Translated by Jelena Kitamura
Stroll The Streets Of Kyoto In Search Of Gion Komori's Warabimochi!
Written by Keishi Kawakami
If you wish to try the finest traditional sweets Kyoto has to offer, follow us on our way to Gion Komori. There you'll get to relish not only the first-class warabimochi, but some refined matcha tea, as well. Let us take you to Kyoto!
Discover the world of wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, and the variety of tastes and prices able to satisfy everyone’s preferences. Out of all those delicious bites of happiness, have you ever tried the one adored and celebrated by everyone?
This time we have decided to present the true gem among the savory wagashi, distributed by Kyoto’s respected wagashi store Gion Komori – behold the warabimochi (bracken-starch dumpling covered with kinako powder), zenzai (a sweet soup made with red bean paste), and the glorious matcha sweets!
This Way to Gion Komori!
Yes, it is settled! We are going to Gion Komori.
Although the nearest station to Gion Komori is Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Railway, we will introduce the route that is possibly used the most to get to Gion Komori, via Kawaramachi Station of Hankyu Railway. You’ll spot Gion-Shijo Station on our way to the store, so you can choose between the two routes, for each will lead you to Gion Komori.
Now, let us start our little endeavor from the fifth exit of Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Railway.
As you leave the fifth exit of the station, you should be able to see the pedestrian crossing, and to your left, the McDonald’s restaurant.
Head forward from this point,
and you’ll eventually end up in front of Shijo Bridge. It is a bridge known for its beautiful panoramic view of Kamo River (Kamogawa).
Now, as soon as you cross the bridge, Keihan Railway’s Gion-Shijo Station shall appear in front of you. For those who chose Keihan Railway to get to our destination, this is the starting point of your journey.
First, walk over the pedestrian crossing using the stairs on your left, then turn left, and head straight on.
A sign that you’re heading the right way (and certainly a pleasant sight to behold) is the famous MarieBelle Chocolate’s latest brand store Cacao Market!
As you pass Cacao Market, turn right at the next corner,
and head forward once again.
This street is one of Kyoto’s finest and one of the most elegant stone paving streets, Shirakawa South Avenue.
If a red fence-looking object has appeared on your right, this is your sign to walk down the street a little further.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully arrived at the much-loved wagashi store Gion Komori’s entrance, marked with its distinctive white noren curtains.
An Ambiance Preserving the Spirit of the Past
The interior’s precious traditional feel is well-preserved, right down to the very core of traditional Japanese ambiance, tatami floor, as well as the magnificent look of the inner garden from the room. Don’t get startled if you notice a cute, small being staring at you from below the window – it is the tanuki (raccoon) statue, warmly welcoming the customers.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to photograph the hallway, but it sure does bring forth a very Japanese atmosphere reminiscent of the past times. Furthermore, customers can choose between the two rooms to spend their time in, the one we chose this time, and the one facing the river. The latter one has a spectacular and tranquil atmosphere to offer as well, so it is our recommendation to experience its charming ambiance, too, the next time you visit the store.
A Most Delightful Time in Kyoto’s Traditional Room
Finally! We find Gion Komori’s warabimochi seducing us from the plate.
To be honest with you, the only warabimochi we had tried until we came to this place, were the ones you can buy at the supermarket for 100 yen or so.
So, you can imagine our genuine surprise and how moved we were to tears, to discover the “true deliciousness of a proper warabimochi” when we first took a bite of this exquisite delicacy. It has rightfully disproved our theory on the taste of warabimochi, with only one bite – that is how exceptional it was!
Before you try the matcha tea, a little warning – don’t expect the sweet taste of some cheaper tea, as this liquid treasure will entice you with its elegant and subtly sweet fragrance. And we shouldn’t forget the zenzai (sweet adzuki beans soup), of course. The sweetness is refined and certainly not too gaudy, so you can savor the natural flavor of the adzuki beans. It left us craving for more, as we luxuriated in this heavenly dessert. This is an exquisite delicacy you ought not to miss!
Enjoy Kyoto's Traditional Sweets!
Please, forgive us for not resisting the urge to point out this store’s finest menu once again – the warabimochi, matcha tea, and the delicious zenzai. Other than that set, you can revel in some warabimochi parfait or hot/cold warabimochi-zenzai desserts among other treats available here.
Even though there are countless extremely delicious desserts of traditional Japanese cuisine, we are absolutely sure that you will adore Gion Komori’s warabimochi. Don’t hesitate to spend some quality time in a very traditional Japanese ambiance, while appreciating the luxurious wagashi desserts.
Address: Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama, Shimbashi-dori, Yamato-Ojihigashi-Iru, Motoyoshi 61
Hours: 11:00-21:00 (last order 20:30); on Sundays and holidays until 20:00 (last order 19:30)
Closed: every Wednesday
Accepted Credit Cards: None
Nearest Station: Kyoto Shijo Station, Keihan Railway
Website: http://www.giwon-komori.com/index.php (Japanese)