The best of Japan culture, food and restaurant in Paris
It’s no secret that France and Japan share a special fascination with each other’s culture and cuisine. This long-standing amour dates back to the 17th century when the two countries aligned over shared sociopolitical values, but has grown even stronger over the years.
From Japanese design to traditional art, mangas and of course, cuisine, France is all over it. The same is true of French art, food, wine and luxury in Japan. And in my opinion, there’s no better place to experience this Franco-Japanese love affair than in Paris.
So keep reading to discover my guide to a taste of Japan in Paris.
Maison de la Culture du Japon
The Maison de la culture du Japon, or the Japanese Cultural Center is an excellent place to get a taste of Japan in Paris. Offering various classes, language courses, musical and theatrical performances, tea ceremonies, and even film screenings; there’s something for everyone.
This insititute caters to various facets of Japanese culture, from cuisine to traditional Kabuki theater. So whether you’re interested in learning how to wear a Kimono, brushing up on your Japanese skills, or simply have a hankering for a good cup of Japanese tea, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Comprising 11 floors, the cultural center is huge and even has an impressive library! Since it’s so large, I reccomend carving out a few hours to spend at this cultural center, and don’t forget to visit their tea room.
The easiest way to get to the center is to take the metro to Bir-Hakeim and walk a few minutes. You’ll spot the Center right away, it’s hard to miss the impressively modern, glass front building. Plus, it’s located just minutes from the Champs de Mars and Eiffel Tower in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, so there’s plenty to do in the area!
open tuesday through saturday 12:00-20:00
Up next on my guide to a taste of Japan in Paris is none other than Kioko. Set in the Palais Royal neighborhood, Kioko is a Japanese grocery store in Paris. This is definitely the place to visit if you’re hoping to try your hand at some Japanese cooking during your time in Paris.
Kioko has been around for over 40 years, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so successful. The selection is massive, and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly. So whether you’re a seasoned Japanese cook or want to try Japanese food for the first time, make sure to visit Kioko for a taste of Japan in Paris.
Step inside and you’ll find a massive assortment of Japanese products. Kioko really has it all. They stock dry goods, snacks, teas, condiments, cooking supplies, alcholic beverages and even some cosmetics. There’s also plenty of frozen and ready-to-eat food options, such as udon, gyoza, Japanese curry, and of course, mochi (Japanese ice cream balls). Whatever Japanese speciality you have your heart set on, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at Kioko.
open tuesday through saturday 10:00-20:00 and sunday 11:00-19:00
If you’re looking for a taste of Japan in Paris, you should definitely explore Little Tokyo. Beleive it or not, Paris has its very own Japan Town, or Little Tokyo nestled right in the foodie 2nd arrondissement. Set between Opéra and the Louvre, is the famed Rue Saint-Anne, which is the epicenter of Japanese dining in Paris.
Various Japanese (and nowadays Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese) eateries and shops line the Rue Saint-Anne on both sides. Small streets branching off this main drag are also home to lots of Japanese restaurants.
This is the neghborhood known for serving up some of the tastiest and most authentic Japanese food in all of Paris! From classic, single-counter sushi bars to bustling cantine-style restaurants, the variety is incredible. Here, it’s easy to find an authentic and affordable Japanese meal. And the selection is nothing to scoff at; from extremely traditional ramens to fresh takes on classics like soba and even fusion food options.
The best way to see what’s on offer here is to simply stroll down Rue Sainte-Anne. A lot of the shops and restaurants are still relatively small and don’t have websites or social media accounts, so you’ll have to see for yourself which one is the best!
metro: pyramides or quatre-septembre
Now, there was no doubt in my mind whether to include this place on my guide to a taste of Japan in Paris. Kodawari is an adorable ramen shope tucked away on a small street in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. From the moment you enter the shop, you’ll feel like you took a flight and landed in Tokyo.
Here, everything from the cuisine to the decor is one hundred percent Japanese. The restaurant is modelled after a typical Tokyo ramen shop, and they’ve done an excellent job. Japanese movie posters and other memorabilia cover the walls, and give the space a very cozy feel. Red paper lanterns provide dim light over the long wooden counter, where you can sit and slurp your ramen like a local.
In addition to their famous ramen, Kodawari also makes cold noodle dishes and plentiful sides and small dishes like edamame and daikon for accompaniments. You’ll have a choice of several ramens, all of which are homemade and have been perfected from generations of recipe tweaks. My personal favorite is their Shoyu (soy) Ramen, but they’re all worth a try. And it’s worth mentioning that their special seasonal ramen is completely vegan!
open weekdays 12:00-14:30 and 18:30-22:30
weekends 12:00-15:30 and 18:00-23:00
So now that you’ve read my guide on a taste of Japan in Paris, all that’s left for you to do is go out and try it for yourself!
Hope to see you soon in Paris.