TOP 10 Places for MATCHA GREEN TEA Lovers in KYOTO!

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I always have a soft spot for Kyoto, no matter how many times I've been there - this big city always excites me with its "small-town" feel! Here is where you can experience the rich old history and the modern feel of a city as you walk around. Not to mention, all beautiful striking Temples, the stunning Senbon Torii, the peaceful Bambo Forest, and last but not least, the divine taste of MATCHA!

Kyoto is home to Uji, a small city that is famous for producing Matcha - Uji Matcha is considered as the highest quality of Japanese green tea. While drinking Matcha straight (usually dissolved in water or milk) is highly recommended, Matcha is also used to flavor a variety of confectioneries and desserts!

So matcha lovers, without further ado, let me share my Top 10 Spots for MATCHA-everything in Kyoto that will guarantee you crave for more!

1. Saryo Tsujiri

Heard that Saryo Tsujiri was opened to teach the younger generations the practice of drinking and making tea the traditional way, under the parent company, "Gion Tsujiri" that is more well known for its Uji Matcha. 

Do try the popular Tsujiri Parfait if you choose to dine in at their relaxing cafe and/or get some Matcha Soft Serve, Freshly Brewed Teas, Matcha Floats, and some takeaway goodies.

The soft serve is smooth, creamy with rich grassy smell and a well balanced sweetness. Add some matcha sauce for an extra indulgence as you lick it up and down. Don't forget to try their Matcha Floats as well - you definitely won't regret it!

If you plan to spend a day walking around Higashiyama area, Saryo Tsujiri is within walking distance from Yasaka Shrine or the nearest Gion Shijo train station. You won't easily miss it out judging from the crowds waiting for tables outside especially during busy period. 

Higashiyama Address:
Unit 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0074 (Nearest station: Gion Shijo Station)
Opening Hours:
10am - 10pm daily

JR Kyoto Isetan Address: 
6th floor of JR Kyoto Isetan
Opening Hours:
10am - 8pm daily

2. Nakamura Tokichi

I personally love Nakamura Tokichi so much, from their different types of home brewed tea, soft serve, takeaway goodies, to their desserts menu if you choose to dine in at their place. My favorite is their silky smooth Matcha Green Tea Jelly that comes with 3 scoops of creamy and rich matcha ice cream, some chewy shiratama balls, azuki paste and matcha cookies. 

You can also try their Matcha Soft Serve served monaka-style (if you dine in) with sweet azuki bean paste and two thin crisp wafers on the side. The soft serve is milky and smooth but the matcha taste is milder and more subtle (see the different shades of green). 

Kyoto Station Store (Cafe and Tea Shop) Address: 
Suvaco JR Kyoto Isetan 3rd fl (in front of west ticket gate of JR Kyoto Station)
Opening Hours: 
11am - 10pm daily (L.O 9pm)

Kyoto Station Store NEXT (Takeaway Shop) Address: 
2nd fl of JR Kyoto Isetan 
Opening Hours: 
11am - 10pm daily (L.O 9pm)

Uji Honten (Main Store) Address: 
10 Uji Ichiban, Uji City, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 
10am - 6.30pm daily (L.O 5pm)
Here, they offer a Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience, allowing you to grind tencha into matcha with a millstone and you can also choose to enjoy matcha as koicha (thick matcha tea) and usucha (thin matcha tea) with matcha jelly as refreshment in their Genroku-style tea ceremony hut.

For other stores and their local holidays, click here!

3. Nishiki Ichiha
Located in Nishiki Market, this tea-house is popular for their signature Nishiki Ichiha Matcha Fondue that comes in a three-story wooden drawer box. Inside of each drawer, you can find couple of different dippers texture from cake, warabi mochi, sweet potato, dango, and even grilled gluten. Every dip will guarantee a thick and rich explosion of matcha flavor inside your mouth.

If you feel a bit full but fear of missing this one out, Nishiki Ichiha also has a take away stall outside the cafe serving simple version of their fondue - Kushi Dango with your choice of dipping sauce. Matcha was definitely our choice - it was rich, bittersweet, thick and fully coated the dango just the way I like my fondue.

210 Kajiyacho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-8052 (inside the Nishiki Market, about 5 minutes walk from Kawaramachi Station)
Opening Hours:
10am - 6pm daily (L.O 5.30pm)

4. Jouvencelle

Jouvencelle (means "girl" in French) is another favorite of mine specializing in western-style confections (aka Yogashi). I guess they might also be one of the pioneers to skillfully incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients into the French-themed confectioneries. Tried their Hokkaido cheesecake wrapped in bamboo leaves, I think it's called "Sagano Road" - it's rich with very refreshing flavor as the bamboo leaves also gives extra fragrance to it.

Located near Yasaka Shrine, their Gion Matcha Fondue Set is the reason why I visit this place. The dip is amazingly rich and thick - some might find it a bit too jelak midway through. 

The matcha dip is also not as smooth as Nishiki Ichiha, as you can tell from the lump, but we personally don't mind it. I shall say, more lumps more bittersweet matcha taste in every bite =)

They will also serve you hot milk once you finish dipping all the dippers. Here, you can make your own matcha latte with the fondue leftover. So, don't forget to leave some~

Gion Store Address:
Kyoban Bldg 2nd Fl, 482 Kiyoshi-cho, Minami-iru, Yasakatoriimae, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
(nearest station: Gion-shijo station)
Opening Hours:
10am - 6pm

For their other locations and holidays, check their website here~

5. Kinkaku Soft Ice Cream & Yamazaki-An

I can guarantee a lot of people from all over the world will visit Kinkakuji (also known as the Golden Pavilion) whenever they are in Kyoto. Although it's located a little outside of central Kyoto, but well, who would want to miss this extravagant looking temple covered in gold leaves?

Once you finish walking around, enjoying the stunning Zen garden and not far from the entrance gate you can find Kinkaku Soft Ice Cream that draws a crowd for their Gold Leaf Ice Cream!

Kinkaku Gold Leaf Ice Cream (left and right), Yamazaki-An Gold Dust Ice Cream (middle)
Heard that the leaf they use is a special food grade gold leaf with higher content of gold - so rest assured as this luxurious experience is super safe for consumption~ They believe that eating pure gold will give you comfortable feeling that will bring a good effect to your heart (maybe not for your wallet~)

Across the road, there is Yamazaki-An, another shop selling Gold Dust Soft Serve. Both Kinkaku and Yamazaki-an are milky, creamy and delicate, but I personally prefer the former although it's pricier (950 yen and 500 yen respectively). Kinkaku has stronger matcha flavor and it's more satisfying as you can eat it with different topping texture: sweet azuki paste and chewy shiratama balls. On top of that, this craftmanship is also a feast for the eyes as they use Japanese paper called Washi for the paper cone. 

Kinkaku Soft Cream Address: 
38-1 Kinugasa Nishigoshonouchicho, Kita-kuKyoto 603-8377
Opening Hours: 
11am - 5pm daily

Yamazaki-An (just accross Kinkaku Soft) Address: 
25 Kinugasa Babacho, Kita-kuKyoto 603-8362
Opening Hours: 
9am - 4pm daily

6. SaWaWa

Sawawa is another shop you shall not miss in Nishiki Market. Famous for their Matcha Softserve and Matcha Warabi Mochi - both have that strong bittersweet matcha taste (some might find it a tad too bitter) but will guarantee to get you hooked!

498-1 Nakauoyacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto 604-8125 (inside the Nishiki Market, about 5 minutes walk from Kawaramachi Station)
Opening Hours:
10am - 6pm daily

7. Kiyomizu Kyoami

Along the way up from the nearest bus stop to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and from the nearby street to the Kyoto's most attractive streets, Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, are lined with traditional shophouses selling many things from amulets, souvenirs, snacks, confectioneries, ice cream, and so on. 

On top of many shops that I always love to visit, Kiyomizu Kyoami is one of them! Here, they sell both cream choux and ice cream choux in vanilla and matcha flavor. For me, their choux pastry has light, crispy and airy crust - just the right consistency to hold the filling. If you prefer a soft and moist choux pastry, you might find theirs a bit dry for your liking. 

237 Kiyomizu 2-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862 (the address is actually approximate, the shop is located around 5 minutes walk from Kiyomizu-dera) 
Opening Hours:
8am - 6pm daily

8. Kyo Baum
cr: Kyo Baum
Kyo Baum is a moist and softly baked baukumchen cake made using a blend of Uji Matcha powder and Sencha and Kyoto Soya Milk (Tonyu). This one has been one of the best selling souvenirs from Kyoto for the past years and can easily be found at major souvenir stores. There are several Kyo Cafe in Kyoto, one is located about 5 minutes walk from Kiyomizu-dera, here you can try their Kyo Baum together with their other confectioneries, such as sable cookies, soft serve and their Langue de Chat.

Kyo Cafe Address:
229-6 Kiyomizu 5-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862 (5 minutes walk from Kiyomizu-dera)
Opening Hours: 
9am - 6pm daily

For other store locations, check their website here!

9. Malebranche 

If Hokkaido has "Shiroi Koibito" then Kyoto has Malebranche! This popular Western confectionery shop is only available in Kyoto and shall not be missed! Their best selling item is Matcha langue-de-chat called Cha No Ka. Using Uji Matcha brewed strong to bring out the clearness of color and the depth of taste for the thin biscuits, they pair it with white chocolate for the sweetness that goes well with the bittersweet taste of matcha. 

There have many stores in Kyoto and on top of that you can also find it at major department stores. For easy access if you're around Kiyomizu-dera, the store is just outside the main gate. 

Kiyomizu Store Address:
256 Kiyomizu 2-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862 (about 100m from Kiyomizu-dera main gate)
Opening Hours:
9am - 6pm daily

For other stores location, check their website here!

10. Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

As a bonus: The Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is the world's first joint with tatami seating! It's housed in a traditional 2-floor wooden townhouse that was built over 100 years ago.

cr: Matcha-jp
There's no booking system here and you can't wait outside too! Upon entering you just have to join the queue to order (they also sell Matcha Donuts and Matcha Scones here), then grab your order from the other counter across the hallway and find your own tatami seats on the second floor. Note that you will have to take off your shoes to sit on the tatami.

349 Banchi, Masuya-cho, Shimogawara Higashi-iru, Kodaiji Minamimon-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Opening Hours:
8am - 8pm daily

I still have couple more places in Kyoto waiting to join this list! In the meantime, can you share with me your favorites instead? Would definitely love it to try for my next Kyoto trip =)
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