Kyoto is, after all, famous for its traditional Japanese sweets. There are many Japanese sweets shops in Kyoto with over 200, even over 300 years of history. The charm of these sweets can be seen in how they vividly reflect the four seasons. The sweets that reflect the season by taking their inspiration from seasonal flowers and events are delicate in their beauty and fascinate all that put their eyes on them. These delicate sweets that are even to this day made by hand, one by one, are something everyone who comes to Kyoto should try.
This time I’m going to only talk about the delicious sweets that color the spring in Kyoto, and that the famous shops of Kyoto offer! I hope you will try some of these when in Kyoto.
First I’m going to introduce Kamesuehiro.
This long established Japanese sweets store, Kamesuehiro, is known for having supplied sweets to the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo-jo Castle.
Among their sweets, my recommendation is this, “Kyo no Yosuga.” Kyo no Yosuga is the most famous sweets box at Kamesuehiro, and it’s full of luxurious dried Japanese confectionary that beautifully but cutely represents the season, all in an Akita cedar box. It almost looks like a jewelry box so it’s really cute.
The next shop also has over 200 years of history, and it’s Tsuruya Yoshinobu.
The sweets in the picture are a spring specialty, a sweet in the shape of a cherry blossom, and a sweet in the shape of a Hina doll’s kimono sleeve. The kimono sleeve made out of pink and green mochi rice cakes, and the blossom with the petals hollowed out a bit to make some shade and shadows, are both made with delicate care, and through them, you can feel the passion Kyoto’s Japanese sweets artisans have toward their craft.
Tsuruya Yoshinobu has a new shop called Tsuruya Yoshinobu IRODORI close to Kyoto Station Hachijoguchi and the shop also has a cafe. These colorful pastel colored Japanese amber sweets in the picture are really popular among girls! This shop which combines tradition with the present is surely worth a visit.
Tsuruya Yoshinobu IRODORI- Kyoto Station Asty Road
Suetomi is a Japanese sweets shop founded in 1893. The founder of Suetomi trained at the aforementioned Kamesuehiro before starting his own business.
Suetomi’s sweets start with the idea of “the world of dreams and enjoyment.” These sweets do not only represent the seasons, but also make you feel the season. It might be a good idea to visit both Kamesuehiro and Suetomi the same day.
Kanshundo is an old-established shop which began its business in 1865 close to the Kiyomizu Temple. The Japanese sweets are so colorful and small that they make me choke up with emotion. They are most famous for their matcha tea bowl that can be eaten. It is said that the late master of Kanshundo, when working with the people making Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, thought of this tea bowl as a representation of the soul of the tea ceremony. To represent everything through sweets is just what I expected from such a long established shop as Kanshundo. The great caress and techniques used in making these sweets are moving.
The colorful Japanese sweets overflowing with seasonal feelings are something I wish you will take home carefully.
Kanshundo - Higashi
Lastly, I’m going to introduce a sweets shop that is even extremely famous in Kyoto, Oimatsu. The shop here was founded in 1909, but when you look at the roots of the shop you can see that it is quite a long established store.
Oimatsu is in one of Kyoto’s hanamachi, the geisha district Kamishichiken. It’s close to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine so many tourists also visit the shop.
Just what I expected from a hanamachi geisha district! Inside the shop you can see the hand fans of the maiko that have visited the shop.
This is Oimatsu’s spring sweet. The sweets of Oimatsu are made each month reflecting the season, and as they were originally made to be enjoyed at tea ceremonies they go really well with matcha tea. The gentle sweetness and smooth texture of the sweets is something you won’t forget.
Oimatsu - Kitano
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