1. Kandagawa Bakery
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaKandagawa Bakery
  2. Le Ressort
    Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaLe Ressort
  3. Bricolage Bread & Co
    Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

The 11 best bakeries in Tokyo that are worth your dough

From curry doughnuts to yuzu tarts, these excellent bread shops and patisseries are definitely worth your dough

Written by
Kaila Imada
&
Jessica Thompson
Contributor
Time Out Tokyo Editors
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From soba to sushi, Tokyo's got you covered, but what about bread? A bakery might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning your Tokyo food itinerary, but there’s several compelling reasons for (at least) one making the cut. You can marvel at the extraordinary range of Japanese baking mastery, like impeccably leavened sourdough, light and flaky croissants, flawlessly dainty pastries and baguettes that match anything you’ll find on the streets of Paris.

What’s more, you’ll get an insight into local flavours and unique concoctions – try a yuzu custard tart, a mentaiko furansu-pan (a bread stick filled with cod roe and mayo), an anzu (Japanese apricot) danish, a kare pan (curry-filled doughnut), and loaves woven with ingredients like edamame, shiso, black sesame and aonori.

After all, bread is one of those foreign imports that Japan has not only adopted but also adapted, adding their own unique spin on all things baked. Here are some of our favourite homegrown Tokyo bakeries.

RECOMMENDED: Prefer your dough with toppings? These are the best pizzas in Tokyo

The upper crust

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  • Bakeries
  • Waseda

Tucked away in residential Waseda, this bakery is only a few blocks from the picturesque Kanda River. The bakery consists of just a small shop front with a few outdoor seats, but you can’t miss it as a queue is often seen snaking down the street.

The selection of fresh baked goods here is absolutely divine and changes with the seasons. Of course, they’ve also got a handful of staples like shokupan (Japanese milk bread), and crusty baguettes. 

If you want to try some of the more interesting creations, opt for the beautiful matcha anpan which features twists of matcha-flavoured bean paste in between layers of soft white bread. The seasonal chestnut coffee brioche is also a must-try during the autumn. Instead of the classic bacon epi, the bakery turns out a lovely rendition featuring sausage and grainy mustard. There’s even a daily French toast, which on our visit was filled with bacon and cheese. 

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  • Komaba-Todaimae

This modern French bakery is just a few minutes' walk from The University of Tokyo Komaba campus and often feeds hungry students in between classes. You’ll find a mouthwatering selection of baked goods on display including classic French pastries as well as Japanese-style breads. 

One of the highlights here are the variety of buttery croissants that range from classic croissants and pain au chocolat to glossy almond and glazed apricot croissant danishes. They’ve even got canelés, financiers and beautiful pound cakes which also double as beautiful gifts. 

Some of our personal favourites include the macadamia nut and marron chestnut bread, which has a lovely texture, the cheese and honey focaccia, and their sun-dried tomato and chicken baguette sandwich. Some of Le Ressort’s creations can even double as a meal as you can find decadent croque monsieurs to hot dogs topped with cheese and a creamy white sauce. 

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  • Setagaya

POF Bakery (which stands for Product of Flour) is not in central Tokyo, but it’s well worth the trek to try out their unique baked goods. It’s also one of the few spots in the city that turns out fresh sourdough creations. 

Owner and baker Takafuki Shibasaki found his love for sourdough when training in San Francisco and has never looked back. All the bread baked here is organic and ranges from crusty sourdough loaves to soft, fluffy shokupan (Japanese milk bread) that’s still favoured by many locals.

The sourdough comes in a few different varieties: a regular loaf as well as a fig or walnut option. Another rare thing to find in Tokyo is proper rye bread. POF spins out organic rye loaves as well as a more hearty cereal rye variation. There’s more than one type of shokupan, too, as you can get loaves with sweet raisins as well as a premium kakushoku, which is made with eggs and butter, giving it a brioche-like texture.

You’ll also want to pick up a few of the sweet items on hand including the decadent pain au chocolat, fig rhubarb bread, custard-filled buns and the seasonal croissants which come in unique flavours like pina colada and white chocolate pistachio.

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  • Bakurocho

Tucked into an unassuming backstreet in Nihonbashi, this bakery may be small, but its selection is abundant. The consistent queue out the front speaks to the quality of the bread – we recommend going before the lunch rush to snag the best selection. Beaver Bread’s Japanese-inflected creations are a must, like the gobo (burdock root) and cheese twist, a bread roll filled with Setouchi lemon-scented egg salad, and black bean and chocolate buns. If you’re after more conventional baked goods like croissants and sourdough, you won’t be disappointed, either.

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  • Sangubashi

Owner-baker Tarui-san learned the art of sourdough while working at one of Japan’s craft bread pioneers, Levain. At his cute bakery, just by Sangubashi station, the counter is lined with sweet and savoury breads. You’ll find quintessential Japanese baked goods like anpan (red bean buns) lined up alongside French classics. The an-butter sando, a baguette filled with a wedge of butter and a slather of sweet red bean paste is a favourite, along with the raisin and walnut sourdough, and the leg ham and cheese baguette.

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  • Roppongi

An oasis in the fast-paced streets of Roppongi, Bricolate is filled with incredible bread and pastries, and the heady aroma of baking. The bakery-café is a collaboration between a chef, a baker and a coffee roaster: Shinobu Namae, owner-chef of decorated Tokyo restaurant L’Effervescence; Ayumu Iwanaga of reputed Osaka bakery Le Sucre Coeur; and Kenji Kojima of Fuglen Coffee Roasters.

Ingredients are sourced directly from farmers in Hokkaido, Shiga, Ehime, Chiba and beyond. The breads, meanwhile, are in the traditional French-boulangerie style but with a Japanese spin. Our favourites include the flaky, coiled pistachio ‘escargot’, the pastry cream-filled tropezienne, the anko-filled Viennese, and the signature Bricolage bread, with its deep caramelised crust whose dough is made of ancient variety grains. It’s chewy, with deep umami flavours.

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  • Yoyogi-Hachiman

Path is more of a bistro than a dedicated bakery, but that doesn’t stop it from producing some of the best baked goods in Tokyo. This Yoyogi institution is famed for its brunch menu, particularly the made-to-order Dutch pancake, where the super-fluffy pastry is topped with uncured ham and burrata and finished off with drizzles of maple syrup. It’s the perfect balance of creamy, toasty and sweet – in short, the breakfast of dreams.

While you wait for this dish to be prepared, treat yourself to what is quite possibly the best croissant in Tokyo: flaky crust, puffy layers, light in texture, rich in taste and oh-so buttery. It’s so perfect you’ll find it hard to stop at just one; heck, you might even forget about your Dutch pancake baking in the oven.

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  • Nihonbashi

This bakery café is run by Kate Jaksich, who previously managed San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery and Jerry Jaksich, who worked at farm-to-table restaurant Chez Panisse in California. You can browse through Parklet’s freshly baked goods at the front of the store, while the back room displays a series of artworks by local Japanese artist Yoko Takahashi and other creators from the West Coast.

The stars of the menu are Parklet’s own sourdough bread and sustainably made coffee. While the classic Parklet Country Loaf will go with anything, there are all kinds of loaves on offer, including sesame bread, olive bread and even one with ginger and fruits. 

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  • Yoyogi-Hachiman

One of the pioneers of Tokyo’s artisanal bread scene, Levain has been serving its wild-yeast leavened bread and baked goods since the ’80s. Located on the ground floor of a residential apartment block in Shibuya’s trendy Tomigaya district, the cosy, den-like brick bakery and adjacent cafe is inspired by ‘a mountain cottage at the border of France and Switzerland’, according to Mako, the wife of baker-owner Mikio Koda.

All Levain products are made from organic ingredients and at least 25 percent whole-wheat flour, while the wild yeast is cultivated onsite. Don’t miss Levain’s rustic and aromatic pain de campagne, fruit-packed ‘melange’ loaf, and the melt-in-your-mouth butter croissants.

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  • Bakeries
  • Ekoda

It isn’t easy to find, but this tiny European-style bakery and café is well worth seeking out. The excellent bread is reason enough to stop by, with up to a dozen varieties, including raisin bread and whole wheat toast on offer every day, while customers come from far and wide to get their hands on Ekoda’s shokupan (the ubiquitous white and pillowy, square-shaped bread).

If you’d like to try before you buy, sit down and order the toast set: you'll get an assortment of toast are served with salad and a choice of drink for ¥1,243. Their espresso-based coffee (courtesy of Horiguchi Coffee) are also formidable, but the main attraction has to be the superb sandwich menu. Around ¥1,000 will get you a panini set, with your choice of bread and toppings – perfect for a lazy lunch in the backstreets of Ekoda.

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  • Yoyogi-Hachiman

Located right by Yoyogi-Hachiman Station, this bakery has earned the approval of both local residents and bread-hunters from other parts of the city. All the goodies here are made from strictly organic ingredients, including the popular curry bread, a tastebud-tickling creation that'll have you reaching for more. Their fluffy, thick bagel-like breads also come highly recommended and work nicely as baguette substitutes at the dinner table. Stop by for take away and head for a picnic at the nearby Yoyogi Park.

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