4. Ajari Mochi
Ajari Mochi were inspired by the round, slightly peaked hats of ajari priests—the highest-ranking Buddhist figures in Kyoto. Legend has it that monks first started making Ajari Mochi to stave off hunger during their training. Today these tasty rice cakes are filled with a generous helping of adzuki red bean paste.
3. Senju Senbei
A sweet cream is sandwiched between two light wafer cookies in this traditional snack. You can find Senju Senbei at nearly any souvenir sweets shop in Kyoto, and they are not to be missed. If plain cream doesn't suit your fancy, be sure to try the matcha, strawberry, or hoji-cha varieties.
Konpeito was first introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Since then, it’s become an easily recognizable signature Japanese sweet. Kyoto-based confectioner Rokujuan Shimizu is the most famous for its colorful, high quality konpeito candies, and lines for the candy can extend out the door. The star-shaped sugar candies are traditionally unflavored, but today are available in a wide array of fruit and seasonal flavors.
Perhaps the most iconic Kyoto snack, Yatsuhashi are made of cinnamon-flavored rice-flour dough. They come in nama (raw) and baked varieties. The nama verison, pictured above, is usually filled with sweet red bean paste, although you'll find some stores selling them with chocolate or cream filling as well. The soft, doughy texture makes Yatsuhashi dangerously addictive!