The Deep Kyoto Guide to Import Stores
Living abroad, we all have one little something we miss from home, the absence of which makes our life seem less than complete. For me that thing I crave is Marmite; those little brown jars of nutritious yeasty goodness. A by-product of beer brewing (further evidence of the coolness of beer) this delicious goop is packed with B vitamins and has a uniquely funky taste. It is often used in soups, sandwiches, sauces, and as a hangover cure but as Paul Hartley’s The Marmite Cookbook shows there is no end to its versatility. I have to tell you, I love the stuff. And what is more I love Kyoto, partly because Marmite is so readily available here. Kyoto is blessed with many import stores so whether you are after Marmite or other intrinsic ingredients for that favorite dish, you shouldn’t have a problem. Here is a short guide to help you find those stores:
Jupiter is a huge emporium of imported goods in the underground Porta shopping complex in front of Kyoto Station. Sadly they don’t have Marmite, but they do have an impressive selection of confectionary and coffee, plus the usual cereals, imported booze and ingredients for Mexican, Italian & Asian cuisine. Coming towards Kyoto station from the north-east on Shiokoji Dori, take the first flight of stairs down and walk past Jeugia, Yamamoto and Inoda Coffee. Jupiter is on the left corner opposite Lotteria. You can find a simple map here and clever little 3-D map thingy here. Jupiter is number 107 on the map.
Open everyday from 9:00 ~ 21:00
There are now two Yamaya stores in Kyoto. One is in the basement of the Qanat shopping complex on Kawabata Dori, just north of Demachiyanagi. Another store has recently opened up just south of Oike on Karasuma Dori. Again, these stores serve the usual range of import goods but sadly no Marmite! They do have a very good cheese board though and I’m partial to their packet curries too.
Yamaya in Qanat Map
Open 10:00 ~ 21:00
Yamaya on Karasuma Map
Open 10:00 ~ 21:00
Way up on Shirakawa Dori, north of Mikage Dori, past the Donq bakery and just after the curiously named “Bosom” Italian restaurant sits Michael’s Supermarket. Here they sell a combination of imported goods, wines and everyday groceries. Again, no Marmite! But they do have a good selection of well-priced import beers.
Open: 10:00 ~ 23:00
On the east side of Higashioji Dori and just south of the Eiden Mototanaka railway crossing is a little shop called Maki, brimful of goodies, and yes (fanfare of trumpets!) they actually have Marmite! In addition they have a very impressive cereal selection and apparently, the cheapest cheese in Japan.
Open every day but Wednesday 10:00 ~ 22:00
Finally, we come to the queen of all import stores here in Kyoto: Meidi-Ya. This store is centrally located on the north side of Sanjo Dori, between Kawaramachi and the Kamo River. They have pretty much everything you need, including Marmite or even if you are that way inclined it’s far inferior (but cheaper) Australian cousin Vegemite.
Open: 10:00 ~21:00
Related: Online Suppliers.
Fair shake of the sausage mate, Vegemite beats Marmite every time here downunder. But thanks for pointing out where to get my Vegimite when I visit Kyoto in April. My wife (from Kyoto) says Meidi-Ya is “Funking expensive!” though.
We’ll be giving your bar guide a considerable going over…..
As far as I can tell there’s no great price difference between the import stores – they are all equally cut-throat. Anyway, I shall have to add some more bars before you come in April! Thanks for commenting!
hi! the supermarket in the “Vivre” mall in Kitaooji station also has a very small selection of imported food. It’s not the best place to go but it can be a nice alternative if you’re looking for not-so-rare imported stuff and if you’re in the norther part of Kyoto.
Michael Lambe says