Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Boulangerie Papi-Pain: A Studio Ghibli-Like Bakery In Nagoya
Boulangerie Papi-Pain is an independent bakery in Nagoya, with a charm similar to the Studio Ghibli film, "Kiki's Delivery Service." Learn more about the unique history of this French-style bakery, its delicious bread, and its owner.
Written by Chien
Boulangerie Papi-Pain (Papi), located in Nagoya, is a European-style bakery that looks like it came out of the Hayao Miyazaki's "Kiki's Delivery Service."
The bakery has an irresistibly cute storefront, but the owner himself is behind the shop's popularity. Many people frequent the store, and bread is often sold out by early afternoon. Let's take a look inside and see what makes this such a special bakery.
About Boulangerie Papi-Pain
Papi is located by Nagoya Municipal Subway's Ueda Station. The charming exterior catches the eyes of many people passing by, and the bakery's inside brims with the aroma of freshly-baked bread.
Customers stepping into the stylish bakery will surely be reminded of "Kiki's Delivery Service" and the magic of Hayao Miyazaki.
Instead of Kiki, a friendly staff member will be standing behind the wooden showcase. Most Japanese bakeries are self-service style, but at Papi, the staff will retrieve your baked goods for you. They will also advise how to enjoy the bread best.
The names of the baked goods, such as croissant, custard bun, and French bread, are all listed in the display, along with a description of each.
The Story of Papi-Pain
On the day of the writer's visit, the owner, Kasama-san, talked while kneading the dough and checking the work of the staff.
Kasama-san talked about the history of the bakery and himself.
Studying Baking in France
Before opening the bakery, Kasama-san was working as an office worker in Tokyo, commuting to work wearing a suit daily. After years of working, he decided to quit his day job, with hopes of being more creative and crafting something himself.
He decided on bread making, packed up, and went to France with his wife and children.
Kasama-san stayed in France for two and a half years, learning the language, bread making, and taking the required baker's exams.
The owner spent time with his family and with French people, learning firsthand about the rich, local food culture.
Selling Rare French Bread in Japan
"After opening the bakery, the French bread did not sell well at first," Kasama-san said.
French bread was not common when Kasama-san first returned to Japan to open Papi. Instead, traditional toast, often from fluffy white bread loaves, was popular. The timing of Papi's opening was too soon.
Kasama-san decided not just to sell bread, but to also educate his customers on how to eat it. He would offer tips to visitors, providing suggestions to pair the French bread with jam, stewed vegetables, and soup.
He also started selling easy-to-eat, cut slices of the baguette, which were more popular than loaves. The word got around that Papi's baguettes were delcious with vegetables. The bread grew popular, and it is now one of the most-bought items at the bakery.
Three Popular Breads at Papi
Pain de campagne Fig is a sourdough-like French bread that is crisp on the outside and soft inside. The organic fig from Turkey has an exquisite, sweet and sour taste.
The sliced baguette (tartine ratatouille), which comes with olive, tomato, and spinach on top, is also very popular. It has a unique, spicy taste, and is perfect for breakfast.
Another customer favorite is the multi-layered croissant, with its crisp, flaky texture. It is well-baked and makes a satisfying crunching sound when you bite into it.
The Name of the Bakery
The name, which sounds like a magic spell, came from a French picture book about an old artist opening a bakery. Kasama-san found the book just before returning to Japan.
Hoping to start a bakery frequented by the locals, just like the old artist in the book, he chose the words papi ("grandfather" in French) and pain ("bread") for its name, and built the bakery in a European style.
Building More Small Bakeries in Japan
While Papi has turned into a busy bakery, the owner doesn't just want to succeed in bread making. He hopes to train his employees well enough so that they can start a bakery of their own.
There are many bakery chains in Japan, but the number of independent bakeries is declining. Due to this, Kasama-san employs staff from all over the country and encourages them to open their shops.
Visit Papi-Pain for Delicious Bread Made with Love
The writer of this article bought bread from Papi-Pain during their visit. When they ate it later, they were reminded of Kasama-san and the bakery workers, all smiling while making the bread.
When in Nagoya, be sure to stop by Papi. Visitors will be swept away by the charming storefront, flavorful the bread, and feel welcomed by the bakery's kindhearted staff.
In cooperation with Boulangerie Papi-Pain