Founded in the latter days of the Muromachi Period, and boasting a rich history spanning five centuries, Toraya has been introducing Parisians to wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) since 1980, bringing one of the Kyoto’s oldest traditions to France.
As the story goes, Toraya was originally an official supplier to the Imperial Court during the reign of Emperor Go-Youzei (1586-1611) — starting out with a base in Kyoto, before following the Imperial family to Tokyo during the transfer of the capital in 1869, and opening up a shop there also.
Fast forward to the present, and Toraya now has about 80 outlets in Japan, and several boutiques overseas, including its outlet in Paris, which — when it initially opened, was the first time many would have seen a "Noren" (traditional Japanese fabric dividers hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows) in the French capital.
Today, the shop on Rue Saint-Florentin is an iconic landmark, serving up these intricate little Japanese delicacies on the daily — using exactly the same carefully selected ingredients in its Paris store that are used in Japan — and offering curious patrons a sweet taste of culture from a faraway land.
The signature dessert in Toraya is, of course, a ‘wagashi’ — a small, sweet pastry based on natural ingredients including adzuki red beans, wasanbon sugar, and agar-agar — and here, the artisans skilled in Toraya’s traditional production method create sweets that are both flavorful and beautiful to behold, with each and every item freshly created, and carefully crafted by hand.
Located in the 1st arrondissement, Toraya is not just a pastry shop, it’s a little part of Japaneese culture in Paris, delightfully filled with Asian traditions and know-how. An exotic, sweet gem in the heart of the city, which begs to be discovered if you haven’t yet.
Perfect for: A little tea ceremony with a twist, before going to the Louvre.
What to order: Seasonal Namagashi with Matcha tea.
Address: 10, Rue Saint-Florentin 75001 Paris (Google Maps)
Trading hours: Open every day from 10.30 am to 7 pm except Sunday and holidays // Also will be closed for 3 weeks of annual closure in August.