Bread. It might not be what you usually associate with Japan, but the Japanese love their bakeries. And the Aso area is no exception!
As you drive around and explore Aso you will soon notice that there are many delicious looking bakeries all around you.
The reason is, of course, the plentiful water that produces high-quality ingredients such as grain and vegetables.
So, this time I will shine a spotlight on some of the bakeries that deliver true top-class bread is the Aso area!
In Minamiaso Village you can find this bakery that goes by the name of “Merucoro”.
This fashionable little bakery can be found by route number 325. The shop melts together with the surrounding nature creating this idyllic scenery.
Here we have the entrance, let’s step right in!
Inside we find everything from bread to sandwiches and even a wide assortment of jam.
Every single day they bake over 50 sorts of bread using nothing but natural yeast!
If you have a hard time to pick among all the options then I recommend you try out the hard dough bread.
In the picture, we can see their raisin filled grape bread.
The outside is crispy while the inside remains fluffy and soft. And you can clearly feel the distinctive taste of its ingredients. Merucoro is known for its bread containing dried fruits which unleashes its full raw potential when combined with wine!
The bakery is also connected to a small café space where you can enjoy a light meal or cake!
By the entrance, you see their showcase featuring different forms of tart topped with entire fruits! These are super popular as well!
Address: 〒869-1404 Kumamoto-ken, Aso-gun, Minamiaso-mura, Kawayou 3765
Website: http://www.lata-merucoro.com/merucoro/bread/ (Japanese only)
Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00 (November – February, 〜18:00)
Fixed holidays: Thursday
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/CW6XnUep8yvG4yfm7
Sorairo no Tane
Next on our list is this bakery. On the outskirts of Oguni town, you can find “Sorairo no Tane”.
This small bakery is located right by the entrance to the onsen, Oka no Yu. On the top of a small but steep elevation is this, very small but undeniably popular, bakery that could have been grabbed right out of a fairy tale.
Ascend the staircase and let’s head inside!
Here is the interior of the shop! It is so small that if 5 people entered at once, it would be hard to move. Before closing time on weekends, you can expect there to be a queue of people waiting outside for the chance to buy some bread at this popular bakery.
In total, they offer about 20 different varieties of bread.
Their recommended product is this sandwich that uses homemade smoked chicken or bacon. It might not look like something out of the ordinary, but trust me, this is really good! What brings it over the top is the tasty dressing that absorbs into the bread and harmonizes perfectly with the chicken!
Outside the entrance, you have a few tables where you can enjoy your cache.
The round bread at the front is great as well. This is Jersey milk bread which is made only from Oguni Jersey milk, and you can truly feel the natural sweetness of this local specialty.
Sipping on a coffee and biting into freshly baked bread as you relax on the terrace while being wrapped in by the gentle breeze of nature is nothing but divine.
If you are passing by Oguni, then you have to make a stop at Sorairo no Tane,
Sorairo no Tane
Address: 〒869-2504 Kumamoto-ken, Aso-gun, Oguni-machi, Daiji Nishisato 3223-20
Website: http://soraironotane.jp/ (Only Japanese)
Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00
Fixed holidays: Wednesday/Thursday
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/7SpUgjg5PWEEMkaNA
This is Furukiya in Nishihara Village. In spite of the shiny red colors of Furukiya, this bakery is easily missed as you drive along the road.
This is what the entrance looks like!
Here you can see some of the tasty looking bread that you find lined up in the store.
Every single piece of bread looks simply delicious but in Furukiya, there is one bread to rule them all.
Introducing, a bread that includes Aso’s no 1 specialty, Akaushi beef!
You can either have the Akaushi hamburger (600 yen) or the Akaushi curry bread (200 yen). Neither of them can be found lined up in the store and are only baked once an order comes in. You might have to wait a few minutes but this way you are guaranteed to enjoy it freshly baked!
I ordered the Akaushi curry bread!
Sipping on a coffee free of charge, small talking with the staff, and before I knew it the bread was done (〜3 min)!
Here it is!
The curry has a mild spiciness which lets you fully enjoy the umami of not only the Akaushi beef but also vegetables.
And, of course, freshly baked/fried making it perfectly crisp!
Furukiya is located right by the entrance to Aso, Nishihara village. The perfect place to stop by, either on the way to Aso or on your way back after a day of adventures.
Address: 〒861-2402 Kumamoto, Nishihara, Aso-gun, Komori 3622-4
Opening hours: 7:30 – 18:00
Fixed holidays: Monday/Tuesday
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/ekjJxoTowcmkx7Pc8
Here we have three of my recommended bakeries! But there are many more adorable and tasteful bread shops hidden away in the great nature of Aso.
Stop by that little shop you saw as you were driving by or ask the people where you’re staying for tips. Be brave and explore every nook and cranny until you find your favorite bakery!