Friday, June 24, 2016

Japan: Matcha up to in Kyoto

After the sister and I departed Tokyo, we headed towards Kyoto, Japan's capital once upon a time. I will blog about what we have been up to in Kyoto but for now, I am buzzing with excitement about one of the few things that you MUST do whilst in Japan - celebrate their matcha culture.

Tea is definitely a big part of Japanese culture just like how coffee is so important to us here in Australia. There are various types of teas available, be it green or brown, roasted or fresh - it is an experience itself.

Today's blog post is dedicated to all the matcha dessert outlets I have visited whilst in Kyoto.  There are so many different brands to choose from but sadly, we could only squeeze a few into our agenda although, there's always a next time, right?:)

Gion Koishi

Conveniently located towards the end of Gion's main street, this place is famous for its ameya (Japanese candy) and also for its kokutomitsu (black sugar) syrup. Testers are available at the front counter and the lady boss was kind enough to give us a couple of rose flavoured candy on our way out - which tasted amazing and its far better than a boring hard factory manufactured candy.

Green tea parfait ~ loved how there are set menus to choose from and was fortunate to find a mini parfait as we weren't hungry yet. Strong kick of matcha ice cream and copious amounts of jelly to counteract the bitterness from the matcha.

Kokumitsu with warabimochi ~ Warabimochi is made from bracken starch and has a doughy mochi like texture to it. True enough, the black cane syrup was sensational - neither too sweet or too dull for the palate. Wished I had grabbed myself a bottle of it as a souvenir:(

To sum up, this place is a must try if you love candies and would want an assortment of sweet items to try out. Their jellies are silky smooth and refreshing, especially after a long, tiring day.Highly recommend you try out their kokumitsu syrup;)


The sister and I managed to sneak some time to visit Uji aka Japan's tea capital. Walk across away from the JR train station and across the river and thou shall be rewarded by the green tea gods.

Green tea soba noodles with mackerel ~ I love how green tea leaves are utilized as pickles here and whilst I could only taste faint essence of green tea incorporated into the soba, it was still an excellent homemade soba noodles worthy of a try for those seeking savoury options.

Hot matcha ~ the vibrant sight from this cup of matcha was like nothing I have seen before and in terms of taste, oh yes there's a lot of matcha kick to it.

Matcha swiss roll cake ~ a well made piece of cake but did not have much green tea element in it.

Warabimochi ~ whilst not as good as the one from Gion Koishi, it was still an enjoyable treat for the day:)

Green tea parfait ~ my sole purpose for coming here and yes, it was worth the  hype. Layers consisted of ice cream, fresh cream, green tea jelly and matcha syrup, this was an epic way to be greeted by Uji. I am very sensitive towards dairy products but found the cream used here was so fresh and creamy. A must try!

Nakamura Tokichi

With an outlet just above the Kyoto JR station, we managed to grab a bite here after returning from Uji. There is an outlet in Uji and in case you missed out, there's also a branch in Osaka and Sapporo. Lucky Hongkies get a shop as well.

The queue was insane for the JR station branch and we waited for a good 20 minutes before getting a table.

Green tea kitsune soba ~ the sister was again craving for savoury items and went with the soba noodles. I think its comparable to the one from Itohkyuemon, what do you think?:)

Matcha latte ~ whilst not as vibrant as the one from Uji, it was still a good cup to simmer down with and I would be more than happy to lounge with it over a good book.

Green tea parfait ~ green tea ice cream, green tea jelly, sweetened red beans, mochi, rice bubbles and sponge cake. The sister preferred this one as it has an assortment of textural elements in it and I do have to agree with her on the textural bits. It was strangely satisfying spooning into this cup of green tea. Although, I still think the taste of matcha is still stronger from Uji.

Shops along the way

Throughout Kyoto, you will be greeted by a crazy number of green tea shops, all selling good quality green tea snacks and souvenirs to take home. We did try bits and pieces from a few of the shops but after indulging ourselves in Uji, it was difficult to make a comparison. That and the fact that we are usually stuffed to the brim and are a bit more picky when that happens :p

Tsujiri Honten

Were we lucky to have passed by this place else would have missed it. At this stage, the sister had reached her quota of desserts and could only settle for small treats.

Green tea latte and soft serve ~ and so, we ended up with little treats here while we rested ourselves after parading in kimonos for the entire morning. Soft serve never fails to disappoint me in Japan and that cup of green tea latte was gooooood.

More on Kyoto in subsequent posts! Stay tuned

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