Feb. 18, 2016 UPDATE
Enjoy out Matcha in Kyoto!
Pop 'n Cute Matcha Sweets
The field of matcha has seemingly reached its apex, spreading to such confections as parfaits, Swiss rolls, shaved ice, ice cream, pancakes, and even Kit-Kat bars. With such an explosion of items, only the truly best shops are bound to stand the test of time. Tsujiri, found in every guidebook, is not the only place to enjoy delicious matcha sweets in Kyoto. Learning about the vast range of sweets shops will let you know wide potential of matcha sweets, and you'll be learning about the profoundness of Kyoto as a city.
Saryo TsujiriAll the same, we can't exactly not include the stalwart Tsujiri on this list! And why might that be? That's because, it had been a historic Japanese tea shop long before Tsujiri became a destination for snaking lines of ladies descending for delicious matcha sweets. They are extremely well-versed in the best ways to present high-quality green tea and Matcha, along with other Japanese teas, ensuring you enjoy them to the fullest. At the end of the day, Tsujiri's matcha parfait is exquisite, and we get excited just seeing the way it comes to the table, a sculpture of sweet bliss. If you feel hesitant to stand in line, we suggest going right after opening time or at noon! In addition to Tsujiri, there are several matcha sweets shops in the Gion area.
Gion-KomoriOne is Gion-Komori, which opened for business shortly after WWII. The shop is housed in a “Nagaya”, a traditional Kyoto-style building, and they serve fine matcha parfaits, bracken-starch dumplings, and other delicacies. Near Gion-Komori are some of the Kyoto's oldest and most historic buildings, and this is a specially-designated zone for the preservation of architecture. Strolling through the streets, you almost feel as if you've warped into a decade ago in Japan. The sounds of a murmuring stream and the seasonal views pair perfectly with a matcha-flavored sweet -- the perfect capstone to your Kyoto voyage.
Nishiki IchihaIn the thick of things in the bustling Nishiki Market is this great matcha sweets shop that you simply must visit. The chic, black interior of Nishiki Ichiha is where you'll enjoy parfaits, pancakes, and a variety of other sweets. One unique item is a dish of fruit and simple Japanese sweets that can then be dipped in a matcha chocolate sauce. The name is telling: Nishiki Ichiha Fondue. The box installed with drawers you see brimming with ingredients is apparently designed especially for the fondue! If you don't have time for a leisurely meal in the shop, try the Matcha pop corn, which is crafted for take-out!
Umezono CAFE&GALLERYNo matter where your travels take you, there is one universal formula: duck past the hustle and bustle of the central areas and into a sidestreet and you will suddenly find small cafes and shops that usually only the locals know about. This is true at Umezono CAFE&GALLERY, a perfect hideaway. It was opened in 2010 by the historic sweets shop “Umezono” and slowly spread by word of mouth among locals and then to Kyoto-lovers across Japan. The interior evokes Northern European design, and there is a small inner garden, as well as shelves decked out with a range of cute accessories. It's almost like spending time at a good friend's home. We recommend the Green tea pancakes. These fluffy pancakes are made with Matcha from Uji, a region south of Kyoto that is known for its high-quality green tea. Do give them a try!