So here I am... currently planning yet another trip next year to my favourite place in the entire world.
The magical place I been lucky enough to visit on many occasions and as well as calling home for 7 months, has and always will have a special place in my heart.
This will be trip number 8 and it never gets old, the excitement continues to grow day by day until we're on that plane and Japan bound.
This time I will be also making an important visit to our tea supplier, Kifukuen and their Award Winning Tea Farm (where our Premium Matcha is sourced) to check out Ichibancha ( which translates to First Harvest in Japanese). This special period occurs in late Spring every year when after being shade covered for a couple of months, the cloths are removed and the picking of only the finest tea leaves begin.
But more on that to come...
For now, let's drool over these 10 must-try Matcha hot spots to visit in Japan! They're on our wish list and if you're heading to Japan and also enjoy Matcha, we suggest you add them to your list as well!
Even if you're not planning a trip, I'm pretty sure these tasty treats will make you drool like crazy.
(photo credit : The Travelling Squid)
Ahhhh...I have such a sweet spot for Parfaits as one of my favourite things to do while living in Kyoto was to enjoy this special kind of dessert with friends.
Parfaits often contain seasonal flavours but you can't go past good old Green Tea flavoured ones like the one pictured here, featuring Green Tea flavoured Ice Cream, Mochi, Cake and Doryaki.
Nanaya Ice Cream (Tokyo/Kyoto)
(Photo Credit: Moshi Moshi Nippon)
This ice cream parlour has a couple of outlets, one in Tokyo and a relatively new store has opened up this year in Kyoto. Green Tea Ice Cream is one of my absolute favourite desserts, there's just something about the refreshing taste of Green Tea teamed up with Ice Cream that keeps me going back for more!
Moshi Moshi says "They offers seven varying levels of matcha intensity – level 1 begins with a more moderately sweeter flavour, but as you progress up the scale to level 7 the flavour of the matcha becomes richer and deeper"
I'm totally keen to try Level 7 as I like my Matcha strong and to pack a powerful punch of flavour. Level 7 is said to use high grade Matcha which makes me want to try it out even more!
Inari Saryo (Kyoto)
(Photo credit: Gori Luckey)
A new cafe has opened on the grounds of the iconic and much visited Fushimi Inari Shrine.
And what better way to celebrate this unique location than a Parfait with an actual Red Tori and fox illustration in it, paying homage to its special location. These gorgeous features naturally caught my eye when I came across this Parfait online and knew that it was definitely going to land on this list!
Premarche Gelataria (Kyoto)
(Photo Credit: Happy Cow)
It's so very exciting to find an outlet with a whole variety of options catering for Vegans and Non-Vegans alike.
And so many super unique flavour combinations too from Ume (plum), Kinako (Roasted Soybean flour), Yuba (Tofu Skin), Canadian Hemp Seed, New Zealand Kiwi, Olive Oil, Tomato and we're dying to know what "The Ninja" flavour is all about!
Loads of yummy organic products are also available at the store.
We see repeat visits in our future!
Hello Kitty Cafe (Kyoto)
(SEP 2020 UPDATE - this cafe is now permanently closed)
(Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Saryo)
This super kawaii cafe is a fairly recent addition to the Kyoto cafe scene and a definite must see for lovers of Hello Kitty and Matcha alike.
In the gorgeous strip of shops leading up to Kiyomizudera in the historic Higashiyama area, it's a lovely place to stop for a breather and enjoy a treat such as an Iced or Hot Matcha Latte as pictured here, complete with a sweet little Hello Kitty face staring up at you. Almost too cute to eat, don't ya think?
We just can't wait to see the reaction on our toddler's face when she sees one of her favourite characters in her meal. What a delight!
Ippodo Tea House (Kyoto)
For a tea lover , no visit to Kyoto is complete without a visit to the historic Ippodo Tea House, who have been in business for 3 centuries. So they definitely know what they are talking about and the quality of tea is top notch!
Sit down in the Tea Room to relax and enjoy a cup of Matcha (of varying strengths) with a sweet treat (as pictured above)
They also run tea classes to learn how to prepare and enjoy Japanese tea.
If you want a real taste of Japanese tea culture, then look no further!
(Photo Credit: Sharing Kyoto)
This cafe without a doubt is as beautiful as the desserts it serves. Situated in Uji, (aka the heartland of Matcha) just a 5 min walk from the station, this enchanting teahouse simply oozes traditional charm with a sophisicated edge. Their many parfaits are absolute works of art and change seasonly.
But it doesn't stop there, this teahouse offers all kinds of premium chocolates, cakes, mochi, ice cream and more.
For a Matcha lover, the quaint town of Uji (around 20 mins by train from Kyoto) is a must visit - you can literally smell it in the air, ah what a heavenly place!
Nakamura Tokichi Honten (Uji)
(Photo Credit: Sharing Kyoto)
Ever heard of Warabi Mochi? It's a a chilled, deliciously chewy, jelly-like mochi (rice cake) that melts in your mouth and a must try when in Western Japan.
The name of "Warabimochi" comes from an edible wild plant "Warabi" (bracken) which is used as main ingredient. These come dusted with Matcha and served with a sugar syrup to pour over. Drool worthy indeed!
For a different kind of dessert to ice cream or parfait, give this a go!
Teo Kafon (Kyoto)
(Photo Credit: Sharing Kyoto)
A Matcha Sweets plate for under $10? Hell yes!
Here at Teo Kafon, the perfect fusion of Western and Japanese cuisine and a recent addition to the Kyoto cafe scene, you can try a selection of Matcha flavoured treats such as a tart, swiss roll, chocolate ball, pastry and eclair.
WOW! Perfect for sharing or maybe not, depends how generous you are feeling haha.
And to get a taste of Japanese tea tradition, you can make your own Matcha with whisk here and enjoy it out of a special ceramic bowl. Ahh!
Itohkyuemon Uji (Kyoto prefecture)
Have you ever watched "Kentaro, the Sweet Tooth Salary Man" on Netflix?
If not, do yourself a favour. One of my favourite episodes is Kentaro drooling madly over his Anmitsu dessert. Check it!
This is a very traditional Japanese style dessert and one that many places take very seriously. It usually consists of Agar Jelly which is a white translucent jelly made from red algae. It's served with yummy sweet Azuki bean paste (did you know these beans are full of protein? So don't feel too guilty haha) and then a variety of other toppings such as fruit (Mikan or Mandarin is a common choise) , ice cream and finally sweet black syrup, to send the blood sugar levels off the Richter scale!
But hey it's worth it right?
We hope you enjoyed our rundown of Matcha hot spots to check out in Japan!
Let us know if you have any favourites to add to the list!
For the next best thing to being in Japan, check out our collection of Matcha Green Tea Powders to enjoy at home: