Ginza Nishikawa Shokupan

Specialty shop for your pillowy loaf of bread

By Sherilyn Siy    - 2 min read

Walking away from the bustling electric district of Akihabara, I chanced upon a shop that seemed out of place with its quiet elegance. Outside, the noren or traditional shop curtains displays the words 食パン (shokupan). Intrigued and enticed by the delicious smell wafting out, I went in to check out the shop's bread selection.

Inside, the shop was practically empty. No rows of asssorted breads on display; only white paper bags on clean, Zen shelves. Customers walked out with one or two of those white paper bags. Then, it hit me. This was no ordinary bread shop. This is the shokupan shop, a shop that sells one, and only one thing, elevating the word "specialty" to new heights.

Shokupan is probably the most common type of bread in Japan. In the supermarket, they are packaged as square shaped slices of pillowy white bread made of white flour, milk, margarine and sugar. Half loaves can go as cheap as ¥100.

At ¥800 a loaf (excluding tax), Ginza Nishikawa's shokupan is probably not your daily bread. But you get what you pay for. This premium shokupan is sweetened with honey. Instead of milk and margarine in cheaper commercial versions, only fresh cream and butter are used, blended with the finest Canadian flour.

Ginza Nishikawa's point of pride is the water used to prepare the dough. As sake, soba and tofu makers know, the quality of water has the power to control the taste of the final product. Alkaline ionized water has a higher pH and its use in bread making results in a silkier, sweeter, lighter bread.

The shop recommends first tasting the bread as it is to enjoy the delicate fragrance and texture of freshly baked shokupan. On the second day after purchase, the light crust settles and sweetness increases. On the third day, the shop recommends toasting the bread so the outside becomes crisp while the inside remains chewy soft.

Getting there

Ginza Nishikawa Shokupan is a short walk from Exit 1 of Akihabara Station of the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan. 

Join the discussion

Sleiman Azizi 2 months ago
I would never have thought to treat bread like that.
Sleiman Azizi 2 months ago
Well, it kind of makes sense. Quality foods will have peak times to enjoy their full flavours, right?
Kim B 2 months ago
I love how they give you instructions on how to enjoy the bread, almost like it's a wine tasting! Fancy!
Sherilyn Siy Author 2 months ago
Shokupan connoisseurs!
Elizabeth S 2 months ago
Shokupan without sugar is really hard to find in the supermarkets. This shokupan sounds like a treat with honey and real dairy in it. It's probably better for you than mass produced shokupan bread, too.
Sherilyn Siy Author 2 months ago
I try to avoid margarine. I have only found one brand in the supermarket that makes shokupan with real butter and not margarine. So yes, this one made with honey, butter and cream is the cat's meow.