Bread is such an integral part of our everyday lives—we use it to make toast, ham and cheese, or other sandwich varieties. Unlike their American counterparts though, Japanese bread has a distinct, slightly sweet undertone and thick, chewy texture that can be enjoyed by itself. However, with so many brands out there, it can be hard to pick what to buy.
Keeping this in mind, we've gone through various Japanese e-commerce sites and physical store locations (such as Amazon, Rakuten, supermarkets, and convenience stores) to find the best bread. We then tested all 17 varieties and chose our top recommendations according to how delicious each was.
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Table of Contents
Here, we'd like to introduce you to three points that you should make sure to check before you buy a Japanese bread.
The flour used in bread can include wheat, rye, whole wheat, or rice flour, with each having their own nutritional value and impacting the overall texture of the final product. We'd first like to go over these differences in the section below.
Plain sandwich bread that say that they use wheat flour often use bread flour, which is high in protein. There is a lot of gluten in protein-rich bread flour, which lends its elasticity to make a chewier, flexible bread. Breads made of wheat flour thus have an enjoyable glutinous and springy texture.
This type of bread is very familiar and long-loved in Japan, so if you're worried about what to pick, then the safest choice is to pick a bread made of wheat flour.
If you're on a diet but still want to eat bread, then whole wheat or rye-based breads are your best choice. Regular sandwich breads have a high glycemic index, meaning that it increases blood glucose levels quickly.
On the other hand, bread made of rye flour is lower on the index, so it's a great option for people on a low-carb diet. And whole wheat bread has a lower glycemic index compared to rye bread, so it's even better suited for dieters.
Rye breads and whole wheat breads are also very different in flavor. Rye is slightly sour in taste, while whole wheat has a strong wheat flavor. People worried about carbs and who love the nutty taste of wheat should try out rye or whole wheat breads.
People with allergies to wheat or on a gluten-free diet can eat rice flour-based breads. They're distinctly different from their wheat-based cousins, with a lovely, springy chewiness and, when bitten into, you can enjoy the subtle sweetness characteristic of rice.
However, there are products that use a mix of both wheat and rice flours to create a better texture or to add in additional nutritional benefits, so those with wheat allergies should make sure to check the ingredients and allergens list on the package to see if they can consume the product or not.
Japanese breads have two types based on their shape: round-topped bread and square bread. Each is made in a different way. Square bread is made when a lid is placed on top of the bread pan while it's baking, while round-topped bread is baked without a lid.
Without a lid covering it, round-topped bread forms bigger air bubbles, contributing not only to its fluffy texture, but also allowing it to bake into a crisp crust when toasted. It creates a better crust than square bread, so we recommend it for people who like eating toast.
On the other hand, square bread bakes more compactly, creating a denser, smoother body that still retains its chewy texture. Try it out if you want to eat bread as is.
Besides the sugar content in wheat flour, the oil and fat content of butter, margarine, or cream also have a big impact on creating a fluffy and soft bread.
The use of cream, especially, has the biggest impact on creating a springier bread, allowing the consumer to enjoy a chewy, moist slice of bread. If you want bread that has a more elastic texture, then make sure to check over the ingredients list!
*Full translation of the highlighted text in the image above: クリーム (乳製品) translates to Cream (dairy product)
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Airy and Fluffy Sandwich Bread
Super Soft, Light, and Smooth Bread
Extremely Versatile—It's Delicious Any Way You Eat It
Mochi-Fuwa Takumi no Ippin
Chewy and Satisfying Bread
Aeon Top Valu
Top Valu Soft Bread
Buttery Taste That's Great Even Eaten Alone
The More You Bite Into it, the More Delicious it Gets
Delicious Toasted and Plain! Super Thickly Sliced Bread
Great Plain, but Best for Being Light and Mellow
Soft Bread With Wheat Aroma
Fluffy and Voluminous Bread That Took Top Marks
Pasco Whole Wheat Bread
Even the Crust is Aromatic and Delicious
Pasco Choujuku Japanese Wheat Bread
Strong Wheat Flavor and Bitterness
Yamazaki Bread's Airy and Fluffy bread is, just as the name states, fluffy and airy—but it's also smooth. The bread is produced with a special, proprietary process and unique ingredients.
When eaten plain, the softness of the bread ranked extremely well compared to all the other breads. Even the crusts were super soft, so people who usually dislike hard crusts can still enjoy eating it.
Our staff was also surprised by how the texture of the bread didn't change even when toasted—the outside only moderately crisps up. The sweetness from the wheat and the taste of butter are pronounced in this bread, so it's great eaten plain.
Since the bread is so soft, it's best to avoid using it for sandwiches. Instead, we recommend eating it as is, or as French toast.
Yamazaki Bread's Chouhoujun, made from the company's own Yugome manufacturing process, ranked number 3 on our list! The chewiness, fluffiness, and overall taste of the bread impressed our staff. The wheat aroma was nice and fragrant, and it was delicious eaten with jam and margarine.
When toasted, the outside became exceptionally crisp and the inside was chewy—enough to elicit a response from our staff that this was the first time they were able to experience this kind of amazing textural contrast after toasting bread. The wheat flavor also became even more pronounced.
The crust has a slight crunch to it, so it's tasty no matter which way you eat it. It can be used to make a variety of sandwiches, making it a great bread to buy.
Kobeya's Mochi-Fuwa Takumi no Ippin makes full use of the inherent sweetness in wheat and made this bread where even the crust is fluffy and chewy.
Before toasting, the bread had a chewy, thick feel. Visually, the bread itself is very dense and has some heft to it. When eaten, contrary to its appearance, it reveals itself to be a light, soft bread that is easy to eat, making it ideal for spreading jams or margarine.
After toasting, its chewiness receded, changing to a firmer mouth-feel. Unfortunately, we were unable to taste the sweetness from the wheat as the manufacturer claimed, leading it to lose some points in the end.
Top Valu's Best Price Soft Bread uses yogurt cultures to impart a new taste dimension into its overall flavor profile. Eaten plain, the bread is thick and fluffy. One of our staff commented that strawberry jam or marmalade—any type of sweet jam—would compliment it well.
Furthermore, when toasted, the airy texture of the bread remains, while the outside becomes flakey and crispy. Even without using condiments, the toast is delicious, since the butter flavor comes through. We recommend eating it when you're in a hurry in the morning, since you can just grab it and go.
Yamazaki Bread's Royal Bread is flavorful with its notes of butter and wheat. Eaten plain, the bread has a chewy and fluffy texture, and the more you chew it, the more pronounced the sweet flavor of it comes out.
Even before toasting it, the smell of wheat wafting from the bread smells incredibly inviting. After toasting, the chewiness of the bread comes to the forefront and the crust becomes softer.
Because there isn't much heft to the bread, we wouldn't recommend it for sandwiches, but it would be great eaten with jam and margarine!
Double Soft is a classic, long-selling Japanese bread that was first sold in 1989, with its soft texture as one of it's greatest selling points.
The whole bread slice—crumb and crust—is super soft when eaten plain. However, compared to the other breads on this list, we felt that this was lacking a bit of textural smoothness.
When toasted, the outer crust becomes crackly and crisp, while the crumb becomes moist and smooth. Since the bread is so thickly cut, just one slice is enough to satisfy anyone.
Pasco makes their Choujuku bread simple but good, creating it with only the most important ingredients.
The light airiness of the bread was a hit with our staff since it creates a texture that melts in the mouth. A couple of people exclaimed that Choujuku was much more delicious eaten plain; but, when spread with jam, it takes on a mellow, well-rounded flavor that was also great.
When it's toasted, the bread stiffens and becomes slightly crunchy, providing a great base for a nice, crisp sandwich. We recommend it to people who love toasty sandwiches.
Family Mart's bread is said to be soft and filled with the pure, delicious taste of wheat. Aptly named, the Soft Bread With Wheat Aroma is very soft and airy when eaten as is. Slathering some jam or margarine on it makes it even better.
After toasting it, it still maintains it's fluffy texture, though the outside crisps up, adding another layer of complexity. However, the crust does not follow suit and instead retains its hardness, which is why we rated it in ninth place.
If you don't like crusts, then we can't recommend this bread, but everything besides the crust was highly rated.
Pasco's Whole Wheat option uses whole wheat flour that is made from grinding rye and wheat together.
The wheat flavor is very pronounced both before and after toasting the bread, and when actually eating it, it has a very unique taste. Many of our staff compared it to yomogi, or Japanese mugwort, which has a distinctly earthy, herby flavor.
After toasting the bread, it becomes stiffer and the wheat loses a bit of its potency. If you want to enjoy the full flavor of the ingredients, then we suggest eating the bread as is or in a simple arrangement with mayonnaise and vegetables.
Pasco's Choujuku Japanese Wheat Bread is made from 100% Japanese wheat.
Before toasting, the bread was extremely thick, fluffy, and chewy. However, after toasting, it had a slight bitter taste, with some of our staff loving it, and others not so much.
This bread is best for someone who enjoys the bitterness and fragrance of wheat but is probably not a good match for someone who isn't particularly fond of the strong flavor that wheat offers.
We gathered all 17 popular breads from Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping, convenience stores, and supermarkets and tested them for which was the most delicious.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a bread is, of course, how delicious it is. We tried them both before and after toasting them, allowing us to take into account how delicious they were either way. We then graded them on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0.
In order to prevent bias towards any one brand, we conducted a blind-taste test. We also used a Balmuda toaster, which is known as one of the best oven toasters in Japan, to perfectly toast the bread.
No matter how delicious a bread is, eating it every day as breakfast or as a snack can get tiring. Here, we're going to introduce some simple recipes to spice up your bread.
We recommend using bread loaves that have been cut into six or eight pieces to make the perfect ham and cheese. Also use a toaster or frypan for the cooking part!
Ham and cheese is extremely easy to make—just put a slice of store-bought ham and thinly cut cheese between two slices of bread and toast it on both sides. Cut it in half and you'll see the melty, drippy cheese oozing out. It's so delicious that it'll be hard to put down.
When making butter honey toast, it's best to use bread that's cut into thick, 3-inch slices. Lightly cut lines into one side of a slice of bread and then toast it. Once it's done, and while it's still warm, drizzle honey onto it and drop a healthy dollop of butter onto the side with score lines on it.
The bread will soak up all the sweet goodness of the honey, while the bread itself remains crisp and slightly crunchy. With the salty butter adding yet another dimension of flavor, this combination of ingredients is perfectly matched to create a devilishly good concoction. It tastes even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
Some people don't like eating the crusts off bread and meticulously cut or pick it off before making their daily sandwich. However, you can actually use these leftovers to make a delicious treat called rusk!
Just cut the crusts into any size you wish, coat them with a mixture of sugar and melted butter, then toast them! It'll create crisp and crunchy pieces of rusk. We recommend eating them with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or cocoa powder.
Snacks and condiments may be plentiful in the US, but buying Japanese varieties allows you to discover new flavors and develop new, inspired dishes. We've tested out a couple of other products, such as soy sauces, potato chips, and rice crackers, so take a look if you're looking to try something new!
No. 1：Yamazaki Bread｜Airy and Fluffy Sandwich Bread
No. 2：Yamazaki Bread｜Chouhoujun
No. 3：Kobeya｜Mochi-Fuwa Takumi no Ippin
No. 4：Aeon Top Valu｜Top Valu Soft Bread
No. 5：Yamazaki Bread｜Royal Bread
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