Tokyo can sometimes make us feel a bit lonely, especially when it starts to get cold outside. That’s when we crave familiar faces and a warm, cozy place that welcomes us wholeheartedly and reminds us of our childhood kitchens, where the aroma of warm, freshly baked cookies and pies wafts around in the air.
If you can relate to this feeling or are simply looking for a place to get home-baked cookies made with high-quality ingredients, then you’ve hit the jackpot: I highly recommend you check out this hidden treasure in Tokyo called "Kies."
Lonely city streets often echo our desire for comfort, and “Kies” unveils itself as a secret oasis.
It's where cookies aren't just baked; they're woven with love and nostalgia, offering a bite of premium ingredients and heartfelt dedication.
Founded by Ms. Hori, my dear friend and professional baker, “Kies” rekindles the joy of homemade treats. Each cookie and baked good embodies the essence of high-quality, flavorful, tasty ingredients and the joy of shared moments.
No need to hold back those cookie cravings – it's time to don our finest Cookie Monster costumes and dive into all you need to know about 'Kies.'
Unexpected Delight: Founder of ‘Kies’ Pays a Visit – A Tale of Cookies, Coffee, Friendship, and Memorable Moments in Portland
I am excited to share that the founder of ‘Kies’ has paid me and my family a visit all the way from Japan to Portland.
She has also brought us some of her cookies as 'Omiyage'; my honest, unbiased opinion is that the cookies tasted Phenomenal. I can say confidently that...
‘Kies’ cookies are my favorite cookies in the world right now.
Her vast knowledge of any food-related topic, especially ingredients, amazed me.
You will see this in her cookie shop, too – she uses many exciting and unique ingredients to bake her cookies, cakes, and pies, such as…
lavender, pineapple, cardamom, rock salt, mint, olive oil, orange, Matcha, white chocolate, cherry blossoms, bitter cacao, cranberries…
And the list goes on!
She has also shared with us that she has worked as a baker for two years in the United Kingdoms, the very heartland of some of the globe's most cherished baked delights, such as shortbread, scones, bourbon biscuits, and custard creams.
Over two years, she lived, trained, and kneaded her way through the UK's rich baking traditions before returning to Japan to open her own cookie shop.
If you are good at riddles, you might have already guessed that the name of the shop comes from the last part of the word – "Cookies." The welcoming logo of the name was designed by none other than the founder's sister.
'Kies' is located in a Tokyo neighborhood called 'Nishi Ogikubo.' This neighborhood is known as the 'antique district' of Tokyo. It is dotted by many quirky cafes and bars, small antique shops, local art stores, and many other charming independently-owned establishments. Here, magic and nostalgia dance hand in hand. The spirit and pride of Nishi-Ogikubo is something we Portlanders can very much relate to – 'Support Local.'
Nishi-Ogikubo – An underrated Tokyo neighborhood that should be on your Tokyo trip itinerary
You often hear about Ginza, Akihabara, and Shimokitazawa when people from abroad visit Tokyo. However, if you want my two cents, I highly recommend adding Nishi-Ogikubo to your travel plans.
Nishi-Ogikubo is an excellent place for foreign visitors who want to experience a more laid-back and authentic side of Tokyo that's different from the bustling energy of places like Shibuya or Shinjuku.
Here are some of the biggest reasons (apart from trying out the home-baked cookies from 'Kies') you might want to explore this neighborhood.
- Cultural Experience: As mentioned earlier, Nishiogi offers many independent shops, cafes, and boutiques that reflect the local culture and arts. It's a great place to understand Tokyo's grassroots arts and crafts scene.
- Antiques and Unique Finds: For those who love vintage items, antiques, or unique finds, Nishi-Ogikubo's numerous antique shops and markets are a treasure trove. These places often carry items that tell a story and provide a tangible link to Japan's past.
- Food and Cafes: The independent cafes and eateries in Nishiogi are a treat. Whether you're after traditional Japanese fare, innovative fusion cuisine, or simply a good cup of coffee in a cozy setting, this neighborhood has got you covered.
- Less Touristy: For travelers who prefer less crowded and commercialized places, Nishiogi offers a respite. It's a place where you can walk leisurely, explore at your own pace, and interact with locals.
- Proximity to Other Attractions: While Nishiogi itself is a great place to explore, it's also conveniently located within Tokyo. It's a short train ride away from other popular areas, making it a nice base or a day-trip destination.
- Safety: Like much of Tokyo and Japan in general, Nishi-Ogikubo is safe for foreigners. People are generally friendly and willing to assist if needed.
When the founder of Kies, Ms. Hori, was visiting us in Portland, we talked a lot about how Nishi Ogikubo is similar to Portland in the sense that there is a strong community spirit and a passion for shopping and supporting 'local and small' businesses.
No Starbucks in Nishi-Ogikubo
And oh, let's indulge in a little coffee talk, shall we?
As my regular readers know, Starbucks often finds its way into our conversations. During a chat with the visionary behind Kies, Ms. Hori, a fascinating fact came to light:
Nishi Ogikubo boasts no Starbucks store.
Now, that's an eyebrow-raiser, considering the ubiquity of Starbucks across Tokyo's main train line stations. The absence of this coffee giant isn't a mere coincidence; it's a testament to the unwavering commitment of Nishi-Ogikubo's residents to champion the 'Support Local' cause.
Feeling the urge to pay a visit? Here's where to find 'Kies':
📍 Address: 4 Chome-35-5 Nishiogikita, Suginami City, Tokyo 167-0042, Japan
⏰ Opening Hours: Keep your finger on the pulse by checking their social media pages for updates.
Get a taste of 'Kies' magic and join the ‘support local’ spirit through their online presence:
🌐 Website: https://www.heyheykies.com/
📸 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kies_nishiogi/
📘 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiesnishiogi/
🐦 Twitter: https://twitter.com/kies_nishiogi
Complete your cookie experience at Kies with a cup of Japanese coffee on the side.
Isn't it delightful how both 'coffee' and 'cookies' begin with the letter 'C'? It's as if they were destined to be the perfect pair!
When you step into 'Kies,' treat yourself to a steaming cup of authentic Japanese coffee (Interested in learning more about Japanese coffee? Click here!) alongside their delectable specialty cookies.
Every cup of coffee is meticulously prepared through a manual pour-over technique right before your eyes.
The coffee beans they use are carefully sourced from an independent micro-roastery known as 'Drip,' (国分寺どりっぷ) where a passionate master roaster crafts his coffee right at home.
This seasoned roast-master has honed his craft over many years, specializing in small-batch roasting. Yet, the range of coffee beans he offers and the exceptional quality of the end result leave no room for doubt.
Here's an insider tidbit: He maintains a diary brimming with daily weather observations, documenting how they influence the roasting process.
“Drip” coffee roaster makes specialty coffee, both blends and single-origin, available in different roasting levels such as light, medium, and dark.
Some of their notable coffee beans:
- Mocha Matari (Yemen) Light roast
- Old French Blend Deep Roast
- El Salvador (Central America) Light roast
- Rwanda (Africa) Dark roast
Hungry for more Japanese coffee beans? Here is a well-balanced coffee that pairs exceptionally well with cookies.
What truly sets 'Kies' apart is the unwavering commitment to 'support local' embodied by Ms. Hori. Her decision to source coffee beans from an independent home coffee roaster speaks volumes about her brand's dedication to nurturing local talent and flavors.
But it's not just about supporting the community; it's about offering her guests, the discerning connoisseurs, an exceptional taste experience. 'Drip' coffee roaster has mastered the art of roasting beans to perfection, precisely tailored to the Japanese pour-over technique, the very method practiced at 'Kies' cookie shop.
Besides coffee, you can also order a cup of heart-warming tea brewed using tea bags from the renowned British tea brand BrewTea.Co. She mentioned that the package color looks nice on the shelf and especially she used to live in London; this is her choice of tea for her shop.
They also have a charming seating area inside the shop where you can enjoy baked treats with coffee or tea. And if you are a 'dipper' style cookie lover, then all the better for you – freshly baked homemade cookies, one dip in your favorite coffee or tea, and then you take a bite, and the cookie beautifully melts in your mouth!
Looking for new Japanese coffee and tea to accompany your cookies?
Treat yourself with unique Japanese tea and coffee to savor with your cookies.
What makes the Kies cookies and baked treats so special
Please note that their cookies are not always "in stock," and there are seasonal ones, too, so when you are there, you may not find all the ones I mentioned here.
The biggest reason they are so special is obvious– they are simply incredibly delicious!
However, the baker and founder behind this cookie shop take cookie-making to the next level. She bakes them using flavorful, exciting ingredients, and she knows how to combine the flavors and ingredients perfectly.
One of their best-selling cookies – the “Thanks” cookies. Not only delicious but so heart-warming!
There are so many different kinds, and I can't choose!
Another fantastic one is this light, moist, and fluffy sponge cake baked using olive oil, featuring the taste and flavor of lavender and orange.
There are some other baked treats I recommend trying from 'Kies.'
Here’s the best bit for any cookie lover at Kies - You don't need to commit to a mountain of cookies straight away (unless you really want to, of course!). 'Kies' offers you the delightful option to pick and choose, starting from just a single piece of each cookie type.
🌟 "Thanks" Cookies: Heartwarming delights with a touch of gratitude, perfect for gifting smiles to your loved ones.
🍋 Cardamom & Lemon Peel Cookies: A zesty symphony of flavors that's like a party for your taste buds.
🌾 Whole Wheat Biscuits: Healthy never tasted this good – give your taste buds a wholesome hug!
🥜 Peanut Butter Cookies: Peanut butter lovers, brace yourselves for a cookie-hug of nutty bliss.
🌿 Rosemary & Almond Cookies: Take your taste buds on a nutty, herby escapade – a paradise of flavors!
🍇 Raisin and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies: Chewy, nutty, and oh-so-satisfying – these cookies mean serious business.
🍵 Hojicha Biscuits: If you're a Hojicha aficionado, these biscuits are your golden ticket to flavor town. And don't miss out on the Hojicha banana bread and Hojicha brownie recipes – they're pure magic!
🍋 Lemon Cake: Zingy and delightful, this lemony delight is like a burst of sunshine in cake form.
🍫 White Chocolate and Cardamom Cake: A dance of luxury and spice that'll make your taste buds twirl in joy.
🍍 Caramel Pineapple Cake: Sweet, sticky, and utterly irresistible – this cake is a tropical dream.
So, dear readers, if you ever find yourself in Tokyo, especially Nishi-Ogikubo, I implore you to seize the opportunity to visit 'Kies.' Venture into a realm where you can experience the warmth. Until then, may your cravings be wild and your cookie jars ever-full! 🍪🎉
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