Food & Drink | KYOTO RESTAURANTS

Sasaya Iori: Kyoto’s 300-year-old sweets shop

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

The area around Kyoto Station seems to lack the cultural and culinary charms found elsewhere in the city, but this might be changing. A massive restoration of the nearby Higashi Honganji Temple complex will soon be completed and Umekoji Locomotive Museum will be combined into the new Kyoto Railway Museum, making train otakus everywhere happier. Along Shichijo-dori, which runs parallel to the station, a few noteworthy eateries have also taken root, the new flagship store for Japanese sweets cafe Iori being one to look out for.

in 2016, Iori will celebrate its 300th anniversary of making sweets. The menu may be spare, but what’s on offer is wonderful. Whether you are new to wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) or have developed a taste for it, I recommend trying the two parfaits, which were flavored with either green tea or kuromitsu kinako (brown-sugar syrup and toasted soybean flour). In appearance they both look like “knickerbocker glory” sundaes, but the layers of ice cream have been substituted with mochi (gelatinous rice cake) and black beans.

Other sweet dishes include macha-flavored jelly and a sugary soup with azuki beans and mochi. At the counter there’s a wide choice of confectionery that can be purchased as gifts or souvenirs.