The oldest cafe in Himeji serves up the city’s favorite sweet breakfast treat.

The town of Himeji, in Hyogo Prefecture, is famous for having one of Japan’s best castles. What isn’t quite so widely known among travelers, though, is that Himeji also has one of Japan’s best breakfasts.

The local morning meal specialty is Himeji almond toast, thick-sliced toast with a spread of almond butter. You can find it on the menu at multiple Himeji eateries, but on our trip we wanted to get an extra special slice, the one served at the oldest cafe in the city.

That cafe, which opened more than 70 years ago, is called Tairiku. It’s only about a 10-minute walk from Himeji Station, which is also the nearest rail stop to Himeji Castle. North of the station is a covered shopping street called Miyuki-dori. Follow it until you get to the intersection with the Yozemi Sateline cram school on the right corner.

▼ The cram school’s name is written on its Japanese-text sign as 代ゼミサテライン予備校

At this intersection, turn to your right, and you’ll see Tairiku just a few doors down, on the right side of the street.

▼ The large sign has their name written in Japanese (大陸), and it’s written in Latin letters on and above the awning.

Stepping through the door is like stepping back in time. The dark polished wooden tables and chairs are of the type in vogue just as Japan was going through its mid-20th century cafe boom, and the soft interior lighting gives everything an extra nostalgic feel.

The bilingual menu is filled with Japanese cafe classics like Napolitan spaghetti, java curry, and egg sandwiches. But we were here for the Himeji almond toast. While you can order a plate of it by itself for 480 yen (US$3.65), we decided to splurge on the 950-yen almond toast set, which gets you a drink and some fruit too.

The server neatly placed our items on the table in front of us, making sure that the handle of our coffee cup was on the left, to make it easier for us to steady it while using our right hand to stir in sugar or cream, if we so desired. The first thing we were going to use our hands for, though, was to taste that almond toast!

The secret to making really good almond toast is to, as Tairiku does, spread the almond butter onto the bread before toasting it. That way the butter melts into the bread as it heats, creating an enticing golden brown color and an irresistibly sweet nutty aroma.

The flavor is delicious, but just as enjoyable is the texture, which starts with crunchy toasted almond bits, gives way to fluffy and soft bread, and finishes with moist creaminess of the almond butter, which Tairiku makes itself.

For our drink, we chose a cup of the house Tairiku Blend coffee. It has a bit of acidity to it, which works well with the strong nutty notes of the almond toast.

And while you don’t get a huge amount of fruit, we appreciated the variety of sliced apple, fruit, and banana, which were arranged in a classy cup entirely fitting with Tairiku’s aura of old-school relaxation and hospitality.

With Tairiku opening at 8 in the morning and closing at 5 in the afternoon, and also open every day of the week, it’s incredibly easy to work an almond toast session into your schedule either before or after visiting Himeji Castle. And if you fall in love with Tairiku’s version of the treat, don’t forget there’s a way to make it yourself at home.

Restaurant information
Tairiku / 大陸
Address: Hyogo-ken, Himeji-shi, Watamachi 89
Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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