It wasn’t so long ago that matcha was relatively unknown outside of Japan. Now in something of a matcha boom, this vibrantly green tea has been steadily gaining popularity abroad. So if you’re a fan in the mood for something matcha while traveling through Japan, then the best place to go is Kyoto. Kyoto is home to Uji, a small city that is famous for producing matcha. While drinking matcha straight is highly recommended, there are also decadent matcha sweets like these that you won’t want to miss.
Matcha Bavarois Parfait - Giwon Komori
As the name suggests, the star of this elegant parfait is the silken bavarois or Bavarian Cream Parfait made with matcha. To this they add both matcha and vanilla ice cream as well as other traditional Japanese sweets like anko. Also, this shop has kept the tatami mat rooms from the time when the building was used as a tea house so you to eat your parfait in true Japanese style.
Address: 61 Motoyoshi-cho, Yamato Oji Higashi-iru, Shinbashi-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
March to Nov.
Mon - Sat 11:00am~9:00pm (LO 8:30pm)
Sundays and national holidays: 11:00am~8:00pm (LO 7:30pm)
Dec. to Feb.
11:00am~8:00pm (LO 7:30)
Closed Wednesdays unless a national holiday.
7 min walk from Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Line)
Website (Japanese only): http://www.giwon-komori.com/
Maruto Parfait - Nakamura Tokichi
If you want an authentic Uji matcha experience, then a trip to Nakamura Tokichi is a must. This business has been around for nearly 160 years, so you can trust whatever you order from these matcha pros will be amazing. In particular, we recommend the matcha Maruto Parfait, which is only available at their Kyoto Station location. Not only is this parfait full of matcha flavor, the way the textures of the ingredients such as the matcha chiffon cake and the matcha jelly contrast with each other is fun.
Address: 10 Uji Ichiban, Uji-shi, Kyoto
Cafe hours: 11:00am~5:30pm (LO 5:00pm)
1 min walk from JR Uji Station (JR Nara Line)
10 min walk from Keihan Uji Station
Suvaco JR Kyoto Isetan 3F
Address: Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Cafe hours: 11:00am~10:00pm (LO 9:00pm)
Located in front of the west ticket gate of JR Kyoto Station
Matcha Parfait - Kyo Hayashiya
The store Kyo Hayashiya is thought to have started the matcha parfait craze in Kyoto. Once you try their matcha parfait, you'll understand why. This parfait is made using three different preparations of matcha: jelly, cream, and ice cream. The simple garnishes of shiratama dumplings, whipped cream, and a wafer cookie as well as a bit of pineapple and banana inside compliment the bitter-sweet perfection of the matcha.
Address: Takase Bldg. 6F
105 Nakajima-cho, Sanjo-dori Kawaramachi Higashi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Hours: 11:30am~9:30pm (LO 9:00pm)
3 min walk from Exit 6 of Keihan Sanjo Station (Keihan and Subway Tozai Lines)
Website (Japanese only): http://www.kyo-hayashiya.com/
Matcha Tiramisu - Shimizu Ippoen (Kyoto Main Store)
Located near Sanjusangendo, the Kyoto Main Store of Shimizu Ippoen is a great place for a sweets break after walking around Kyoto. Shimizu Ippoen works together with tea farmers to produce the finest quality tea, which then makes its way onto the cafe menu. Our recommendation here is a refined, east-meets-west treat: matcha tiramisu made with Uji matcha.
Address: 665 Honkawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Hours: 11:00am~5:30pm (LO 5:00pm)
Closed Mondays. If Monday is a national holiday, the store will open Monday and close the following day.
10 min walk from Shichijo Station (Keihan Line)
12 min walk from Tofukuji Station (JR Nara Line)
Website (Japanese only): http://hitosara.com/0006059470
Awayuki - Gion NITI
The perfect way to cool off during a summer trip to Japan is with a kakigori shaved ice. While these come in a variety of delicious flavors, the best one for a summertime trip through Kyoto has got to be matcha. And the best place to get it? Definitely Gion NITI (pronounced Gion Nichi). This shop uses natural ice brought in from Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture to make their awayuki shaved ice. Meaning “light snow,” this fluffy, icy treat captures the matcha syrup so you get a perfectly-flavored bite every time.
Address: 570-8 Gion-cho Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Cafe hours: 11:00am~6:00pm
7 min walk from Keihan Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Line)
Website (Japanese only): http://www.gion-niti.com/
Kyoto Uji Matcha No Midori - Yuki No Shita
For a Kyoto-twist on a familiar favorite, try a Kyoto Uchi Matcha No Midori matcha pancake from Yuki No Shita. I say “a” pancake because one pancake here is an impressive 4 cm (1.5 in.) thick! The sweet, mellow taste of the matcha is complemented by the adzuki beans and whipped cream on top.
Address: 145-1 Sanjo aburanokoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Weekdays 9:00am~6:00pm (LO 5:20pm)
Saturdays 10:30am~7:00pm (LO 6:20pm)
Sundays and holidays 10:30am~6:00pm (5:20pm)
10 min walk from Subway Karasuma Oike Station (Karasuma and Tozai Lines)
Website (Japanese only): http://yukinositakyoto.net/
Hisui Mochi - Saryo Hassui
For a unique matcha experience, try the hisui mochi at Saryo Hassui. The brilliant jade green of this beautiful sweet reflects the greenery of Arashiyama that surrounds the store. This firm, jelly-like dessert is made with luxurious amounts of matcha from Ippodo and arrowroot powder. Each bite is filled with the taste and aroma of matcha.
Address: 12 Sagatenryuji Susukinobaba-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Hours: 11:00am~5:00pm *Hours may change seasonally.
15 min walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
15 min walk from Hankyu Arashiyama Station (Hankyu Line)
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