We visit the bakery featured in Kyoto Animation’s love letter to brass bands, and taste its heartache-healing signature bread.

Anime production company Kyoto Animation wears its home prefecture pride on its sleeve, but its relationship with the region goes beyond just tapping into Kyoto’s reputation for culture and the arts. During the planning stages for Sound! Euphonium, the company’s artists spent considerable time with the members of a high school brass band in Uji, the same Kyoto Prefecture city where Kyoto Animation is headquartered, to ensure the portrayal of the anime’s teen musicians’ performances would be as authentic as they are beautiful.

In addition, a number of real-world Uji locations show up in Sound! Euphonium, and since watching anime and filling our bellies are two of our favorite hobbies, we made a trip to Uji’s Nakaji Bakery.

Nakaji has been in business for more than 60 years, and at first glance it might look like any other neighborhood bakery. However, Nakaji shows up, with a few slight building modifications, in episode 9 of Sound! Euphonium. It’s even involved in one character’s emotional arc, as tuba player Hazuki goes there to buy the same type of bread her unrequited crush regularly eats to try for herself, in hopes of feeling some sort of connection or catharsis.

▼ Nakaji Bakery is a short walk from Obaku Station, and easy to get to even if you don’t have a car.

Right next to the real-world bakery’s door is a poster for the 2019 Sound! Euphonium movie, signed by multiple members of the film’s voice cast. Inside, there’s even more artistic appeal, as anime fans regularly present Nakaji Bakery with Sound! Euphonium fan art and merch, with Hazuki and her barrette-bound bangs featuring prominently.

It’s not just the bakery that’s real, though, as you can also buy the very same bread that Hazuki does.

Called the Frank Danish (short for “Frankfurter Danish”), the 183-yen (US$1.70) bread is a skewered sausage wrapped in a flaky coating. It’s an inviting golden brown with a warm shine, sort of like the color of Hazuki’s eyes.

Taking a bite, the outer coating is pleasingly crisp without being burnt. The Danish itself is deliciously buttery, while the sausage inside causes the tongue to tingle with stimulating saltiness. Finally, the ketchup gives it just a touch of tartness.

▼ Some of the other baked goods we picked up at Nakaji Bakery, including the Uji Matcha Cream Sweet Bean Bread

Filling and complex, and with enough straightforward appeal to leave us feeling happy to have eaten it, the Frank Danish is sort of like an edible version of a fond high school memory, especially if you’re a fan of Sound! Euphonium.

Bakery information
Nakaji Bakery / 中路ベーカリー
Address: Kyoto-fu, Uji-shi, Gokasho Nishiura 17
Open 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays, 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month
Website (Facebook)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where anime and bakeries were two of the first reasons he fell in love with Japan.

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