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Classic Japanese sweets in nostalgic Kagurazaka

A trip to nostalgic Tokyo would not be complete without strolling through Kagurazaka, an illustrious neighborhood that used to be one of Edo's centers for traditional cuisine and entertainment.

If you wish to sample the most classic of Japanese sweets, 紀の善 Kinozen is an absolute must-visit. Established in 1948, Kinozen is one of Kagurazaka's long-established sweets shops. Despite its unremarkable storefront, there's almost always a line outside.

Kinozen's signature dish is the Matcha Bavarian Cream, ¥961 (tax included). The main feature is a precise square of matcha pudding made from the highest quality green tea from Kyoto. This is adorned on one corner with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and on the other corner, a scoop of sweet red beans. The pudding is silky smooth with a deliciously strong and bitter flavor only the best matcha can deliver. This is balanced off by the light and airy cream. Sweet beans are great by itself, but in this trio, the beans add the richness that completes this popular dessert.

Throughout the year, Kinozen offers seasonal items such as strawberry anmitsu (a dessert with small cubes of white translucent agar jelly) in the spring, kakigori (shaved ice) and shiratama zenzai (dessert with three sticky rice balls) in the summer, chestnut anmitsu and kuzumochi (mochi cakes made from fermented wheat starch) in the cold autumn and winter months.

Kinozen also serves savory dishes for lunch or dinner if you would like to eat something more substantial before dessert. Highly recommended are the kamameshi dishes. Kama is a small iron pot in which rice, meat and vegetables are cooked together. The rice at the bottom which soaks up all the flavor gets slightly burned and crisp, and is the best part of kamameshi. For autumn and winter, duck porridge is quite popular and comes in a size big enough to share.

Getting there

Kinozen is located on the bottom end of the famous Kagurazaka shopping street (the end closer to the river). It is less than a minute's walk from Exit B3 of Tokyo Metro's Iidabashi Station.

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Elizabeth S 2 years ago
Wow, both kamameshi and sweets? This place is a treasure.

The neighborhood is so nice for a stroll along the canal in spring or autumn.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I truly appreciate your kind words and enthusiasm for Kinozen and the neighborhood's charm. It's wonderful to hear that you find it to be a treasure, and I agree that the canal-side strolls in spring and autumn are simply delightful. Thank you also for highlighting the article's depiction of Kinozen and the Matcha Bavarian Cream. Your suggestion of trying lotto is a fun twist, and I hope everyone enjoys both the flavors and excitement that these experiences offer!
Bonson Lam 2 years ago
I had Kamameshi once on a cold day once in Shikoku, it was delicious as you said and captivating watching it cook in front you. All the other meals and desserts are very luxurious sounding too. I love traditional sweet makers, you really get a feel of their dedication to the craft. https://en.japantravel.com/osaka/kishiwada-confectionery-lane/25156

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