Tarui Bakery1/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTarui Bakery
Tarui Bakery2/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTarui Bakery
Beaver Bread3/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaBeaver Bread
Vaner4/6
Photo: Matthieu BühlerVaner
Path - croissants5/6
Photo: instagram.com/path_restaurantPath
Bricolage6/6
Photo: Bricolage

The 8 best bakeries in Tokyo

The city’s upper crust: these excellent bread shops and patisseries are definitely worth your dough

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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Soba? Tick. Sushi? Tick. Bread? Hmm. Okay, so 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. Firstly, you’ll be eating like a true local: many Japanese eat bread daily for either breakfast or lunch. Second, 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 the Japanese have 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? Hese are the best pizzas in Tokyo

The upper crust

Beaver Bread
Beaver Bread
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Beaver Bread

Restaurants 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 (¥260), a bread roll filled with Setouchi lemon-scented egg salad (¥400), and black bean and chocolate buns (¥260). If you’re after more conventional baked goods like croissants and sourdough, you won’t be disappointed, either.

Tarui Bakery
Tarui Bakery
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Tarui Bakery

Restaurants 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 (¥250) is a favourite, along with the raisin and walnut sourdough (half a loaf is ¥345), and the leg ham and cheese baguette (¥540).

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Bricolage
Bricolage
Photo: Bricolage

Bricolage Bread & Co

Restaurants Bakeries Nogizaka

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.

Levain
Levain
Photo: Matthieu Bühler

Levain Bakery

Restaurants 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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Path - croissants
Path - croissants
Photo: instagram.com/path_restaurant

Path

Restaurants Bistros 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.

Parlour Ekoda

Restaurants 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: five varieties of gently browned bread are served with salad and a choice of drink for ¥780. 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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Vaner
Vaner
Photo: Matthieu Bühler

Vaner

Restaurants Yanaka

Norwegian-style sourdough specialist Vaner bakery is nestled at the back of Uenosakuragi Atari, a small cluster of 100-year-old Japanese houses that have been converted into a collection of shops, restaurants and event spaces. As you enter through the sliding shoji doors into the compact bakery, you face a large glass panel with a full-frontal view of the preparation counter, where you can often see owner-baker Tsukasa Miyawaki at work.

Vaner focuses on just six types of breads and pastries, including the classic sourdough loaf (known for its chewy caramelised crust and spongy, umami-rich, slightly sweet crumb), fragrant cinnamon and cardamom scrolls, and rustic, flaky sourdough croissants. The ingredients are a mix of Japanese wheat sourced from Tochigi prefecture and Norwegian organic heirloom grains, which are stone-milled in Tottori prefecture.

365 Jours

Restaurants Bakeries 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. The shop has a small counter of six seats if you want to dine-in, or take away and head for a picnic at the nearby Yoyogi Park.

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