Julian Pie Company gives our Japanese sweets fan her first taste of America’s signature dessert.

While Kyoto is Japan’s old capital, the city of Nara is Japan’s OLD capital. That’s because Nara’s status as the home of the emperor predates Kyoto’s, with the Nara period of Japanese history running from 710 to 794.

However, though Nara remains a center of traditional Japanese culture, the city also has something that’s as American as apple pie: an American apple pie shop that’s totally authentic.

As referenced in the name, Julian Pie Company is a pie company founded in the town of Julian. As the presence of the letter L indicates, Julian isn’t a town in Japan, but one on the other side of the Pacific, located in the mountains about an hour and a half outside of San Diego, California. Julian sprang up during a local gold rush, but these days the gold that brings people to the small town of 1,500 residents is the tantalizing golden color of the apples in pies served by the many bakeries along Julian’s main streets and attract visitors from all over southern California.

▼ A selection of Julian Pie Company Japan’s pies

But how did Julian Pie Company, one of the town’s most popular pie providers, end up with a location in Nara? We asked, and it turns out Nara is the hometown of the Japanese branch’s owner. The owner traveled all across the U.S. studying how to make pie in the American style, and that of course included a stint in Julian.

To find out how good Julian Pie Company Japan’s baked goods are, we sent out Japanese-language reporter K. Masami, who’s never been to the U.S. “Really, the only image I have of American food is that people there like chili con carne…and that’s just because my friend who’s an American and was studying in Japan used to make it for me.”

▼ K. Masami, lover of chili con carne and Frappuccinos

Julian Pie Company Japan bakes their pies right there on-site, and even has an eat-in cafe space. However, Masami fully intended to a half-dozen different varieties, and felt more comfortable doing so in the comfort/privacy of her own home, so she got her order to go. Naturally, she started with a slice of the Original Apple Pie.

“Right when you look at it, you just see all those apples!” Masami excitedly reports. “ So this is the American style! When I think of Japanese-style pies, I imagine something with a thin, crisp crust, but Julian’s crust is thick and fluffy.”

Things only got better when she took a bite. “The first sensation is of a gentle, comforting sweetness from the apples, and the crust is so moist and delicious! The thickness of the crust reminded me of a thick gyoza wrapping. But while most of it is fluffy, there’s a great little crunch at the outside edge, and the touch of cinnamon is a perfect complement to the apples, which have just the right amount of firmness.”

Julian Pie Company Japan charges 400 yen (US$3.70) for a slice of Original Apple, and pretty much all of its offerings are in the 400-450 yen range, which is very reasonable for pie in Japan.

As for all the other varieties she brought back, Masami is still too busy chewing to give her impressions, and, industrious reporter that she is, has valiantly vowed to handle all taste-testing duties herself on this one. “Eating these, it’s like I can feel the blowing of a cool California breeze,” she tells us, so it looks like we’ve now got at least two Julian pie fans on our staff.

Restaurant information
Julian Pie Company Japan/ジュリアンパイコンパニージャパン
Address: Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Gakuen Daiwacho1433-3
Open 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and public holidays.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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