The Japanese traditionally eat rice for breakfast.
They serve it with some grilled fish, Miso soup, egg (either raw on top of the rice or fried as a Japanese style omelet called Tamago Maki) and of course Natto (the smelly sticky stuff made from fermented soybeans).
But in Nagoya everything is different.
The typical breakfast in Nagoya isn’t rice at all, but something we westerners from Europe and America likes to have for breakfast:
And while the English love to put orange marmalade on their toast (or is that a stereotype?) and the Americans famously eat it with peanut butter (or do they?) the people from Nagoya spread Ogura-an, Japanese red bean paste also known as Anko, on their toast.
That kind of toast is called Ogura toast.
The Origin of Ogura Toast
It is believed that Ogura toast originated in a coffee shop called Matsuba in Sakae district in 1921.
The owner noticed that some of his younger customers liked to order Zenzai (red bean soup made from Japanese beans) and slices of toast. They would then proceed to dip the toast into the red bean soup. This inspired the owner to create the Ogura toast as we know and love it today.
I did some research and found out that Matsuba has been closed for many years now, so, unfortunately, we cannot try the original Ogura toast anymore.
But many coffee shops all over Nagoya honor the inventiveness of Matsuba’s owner by selling their own version of Ogura toast to eager customers.
If you want to explore Sakae with one of our guides during a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour you can. Check out the details about the tour.
Variations of Ogura Toast
So, how exactly is an Ogura toast made?
It’s surprisingly simple.
Take a thick slice of Japanese toast called Shokupan, and I mean really thick, 5 centimeters or more is perfect. Toast it to gold-brown perfection and spread it with lightly salted butter or margarine.
On top of that spread the Ogura-an.
Ogura-an is a variety of Japanese sweet red bean paste, known as Anko or Azuki bean paste. It is made by boiling the red beans and adding a lot of sugar.
There are different variations of Japanese red bean paste.
Ogura-an is just one variation, another variation is for example Koshi-an. While Ogura-an has whole beans, Koshi-an is ground much finer and has no whole beans in it.
There are different variations of the Ogura toast recipe.
Some people put on the sweet bean paste first and then place a piece of margarine on top to let it melt. Others serve the Ogura toast with some whipped cream on top, and again other coffee shops will sell you the toast in form of an Anko red bean sandwich, with the bean past between two slices of bread.
Ogura Toast as a Nagoya Morning Service Staple
A development that happened in parallel to the creation of Ogura toast was the rise in popularity of what the people of Nagoya call a Nagoya Morning or Nagoya Morning Service the special breakfast in Nagoya.
When you order a beverage, usually coffee or tea, in the morning (usually until 11 a.m.) at a coffee shop in Nagoya you will get a free slice of bread and a boiled egg with it.
Other variations of this Nagoya Morning Service include a small salad and other kinds of toppings for the toast.
One of these Nagoya Morning Service variations is Ogura toast served for free with your morning coffee. A perfect combination for a great start to your day.
What does Ogura Toast Taste Like?
After all of this, you might still be wondering whether Ogura toast really tastes good at all, right?
I mean beans on toast? It’s kind of hard to imagine.
But I think you shouldn’t imagine it as bean toast, it really is very similar in taste to a toast spread with any other kind of jam. It just happens that this particular jam is made from red beans making it red bean jam.
The sweet and creamy taste of the Ogura-an goes perfectly with the slightly salty taste of the margarine or butter and this, in turn, is wonderful with an outside crispy, inside fluffy thick slice of Japanese toast.
The Best Restaurants to Try Ogura Toast in Nagoya
I hope I have at least made you curious about Ogura toast and that you want to try it for yourself while you are in Nagoya.
There are countless coffee shops in Nagoya selling Ogura toast, I am just going to list the most famous ones.
Komeda’s Coffee is a true staple of Nagoya, this coffee shop chain started out with a single store in 1968 and has since grown to more than 800 stores all over Japan.
They seem to have the perfect formula, a comfortable atmosphere, delicious coffee, and freshly made bread and of course the great service and attention to detail that Japan, in general, is so famous for.
Komedas offers Nagoya Morning Service until 11 a.m. every day and you can choose from three different options, one of which is Ogura toast.
In addition to the Nagoya Morning Service, Ogura toast is a standard menu item which will cost you 450 yen (4 US dollars). They will serve it with thinly sliced bread if you do not say you want a thick slice (try ordering ‘atsugiri’).
You can find out what else Komeda’s Coffee is famous for by reading my complete Komeda’s Coffee restaurant review.
Konparu is a sandwich shop in the Osu shopping district which was established in 1947.
Their most famous menu item is Ebi Katsu Pan (fried shrimp sandwich) but they also serve a delicious Ogura Toast for 340 yen (3 US dollars). Ogura Toast goes perfectly with hot or iced coffee (400 yen, 4 US dollars), another specialty at Konparu.
Aside from their main shop in Osu, Konparu has 7 other locations all over Nagoya.
KONPARU OSU MAIN SHOP
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Address: 3-20-19 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0011
Coffee Shop Bolsa
Coffee Shop Bolsa is a popular coffee shop chain with 10 shops in the Aichi prefecture around Nagoya. I visited the one in Osu district especially to try their Ogura toast.
Bolsa serves Ogura toast with a thick slice of golden toast, spread with margarine and Ogura-an on the side. You can then spread as much or as little Ogura (let’s be honest here, all of it of course) on your toast.
For 210 yen (2 US dollars) this is probably not only one of the most delicious but also the cheapest Ogura toast I have seen in Nagoya so far.
Especially in summer Ogura toast goes very well with an iced coffee.
COFFEE SHOP BOLSA OSU SHOP
Opening Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Address: 3-31-16 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0011
Map of Coffee Shops serving Ogura Toast in Nagoya
To make it easier for you to find a nice coffee shop in Nagoya that serves Ogura toast I created the map below.
Please note that there are so many Komeda’s Coffee shops in Nagoya that it would be almost impossible to put them all on the map one by one. That’s why I suggest if you want to try out Komeda’s Coffee (and I highly recommend it not only for breakfast) to simply put ‘Komeda’s Coffee’ in your Google Maps and the closest ones will pop up for sure.
Ogura Toast Souvenirs
Funnily enough, Ogura toast has become so famous with travelers to Nagoya that it has become a popular souvenir to take home. But because toast with butter and spread doesn’t keep very well, the Japanese have invented Ogura toast inspired sweets to take the taste home with them.
There are a variety of Ogura toast cookies, for example, like the ones from Countries Ma’am a popular cookie brand in Japan, as well as cakes that can be taken home as a Nagoya souvenir.
Japanese Kit Kat is famous for having countless flavors and so it really isn’t a big surprise that there is also an Ogura toast Kit Kat flavor.
Final Thoughts About Ogura Toast in Nagoya
If you have a sweet tooth like me then Ogura toast has to be on top of your things to eat in Nagoya list. It’s a perfect breakfast item, cheap, sweet and filling, exactly what you need to stay energized during a long day of sightseeing in Nagoya.
To try a Nagoya Morning with Ogura toast at Komeda’s is the first item on my Nagoya itinerary. You can read the full itinerary here or find a list of other great things to do when you visit Nagoya here.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.