Uchiki Pan Bakery
Only in Yokohama, this local bakery favorite is unassuming but consistently delicious.
In 1888, a twenty-four-year-old young man named Hikotaro Uchiki decided to take over a bakery in Yokohama’s Motomachi district. He’d honed his baking skills while learning from a British baker named Robert Clarke. At first, he had trouble perfecting his Western recipes to a mix of Japanese and foreign customers, but he persevered, and the name Uchiki Pan has remained solidly a “Yokohama thing.” First, Clarke handed the ‘Yokohama Bakery’ over to Uchiki-san, but after eleven years and the appearance of a same-name crosstown rival, he decided to put his own name out there for all to see.
If you’ve lived abroad for quite some time, one bite into a loaf of Uchiki Pan’s rye with cream cheese and you will at once realize how long it’s been since you’ve held a heavy, substantial bread. In Japan, there are sweet breads available at every Lawson, Family Mart and Seven-11 around, but all of them rely on shortening, margarine, and a lightness that causes one to conjure cotton candy. Even ‘high-end’ chain bakeries such as Pompadour have only minimal commitment to the art of bread making.
Uchiki Pan is different. Their restraint from the stretched excesses of franchising are admirable, and allows their bread to retain an original taste. In a way, it was bittersweet visiting Uchiki Pan.
After a transcendent slice of cinnamon raisin bread, you may lose your ability to purchase those wallet-saving, high-calorie convenient store treats. If you’re a foodie, there is no choice but to surrender to this Yokohama treasure, and breathe in a sumptuous blend of wheat, flour and hops.