Nov. 15, 2019 UPDATE

The Best Desserts Around the Kodai-ji Temple Area

A major tourist destination, the area around the Kodai-ji Temple is home to a veritable boatload of shops and restaurants. With so many choices, it can be a real struggle to figure out which places are truly worth your while. That’s why we locals over here at Sharing Kyoto compiled a list of the restaurants we think have the best and most delicious desserts and sweets in and around the Kodai-ji area!
kodaiji sweets

Even among the plethora of tourist spots in Kyoto, the area around the Kodai-ji Temple continues to be one of the most visited places in the city. With light-up events in autumn and spring, the area sees its fair share of visitors every year to its steep stone steps and tiny pathways that snake through the surrounding Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka hills. With so much walking to be done here, it's only natural you'll likely start craving something sweet to nibble on. However, with so many shops in the area, it can be tricky to pick which one to go to. But that doesn't mean you have to settle for what's right in front of you.

Keep scrolling and see our top picks for desserts and sweets in the Kodai-ji Temple area.


Salon de Muge

Salon de MugeSalon de Muge is a beautifully Japanese-esque café owned and operated by famous Kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi. Although located at the top of a hill, this doesn’t dissuade swaths of customers from enjoying this fantastic cafe every day.

At Salon de Muge, you can enjoy everything from parfaits and Japanese pudding (crème caramel) to Tarte Tatin, all in a spacious café setting that overlooks a magnificent Japanese garden. You’ll also be treated to Japan’s famous omotenashi customer service from the kimono wrapped staff.

Salon de Muge

Our recommendation at Salon de Muge is their seasonally appropriate fruit-filled seasonal parfait.

As Salon de Muge is highly popular with domestic tourists, we highly suggest making a reservation in advance.

Address 524 Washiocho, Kyoto, 605-0825
Open Hours Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Café time: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. (last order: 5 p.m.)



Slow Jet Coffee Kodai-ji

Slow Jet Coffee Kodai-jiAt Slow Jet Coffee Kodai-ji, you can enjoy delicious coffee, amazing sweets and incredible views. In addition to Kodai-ji Temple, Slow Jet Coffee gives you unobstructed views of the entirety of Kyoto City.

While the area is home to many old machiya Kyoto townhouses, Slow Jet Coffee sits in a new, modern building.

matcha parfait

Our recommended dessert is the eye-popping matcha parfait. This gaudy parfait contains both strawberry and matcha ice cream atop a base of handmade locally grown matcha pudding.

Slow Jet Coffee also has savory food and smaller nibbles, too, so if you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, then this place is a great option.



Address 526 Shimokawaramachi Kodaiji, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Open Hours 9:00 a.m.-5.30 p.m. (Last orders) During Kodaiji's Special Night Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (9:30 p.m. last order)



Dandelion Chocolate Kyoto Higashiyama Ichinenzaka

Dandelion ChocolateLocated in the Ichinenzaka area, Dandelion Chocolate Kyoto is a chocolate specialist and must-check spot for any chocoholic. Although originally from San Francisco, Dandelion Chocolate’s Higashiyama Ichnenzaka location finds its home inside the renovated walls of an over 100-year-old traditional Japanese house that simply screams Kyoto. The hot chocolates, brownies, ice creams and other chocolate delights you’ll enjoy at this snug wee spot are precisely what your body will be craving after a long day of trekking around Kyoto.

packaged desserts

Dandelion Chocolate also has a massive range of packaged desserts on sale, too, so you can even take a few things back to enjoy at your hotel as well.

Address 363-6 Masuya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0826
Open Hours Café: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Last orders at 5:30 p.m.) Cacao Bar: Only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: 12 noon-6:00 p.m. (Last orders at 5:00 p.m.)



ZEN CAFÉ

ZEN CAFÉZEN CAFÉ is a café owned and operated by over 400-year-old Japanese confectionery Kagizen Yoshifusa. However, standing in stark contrast to their parent store, ZEN CAFÉ is bright, polished, and modern. Additionally, with window side seats for one surrounded by bookshelves, ZAN CAFÉ also boasts a wonderfully tranquil and chilled-out atmosphere. The desserts offered here include Japanese wagashi classics such as chagashi, sugary sweets served with tea, and kudzu mochi, mochi-like sweets made with kudzu starch. However, while ZEN CAFÉ may be a modern café, the elegant flavors and sweetness their desserts can be attributed to the techniques that Kagizen Yoshifusa has refined over the last 400 years.

Japanese sweets

If relaxing with authentic, first-rate Japanese sweets sounds good to you, then make sure ZEN CAFÉ is on your itinerary by hitting that star a the top of the page.

ZEN CAFÉ is quite popular, so you may have to wait in line; however, it is very much worth the wait.


Address 570-210 Gion-machi Minami-gawa ,Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Open Hours 11am - 6pm (L.O.5:30pm)


Kisshokaryo Gion

Kisshokaryo GionThe final restaurant on our list is the Gion area’s Kisshokaryo Gion. Known for their warabi mochi, Kisshokaryo should be on the list of any kinako (ground roasted soybeans) fans. Enjoy the jiggly handmade warabi mochi by sprinkling it in kinako, ground soybeans, or by covering it in brown sugar syrup. As a side note, kinako refills are entirely OK!

roll cake

Also, don’t forget to check out the incredible black roll cake made with bamboo charcoal! With warabi mochi packed inside, this roll cake gives you everything you want from a cake, while treating you to hints of traditional Japanese sweets.

Kisshokaryo also has a shop, so are great for souvenirs as well.

Address 306 Ishibashi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Open Hours Shop: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Café: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.


Conclusion


The area around the Kodai-ji Temple is truly packed full of stores.

Our articles on the stores we showcased above include even more exquisite and unmissable sweets and desserts, so make sure to check them out for more information.


Use this handy Google Maps map to find the shops listed in this article.


Sakurako[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
I'm not actually the biggest fan of sweet things. I usually get sick of them halfway through, but the desserts I showed above were all things I found myself putting down, no problem. The refined, elegant atmosphere and not sickly sweet desserts these places offer all culminate in this lovely feeling of Kyoto. With the area around the Kodai-ji Temple being constantly busy and hilly, to boot, you find yourself seeking moments of rest. Before you head to this area, tuck the places I showed above somewhere safe in your head and pull them out next time you find yourself in this situation!
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Cafes & Sweets Cafes kodai-ji Gion & Kiyomizu Temple
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