Kimuraya 木村屋 (Tokyo)

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Address: 4-5-7 Ginza, Chuuou (beside the Wako department store by exit A10 of Ginza station)

Few businesses last for decades let alone for centuries. Kimuraya is one of these rare companies that started in 1874 and still exists today, right beside the Wako department store near exit A10 of Ginza station.

Yasubei Kimura, the founder of Kimuraya, also invented the anpan a sweet bun filled with red bean paste. The dark red paste is common in Asian desserts where azuki beans are mashed and sweetened. Today, Kimuraya also sells buns with various other fillings including sesame, white beans, chestnuts, etc.

The oldest bakery in Japan is fairly small and busy during my weekday visit. Prefilled bags of bread and rolls were prepared on shelves and cakes & other pastries sit in the back in a display case. But, the busiest section lies at the front of the store – wooden boxes filled with dozens of rolls and women stand bagging them to order. Since there was no English signage, it was difficult for me to decipher what was bagged, so I played it safe and waited in line at the front where the wooden boxes at least display buns so you can guess at what fillings were inside.

Keeping with tradition, I purchased two red bean and two black sesame buns for my husband and I.  One was ¥150 per bun while the other ¥170, which is fairly expensive for a scone sized roll. 

You may be wondering, other than the history, what makes it so special? From what I can gather, it has a higher filling to bun ratio and the filling is set perfectly in the middle of the bun for even distribution rather than off to one side like competing products. Moreover, the filling itself is thicker and uses a lot of the ingredients so you really get the natural taste of the red bean and sesame without it being overly sweet. Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I just remembered to snap a photo of the filling while gobbling down my second bun.

Aside from sweets, Kimuraya is also known for their tofu bread, but I wasn’t able to find it due to the lack of labels. Overall, if the queue isn’t long and you’re in for a snack, drop by Kimuraya when you’re shopping around Ginza to try out one of these historical baked goods.

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