
The Best Souvenirs From Kyoto - 7 Japanese Sweet Treats
Written by Inou masahiro
We have selected the best souvenirs from Kyoto: Japanese sweets made with natural ingredients, according to traditional recipes. These sweets are the favorite souvenir items of tourists from all over the world.
This time we would like to feature a souvenir collection from Kyoto, selected by the MATCHA staff.
Kyoto is a famous tourist attraction that is just as popular as Tokyo. The city's charm comes from the many temples and the nice neighborhoods it has, which make it a destination loved by visitors from all around the world. Let's take a look at what kinds of souvenirs Kyoto has to offer.
1. Otabe (Nama Yatsuhashi With Red Bean Paste)
Among the Japanese, a long time favorite souvenir from Kyoto is the nama yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi is a type of senbei, cracker that is made of rice flour, sugar, cinnamon and water, which is mixed, then rolled out into a thin sheet before being baked. When the dough is steamed instead of being baked and filled with red bean paste, it turns into a confectionery called nama yatsuhashi with red bean.
There are many companies that make nama yatsuhashi in Kyoto, but this time we would like to introduce the nama yatsuhashi made by Bijuu Co. Ltd. called Otabe.
The classics are the cinnamon flavor and the matcha green tea flavor. Both aren't overly sweet and have a very elegant taste. There are many other souvenirs you can only purchase at Otabe main shop, so do stop by if you are in the area.
Product company: Bijuu Co. Ltd.
Product name: Cinnamon and green tea set (10 pieces)
Price: 500 yen (without tax)
2. The World's Smallest Konpeito Sugar Candy
Konpeito is traditional sugar candy that originates from Portugal.
True to its name, Kyoto Marun's "World's Smallest Konpeito" is very tiny. White, green, yellow and pink konpeito as small as grains of sand can be found in a jar.
It is very tiny, but you can taste the wonderful flavor of the sugar in each piece.
3. Fukkura Usagi Set
Fukkura Usagi are a sugar confectionery made by Kyoto Marun. The sugary treats in the shape of hearts and bunnies are so cute that it's almost hard to take a bite. The bunnies are placed in a box that is filled with konpeito sugar candy. Cute designs such as this are a trait of Japanese souvenirs.
Product company: Maisendo Kyoto Marun Co. Ltd.
Product name: World's smallest Konpeito Sugar Candy / Fukkura Usagi (Set)
Price: 380 yen (without tax)/650 yen (without tax)
4. Rich Chocolate And Matcha Green Tea Cookie Set
This souvenir will let you enjoy three types of snacks in one box. Matcha cookies, matcha chocolate cookies and hojicha (*1) cookies come in a set.
*1 hojicha: A light brown colored tea where the sencha green tea is roasted to bring out a toasty flavor. With mild bitterness and acidity, the flavor is very refreshing.。
The matcha chocolate is very rich and the moment you take a bite, you will taste the sweetness of the chocolate, followed by a bold matcha flavor. It almost tastes like you are actually drinking a cup of tea.
The hojicha chocolate has a nice roasted flavor right from the first bite. The matcha cookie is like the chocolate, where you will taste the flavor of the tea in the aftertaste. These treats are not overwhelmingly sweet, so even those who aren't too fond of sweet snacks can also enjoy it.
You can find this product at SUVACO - JR Kyoto Isetan right outside of the west exit of the JR Kyoto Station.
Product company: Nakamura Tōkichi Honten Co. Ltd.
Product name: Rich chocolate and matcha cookie set
Price: 1,856 (with tax)
Yuumochi are bite size rice cakes inside a cute packaging in the shape of a yuzu citrus. When you open the lid, you will smell the refreshing aroma of the yuzu citrus.
It has a nice texture, almost like something between a gummy and a standard rice cake. The yuzu citrus flavor is very bold and makes you feel like you are eating the actual fruit. You can also taste the mild bitterness of the citrus, making it an addictive treat.
Product company: Tsuruya Yoshinobu Co. Ltd.
Product name: Yuumochi with yuzu citrus packaging
Price: 648 yen (with tax)
6. Matcha Anpone
Matcha Anpone is a confectionery set with matcha green tea bean paste, homemade cheese cream and monaka (Japanese wafers). The unique trait of this sweets is how you stuff the filling into the monaka wafers.
The two types of pastes, homemade mascarpone cheese and bean paste using matcha green tea from Uji, Kyoto, come in jars.
The Japanese confectionery, monaka is a crispy waffle made out of thinly baked mochi rice cake with a red bean filling.
Furthermore, Uji is a city in Kyoto that is known for their green tea.
Matcha green tea and cheese sounds like an obscure combination, however, the bold flavor of the cheese harmonizes well with the bitterness of the matcha green tea.
The strong bittersweet flavor can be enjoyed from the green tea mixed in the bean paste, which goes well with the rich sweetness of the mascarpone cheese.
Product company: Kyoto Gion Anon.
Product name: Matcha Anpone (makes 5)
Price: 1,600 yen (without tax)
7. Suhama Dango
Suhama dango are a cute tri-colored sweet made of domestically produced kinako and syrup that has been mixed together. Kinako is a powder made from ground soybeans.
The soybean powder has been mixed in so you can savor the taste of the beans from each bite.
The sugar coat also helps bring out the sweetness of the bean as well. Since it comes in a nice bite-sized piece, it is hard to resist eating more than one!
Product company: Mamemasa Co., Ltd.
Product name: A bag of 12
Price: 400 yen (without tax)
Sweets from Kyoto are not just delicious, but their appearance is just as special. Do use this article as a reference for your next souvenir shopping trip in Kyoto.