Kyoto is well-known for its temples, shrines, green tea, and people walking through the street in traditional kimonos. But Kyoto is also teeming with stylish cafes that serve various coffees, teas, and desserts.
Somewhat of a recent trend in Japan, it is rare to find the classic New York-style cheesecake with the perfect combination of crumbly and buttery crust with a rich, creamy, and dense filling.
The most prevalent type of cheesecake in Japan is the souffle style, which can only be described as airy, lightly sweet, fluffy, and intensely creamy. Japanese souffle cheesecake can be found in cafes, cheesecake shops, grocery stores, and even convenience stores across the country. However, some Japanese cafes and bakeries have been able to create entirely unique styles of cheesecake, taking the best things about Japanese style and western style cheesecakes.
10 Must-try Cheesecake Shops in Kyoto
We have curated a list of our favorite cafes and shops where you can find the most delicious cheesecake in Kyoto.
- Sir Thomas Lipton
- Gastromesón Chuleta
- Cafe Kari Renge
- Fromagerie Harmonie
- Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo
- BAIKAL Cafe
- Papa Jon's
- Kaikado Café
With a minimalist style, this quiet and intimate cafe uses seasonal fruits to garnish its original cheesecakes. Some fruits served aside from their delicious cheesecakes are strawberries, grapes, figs, blueberries, rhubarb, pineapples, and more. While fresh fruit is the perfect pair for a plain cheesecake, the real showstopper is the cheesecake itself. Slowly and lightly baked, their cheesecake has a rich taste and gooey texture, unlike most cheesecakes in Japan.
The cafe has a pleasing aesthetic, consisting of stark contrasts between white walls, black accents, wooden tables, and ceiling trimmings. Kew cafe has become popular among young locals and those who enjoy taking charming photos for social media. Located near Ritsumeikan University campus and a train station, kew is often lively with locals, enjoying coffee, sweets, and good conversation.
2. Sir Thomas Lipton
In Porta, the shopping center underneath Kyoto Station, Sir Thomas Lipton Teahouse is a great start or finish to a day filled with traveling around Kyoto. It is the perfect place to take a break from shopping, rest your feet, catch up with friends, and savor delightful cakes.
The most notable on this long list of sweets is their baked cheesecake, which can be ordered independently or with coffee or tea. Since Sir Thomas Lipton is an English brand, you may expect them to have the traditional western style of super sweet, rich, and dense cheesecake; however, they serve the Japanese souffle-style baked cheesecake. Because the ingredients are whipped and baked on low heat for longer, their cheesecake is exceptionally light and airy, with a subtle flavor and a buttery consistency.
3. Gastromesón Chuleta
This popular Spanish bar is most famous for its basque cheesecake, which is presented on a fun and funky platter. Locals come flocking to get a taste of this light and fluffy, rich, and sweet-tasting cheesecake, with a layer of gooey and melty filling and a contrastingly slightly bitter top layer. Basque cheesecake is not a typical style in Japan, so it is a "must-eat" when searching the streets of Kyoto for sweets and desserts.
Located in Gion-Shijo and next to Kawaramachi street, one of those most popular areas within Kyoto city, Gastromesón Chuleta is surrounded by various stores and pubs. Enjoy their mouthwatering basque cheesecake while taking a break from shopping or as an after-dinner treat before checking out some of the local bars.
4. Cafe Kari Renge
This cafe implements seasonal flavors into their baked cheesecakes; sake wine-infused cheesecake in the winter, topped with a homemade berry sauce in the spring, chestnuts mixed into the cheesecake filling in autumn, citrus-infused cheesecake in the summer, and so much more. The filling is light and airy, with a subtle sweetness that allows you to experience local flavors and ingredients.
Cafe Kari Renge is right off one of the most popular streets in Kyoto, surrounded by shopping areas, department stores, and two famous Kyoto museums. This location is perfect for a mid-day break from your travel activities or to end the day with some delicious cheesecake and coffee or tea.
What else is "more Kyoto" than a matcha (Japanese green tea) cheesecake? You can order a sweet, rich, thick cheesecake at this cafe, with slightly bitter-tasting matcha swirled into the filling and a crumbly bottom layer.
Located right outside Kyoto's most famous temple and UNESCO World Heritage site, Kiyomizu-dera, Ten, is a chic cafe featuring a mix of traditional and modern Japanese style, art, and design. Sweets and drinks are served in gorgeous and delicate ceramics, adding to the traditional feel of the cafe.
6. Fromagerie Harmonie
Fromagerie Harmonie makes their cheesecakes with various types of cheese, including; blue cheese, Mascarpone cheese, caramel, gouda cheese, and more. You can visit many times during your trip. Still, each time get a fine and airy souffle-style baked cheesecake with various richly cheesy and creamy flavors.
Positioned perfectly within walking distance of a handful of museums and Japanese gardens, Okazaki park, a colossal shrine, and the Kyoto City zoo, Fromagerie Harmonie has a prime location for making the most out of your time in Kyoto while giving time to take proper rest to refuel for the rest of the day.
7. Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo
This cheesecake shop sells picture-perfect and portable bottled cheesecakes; for those foodies who like to post their food adventure pictures on social media and those just looking for a quick on-the-go snack. The packaging is one of many unique things about their cheesecakes. The texture is very similar to a pudding, unlike most cheesecakes you will get in Japan. You'll find precisely what you're looking for with these sweet and rich flavored cheesecakes in plain, matcha, and strawberry.
Refrain from letting the name confuse you; the Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo shop isn't near the Kiyomizu Temple. However, it's a small semi-retro-style shop just down the river from one of Kyoto's more traditional Japanese areas.
8. BAIKAL Cafe
This cafe offers similar standard baked cheesecake slices served in dessert and sweets shops around Kyoto. With the basics covered, they also provide more unusual but delicious, fluffy, light, and airy bars of cream cheese baked cheesecake.
BAIKAL Cafe has the best location on this list, located directly outside of Kyoto train station. Walking a few minutes from the cafe, you can get on a train or bus that can take you locally or anywhere in Japan.
9. Papa Jon's
No, the pizza place isn't selling cheesecake now – but North Americans will find a familiar taste at this cafe. Serving an authentic New York-style cheesecake with a thick and dense filling, buttery and crumbling crust, and rich and sweet taste. You can find a wide variety of flavors, including marbled, chocolate, matcha, strawberry, blueberry, and Earl Grey.
Near a prestigious university and Kyoto National Garden, Papa Jon's is a famous cheesecake shop among locals, university students, and tourists.
10. Kaikado Café
This cafe offers an impressive cheesecake style reminiscent of the traditional rich, dense, and sweet cheesecake with a buttery crumb base. What sets their cheesecake apart from other shops is that it's served in a small circular shape, rather than a slice, and topped with a firm vanilla buttercream.
Kaikado Café is a highly fashionable and cozy cafe located nearby a large Japanese garden and within walking distance of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Station. The surrounding location is somewhat of a "hipster's paradise," complete with a few craft beer bars, coffee shops, and a record store.
Whether you are a cheesecake connoisseur or just looking for a quick fix for your sweet tooth, Kyoto has no shortage of trendy cafes and cake shops to find exactly what you're looking for. Cheesecakes are a popular dessert across the country, so don't miss the Best Cheesecakes in Tokyo!
Looking for the best activities and places to visit while in Kyoto? Check out our list of 20 of the Best Things to Do in Kyoto.
Check out our 9 Recommended Spots for the Best Dinner in Kyoto to find a delicious meal before (or after) your cheesecake quest.