The abundance of bakeries scattered throughout major cities would certainly lead one to believe that despite being a rice-loving nation, Japan does have room in its heart for bread. From French patisseries to New York-style baked goods, there’s a loaf to suit every carb-lover’s craving. Here’s a list of some of the best bakeries in Hiroo and surrounding areas, including some gluten-free alternatives.


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1. Truffle Bakery

Finding Truffle Bakery on the bustling Hiroo Dori isn’t as hard as you might think. If its striking brick exterior hasn’t visually drawn you in, follow your nose and the heady scent of truffle wafting well outside its doors. Just as its namesake suggests, the bakery focuses on utilizing truffle-infused treats such as the truffle egg sandwich. Another recommendation is the white truffle salt bread. Not only is white truffle often more prized than its black variety, but Chef Naoko Komata has also gone to great lengths to choose the right flour and butter to accompany this delectable treat.

2. Sawamura Bread & Tapas

The proof in this bakery’s popularity lies in the weekend queues that start just before 7am when it is about to open. Still, this isn’t some hyped-up affair, the customers are all locals well-versed in their classic loaves and seasonal pastries with Japanese ingredients. Always busy but never crowded, they also have a lunch and dinner menu if you have time for a sit-down. If not, iced coffee to go is particularly refreshing. A lesser-known secondary location inside Hiroo Plaza gives you options when you’re in the area.

3. Bartizan Bread Factory

A little further in the neighboring Minami Aoyama lies Bartizan, a uniquely health-conscious bakery. They aim to provide healthy type breads that customers can eat every day without worry while savoring how delicious they are. Most of their breads such as their sourdough and ciabatta are made with homemade yeast, carefully selected wheat and minimal sugar, fats or oil. Dining-in is possible with their simple menu featuring items like tomato, ham and keema curry cheese toasties. If you’re feeling lucky, the kind staff might sometimes throw some new bread samples in with your order.


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4. Panshirou Tezukayama

To sourdough aficionados, Japanese shokupan can seem like the antithesis to what good bread should be with its pillowy innards and tinge of sweetness. But those in the know understand that shokupan has earned a place in its own right and is the breakfast carb of choice for many and the building blocks for some of Japan’s most decadent sandwiches. Panshirou Tezukayama is one such shokupan shop by bread craftsman Kenji Matsuda. True to most artisanal crafts, Panshirou Tezukayama only makes two types of shokupan, the ‘kaku’ which has flat sides all around like a rectangle and the ‘yama’ which has rounded tufts reminiscent of a mountain range. One can also purchase a specialty shokupan knife, perfect for cutting your prized loaf.


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5. Shizen Shokuhin F&F

While not a bakery per se, this organic store offers many items that you wouldn’t necessarily see in typical Japanese supermarkets. Noteworthy are their cakes, cookies and bread made from gluten-free alternatives such as rice and soy flour. One hot favorite is their gluten-free five grains rice bread with koji. Sold in three-slice packs either fresh or frozen, these when toasted have a roasted aroma, crunchy crust and gooey almost mochi-like insides. These are treats so good, they are not reserved only for the gluten-intolerant.

6. The City Bakery

With roots in New York dating back to the 1990s, The City Bakery now enjoys popularity across Japan with its many outlets in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto and more. Bread is naturally the main focus here, with several different types of loaves on offer. For a quick bite, these are also available in sandwich form to go with hearty options like chicken avocado and a creamy egg sandwich. The coffee too is nothing to scoff at, so make sure to order a cup to pair with sweet fig and raspberry tart or blueberry corn muffin. Inside seating is available or one can sit outside for a spot of dog and people watching.

7. Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser needs no introduction as one of the most accessible French bakeries in Japan. Its location in Hiroo Plaza makes it a convenient stop on the way out after purveying the wares of Meidi-Ya. One can never go wrong with a classic croissant or the Tornado 2 Olives for a savory Mediterranean snack. For something to last you through the week (or less), a slice of the Baguette Monge will transform your breakfast.

8. Boulangerie Burdigala

Burdigala derives its name from the ancient Latin word for ‘Bordeaux,’ a region of France known for its high-quality terroirs. This is the image the boulangerie seeks to create for its customers, choosing only the finest ingredients as the foundations of their goods. From different flour types to natural yeast, salt and fermented butter, you can savor each bite of their Seigle fruit bread or Mais cornbread, guilt-free knowing that it has all been made with care in mind. Even if you’re not thrilled about bread, Burdigala also has petit fours and gateaux for those with a sweet tooth.

9. La Maison Jouvaud

La Maison Jouvaud is another long-standing player in the bread and cakes scene. Having opened its first outlet in 2003, the brand continues to stay strong with various outposts throughout Japan. Less a bakery and more a patisserie, it’s their macarons, mini cookies and tarts that have customers coming back for more. For a special occasion, their Désirade, an Entremet mousse cake made with chocolate and vanilla beans is certain to be a crowd-pleaser.


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10. Kiriy’s Fresh

Where Kiriy’s Fresh may lack in a showy shop front, they more than make up for in no-nonsense homely flavors. Pop by for sugared donut twists, fruit danishes, melon bread and more that will have you reminiscing your childhood days. These pastries might not be award-winning or game-changing but sometimes the taste of home and the ham sandwich version of a warm hug is what you need to get through the day.

Feature image: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN /